Archive for pop

The Essential 80’s Vol. 1-5

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 210000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Vol. 4

Love Will Tear Us Apart Again [Joy Division]—-With this track, considered the only close to hit release in the US, this band gained a cult following until Ian Curtis’ death. The band went on to become New Order and conquer the world….but this is where it all started. This bleak and dark tome to love never tires on me.

Wishing [A Flock Of Seagulls]—-The second single from the self titled debut release, this was a bit longer than the average radio single…but played in the dance clubs rather well. The sound is so comforting and familiar I just have to sit here and listen to the entire thing again and again. The space age feel is everywhere on this track!

Der Kommissar [Falco]—-The only hit single for Falco in the US [unless you include the oft heard Amadeus], this track was played every where and even covered by the American band After The Fire. I prefer the German version….its more fun to guess the sentiment. This is another track that never wears on me.

I Love Rock And Roll [Joan Jett]—-Branching out on her solo career after the demise of The Runaways, Jett scored a gigantic hit with this harder rock track then we were accustomed to hearing on 80’s radio. This has energy, aggression and you can dance to it. We love Joan!!!

Supersonic [ JJ Fad]—-Not so much a radio hit as a cult classic, play this for your friends and remind them when Electro really started. Not only is the beat incredible but the vocals are fantastic…..the speed these girls manage to twist words by is mind numbing. A true classic 80’s track.

The Breaks [Kurtis Blow]—-I was never familiar with Blow until I heard this on the soundtrack from Def Jam [?]. Blow has a vocal that is distinct and instantly recognizable. I love how he always sounds like he is out of breath when he raps….this is classic old school!

The Roof Is On Fire [Rock Master Scott And The Furious Three]—-Any one familiar with the origins of rap and the beginning of the movement knows all about this track. If you don’t, become familiar with this house rocker!!!

I’m Not Having It [Special K]—-Built on simple beats and relying on the give and take of the vocal flow, this track was overplayed and feels a little bit old for me…..it’s an ok track…but it has been done over and over before.

Just A Friend [Biz Markie]—-There is nothing redeeming about this song…..I just don’t like it or Biz!!!

Jenny/867-5309 [Tommy TuTone]—-The saddest thing about this single was the simple fact that no one considered listening to the rest of this album….which is damn exceptional. This is a bona fide 80’s hit….but TuTone still records and tours….playing this whether he wants to or not.

Situations [Cetu Javu]—-I know a lot about the 80’s decade, but I sure don’t know this song!!! It is poppy and reminds me a bit of Men Without Hats. It has a very distinct British sound….there is no denying it should have been heard much more…..

Funky Cold Medina [Tone-Loc]—-Built on the distinct vocal of Tone, that deep baritone is instantly recognizable. This was more of a 90’s hit….but it is on here despite that. Following a few hit singles, Loc now does voice-overs on cartoons.

Treat ‘Em Right [Chubb Rock]—-1990…..I won’t argue over brass tacks though. The beat is pure NYC…the flow is slick and smooth. Still a whole lot of fun to listen to!!

 

*** out of 5

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The Essential 80’s Vol. 1-5

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 210000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Vol. 3

Round And Round [Ratt]—-Another of those classic hair bands that really made a huge splash thanks to the distinct vocal flair of Stephen Percy and the unique guitar style of the band. This track is still contagious, infectious and instantly recognizable. This is a track that despite the bands differences, will never fade.

Lost In Your Eyes [Debbie Gibson]—-Along with Tiffany, Gibson was one of the original teeny boppers that had huge singles in the 80’s. Thanks to MTV, shopping mall tours and media exposure we became saturated and tired of them quickly. This song is still pretty quaint and sweet in its way though….it’s a keeper.

Cherry Pie [Warrant]—-Finding huge success in the 80’s thanks to sexy videos and a damn good-looking lead singer, Warrant scored 4 or 5 top ten hits and then the band imploded around drug abuse and in fighting. We are still left with nice gems like this though…..thanks for the memories!!!

It Takes Two [Rob Base]—-Built on a beat that is indelible, the familiarity of this song remains unforgettable. Sampled time and time again in modern rap tracks, that annoying squeal has become part of American culture……and the amazing thing….I like it all over again.

Everytime  You Go Away [Paul Young]—-Paul Young always had a sweet, sexy and sultry sound to his voice. He reminds me of a slight blues singer trapped in the wrong body. This track…..also recorded by 80’s darlings Hall & Oates, I think Young did a much better job. This always gives me that melancholy feel. A true vocal master.

Living On Radio [Trans X]—-Not incredibly familiar with this band for some reason, I have only heard the off track here and there. They seem to be almost pre-goth in the sound…..the vocal a bit distorted and rather dark. None the less, the song is damn danceable and rather contagious.

No Parking [Dazz Band]—-The 80’s allowed for a huge influx of R n’ B on the dance floor as well. Picking up where Disco left off, this music transported across class and color lines to make indelible hits. This track has all the flavor necessary to keep it in rotation even today.

Dancing In Heaven [LaDouce]—-This is a re-make of the original track, but plays just as well. Another track that had a huge impact on the dance floor and across color lines this was just pure fun….a bona fide hit before falling into obscurity.

Walking In L.A. [Missing Persons]—-Powered by great guitar playing and the irresistible squeak of Dale Bozzio’s voice, Missing Persons managed 3 or 4 top ten hits before the band disintegrated. This speaks to the L.A. culture and the music movement that was going on there at the time. I never get tired of this track. Exquisite!!!

I Got It Made [Special Ed]—-The 80’s were a simple time when it came to rap music. Most songs were all about money and flow style. The gang/crack wars were years away. Special Ed gave us a comfortable beat followed up with understandable vocals and a slight story to go along with the entire thing. Oh….such a simpler time!

Oh Sheila [Ready For The World]—-Formed from a conglomeration of artists, this was music simply made to dance too. The groove is infectious and manages to still stay stuck in your head after all these years with just one simple listen. Long live perfect pop music!!!

Fascinated [Company B]—-With a hype beat right from the onset, this track has a dated but distinct sound. The female vocal reminds me of Expose or one of those other generic bands….this is fun and relaxed….a great track to dance to!!! And might I mention….an irresistible chorus!

The Promise [When In Rome]—-Hands down, my favorite song from the 1980’s decade. This song has a nice soft air to it that can make you sad if you need it or jubilant if that is the mood you are in. The vocal is a classic 80’s sounding voice and the sentiment is never aging. I consider this particular song a masterpiece!!!

I Go To Work [Kool Moe Dee]—-Another rapper who made his major impact in the mid 80’s, Moe Dee scored a nice smash with this entire lp. The vocal is a bit more street and hood, but the message is simple and you can feel the groove for hours after you listen to it.

 

**** out of 5

Michael Jackson / Blood On The Dancefloor : HIStory In The Mix

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 130000008UTC 12 by marky7235

Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix

Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix is a remix album by Michael Jackson. The album is made up of eight remixes from Jackson’s previous studio album HIStory, and five new songs. Jackson was heavily involved with the production of the new material while the remixes were produced by other artists. The new material dealt with themes such as drug addiction, women and paranoia.

The album received minimal promotion by Jackson’s standards, particularly in the US. Still, a film, two singles (“Blood on the Dance Floor” and “HIStory/Ghosts“) and three music videos were issued as promotion. Reviews at the time of release were largely mixed, some critics felt that Jackson had already explored these musical themes while others criticized what they perceived as weak vocals. Other critics were favorable, with praise issued for similarities to the music of Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor.

Worldwide sales stand at six million copies as of 2009, making it the best selling remix album ever released. Several contemporary critics view the material in an increasingly favorable light and believe the album could have been more successful—commentators argue that certain sections of the world took interest in tabloid stories about the singer’s personal life over his musical career.

The Analysis:

Blood On The Dancefloor—-Delivered with the expected funk and beat flavor, Jackson sounds a bit muted on this track. this almost sounds like a re-tread of many Janet songs that you have heard in the past. I’m not sure why the vocal is pushed so far to the back of the mix…..none the less…this is history and the song is pretty damn addictive!

Morphine—-Beginning with a low hum and some hi-fi sound effects, the song builds rather slowly but has all the elements of a classic Jackson track. This is rather telling…now that the future has taken place…although the song is upbeat…it still leaves me feeling a bit dark. Jackson delivers a pretty aggressive vocal for him….but mellows for the chorus. This is another of those remarkably addictive tracks!

Superfly Sister—-With familiar falsetto and a funkier back beat, this still falls a bit flat for me. This sounds rather forced and reminds me more of Prince than Michael. Not to say that this is a bad track, I just question the sincerity of it all.

Ghosts—-This has a long rather static introduction…when Jackson finally enters the fray he sounds breathless and pushed to the back of the instrumentation. This is less than inspiring for me…the machine beat is too mundane and predictable….leaving me a bit empty. this is ok, but this is by no means classic Jackson!

Is It Scary?—-Fulfilling the need for the quintessential Jackson ballad, this is the filler that is required on any Jackson release. The track….has a rather damn catchy melody….and the sentiment seems real….this is a standout track for me….simply for the swelling of the music and the emotional quality of it all.

Scream Louder [Flyte Tyme Remix]—-Beginning rather sedate, but coming alive within the first bar…there is a funk delivery to this that is priceless. Jackson is so vocally aggressive…recorded with his sister during his angry period, the remix keeps that emotion well in tact. This is huge, overblown but true to the original. I like this!

Money [Fire Island Radio Edit]—-With a nice rap intro, this is refreshing to hear….how did I miss the original version of this song? This is fresh, filled with a great 90’s style dance floor beat and a melody that is irresistible. I love the interludes of spoken/rap vocal. This is fantastic!

2 Bad [Remix]—-This is ok….not quite what i expected from the onset. I love the Chic style guitars and the Wyclef influence. This is nice…but this is not what you expect. I love the aggressive vocal…once again…this is full of anger. When the Refugee Camp joins in on the song. it gives it a whole new sound…I like this!

Stranger In Moscow [Tee’s In-House Remix]—-This is dance floor ready from the very first strain of the song. Jackson is almost his old self with his vocal on this track and the HUGE electronic backdrop is incredible. This is fantastic….the breaks are fantastic and the vocal goes back and forth…from shouting to a slight croon….sucking me right into the heart of the remix! Fantastic…..

This Time Around [Remix]—-Another track that is instantly dance floor ready, this has the classic elements of dance remixes…lots of loops and a fantastic bass back beat. I love this. The vocal is fantastic and the dance oriented organ that runs through the song is classic remix elements. One of my favorites on here.

Earth Song [Hani’s Club Experience]—-This has a nice deep Ambient sound that rather appeals to me…it’s been quite sometime since i have listened to straight up Dance Music…I’ve been caught up in the whole black Metal thing…it is nice to know that it still appeals to me. This is remarkable…the emotion that is delivered from the music alone os outstanding. I really like this….it goes on a bit too long…but what remix doesn’t?

You Are Not Alone [Remix]—-although this remix contains many of the elements of the original track, this is a tremendous re-working of this song. Not nearly sedate as the original, this takes the track to a whole new level…almost filling me with a danceable joy that I had forgotten I had., This is fantastic…I prefer this version over the more sedate original….wonderful!!!

History [Tony Moran’s History Lesson Remix]—-This is fun….right from the onset. The danceable beat is so addictive….the sounds…all the little blips and beeps are incredible. This goes on forever…but is still remarkably fun. I love the loop that builds and builds…leavin my brain in a frenzy……this is a great end to a classic release…reminding me why I loved the 90’s!!!

****1/2 out of 5

 

 

The Human League / Credo

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 200000007UTC 12 by marky7235

Credo

Credo is the ninth studio album by The Human League. It is their first studio album since Secrets in 2001.[1] It has been produced by fellow Sheffield act I Monster[2] and is released on Wall of Sound.

The first single from the album, “Night People” was released on 22 November 2010. Follow up single “Never Let Me Go” was released on 1 March 2011. “Egomaniac” was the second single in Germany, Austria and Switzerland because The Human League secured a slot on a major German TV show for a performance of ‘Egomaniac’. The TV programme aired on Friday 4 March and the single was released the same day. In those three territories the album itself was released on Friday 11 March in order to narrow the gap between the TV airing and the album being available. In the rest of the EU the album was released on Monday 21 March in order to narrow the gap between the release in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the rest of the continent. The third single, “Sky” was released on 25 July 2011.

Credo was digitally released in the United States on August 16, 2011, with a physical release one week later.

The Analysis:

Never Let Me Go—-It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the release of Secrets, but from the opening strains of this first track, it seems now like yesterday! The synth lines are so damn familiar and comforting….Phil sounds ageless and the girls add their trademark vocals like they have never lived 30 years since we first heard them. This has a fantastic melody!!!! Simply wonderful!!

Sky—-This second single from the release, is yet another synth heavy but familiar sounding track that transports you back in time effortlessly. Oakey sounds so incredible with his deep baritone…the overdubs are fantastic and the ladies quip in here and there making it yet another classic track in an endless career of pure pop pleasure!!!

Into The Night—-This is brilliant…layered with nice synth lines that play over each other wonderfully well, but the song seems a bit empty to me…..lacking a true inspiration…..none the less, this is the League and the track is all you need it to be.

Egomaniac—-My favorite track on this release, this reminds me of all the best tracks from all the best releases. This is wonderfully produced…full of a deeper synth line and an energy that makes me want to dance for days. The underlying blips and beeps that are included makes this even more classic…a true return to form!!!

Single Minded—-Another of those tracks that seems more filler than inspiration, this is still delivered with fantastic instrumentation and allowing Oakey to sing in his higher tone which has always really made me smile! This is wonderful!!!

Privilege—-Deep and stripped almost bare, this has an almost mysterious and down trodden feel to the whole damn. The lyrics are fantastic and the overdubs of Oakey’s vocals are outstanding!!! A classic, different but wonderful track!

Breaking The Chains—-This begins a bit slow…making me wonder where this track was going…but once the chorus smacks you in the face, you will have a smile. this is infectious and full of pop hooks running through the whole song…this is brilliant!

When The Stars Start To Shine—-This has a marching vibe to this song….a bit of a muted vocal and a most infectious melody. Combine these together and you have yet another classic League track….I love the chanted chorus…..making you remember it for days after you hear it the first time…..this is magic!

Get Together—-A brilliant synth line begins this track and allows the entrance of Oakey and his melodic baritone. This is wonderfully brilliant…the girls add to the chorus and allows this track to become huge during the main chorus…this is brilliant!!!

Night People—-Although this lead off single never charted here in the States, I’m convinced it is brilliant none the less. This song moves!!! The synth line is delivered fast and at a frenzied pace…..with a contagious synth line that takes you back in time. The straight ‘clean’ vocal is so infectious. This is brilliant!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Sinead O’Connor / So Far…..The Best Of Sinead O’Connor

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 60000007UTC 12 by marky7235

So Far: Best of Sinead O'Connor

Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor (play /ʃɪˈnd ˈkɒnər/;[1] born 8 December 1966) is an Irish singer-songwriter who rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra. O’Connor achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a cover of the song “Nothing Compares 2 U“.

Since then, while maintaining her singing career, she has occasionally encountered controversy, partly due to her statements and gestures such as her ordination as a priest despite being female with a Roman Catholic background, and her expressed strong views on organized religion, women’s rights, war, and child abuse.

In addition to her nine solo albums her work includes many singles, songs for films, collaborations with many other artists, and appearances at charity fundraising concerts.

The Analysis:

Nothing Compares 2 u—-Perhaps one of the most stirring videos of the early 90’s , Sinead takes this Prince penned saga and turns it into a tear jerker even all these years later. The incredible orchestration, combined with the melancholy delivery of the voice…come together and create a memory for every single person that has ever heard this song. The stirring video with the teardrop…makes it even more iconic……unforgettable!

Mandinka—-Delivering a remarkably different track from the same release as a single, O’Connor showed her diversity and mass appeal with this song. This has been masterfully remixed numerous times and never seems to lose the energy that it had the very first time I heard it. The vocal is incredible…the instrumentation incredibly contagious and the memory….neverending.

The Emperor’s New Clothes—-From her second release, this is perhaps my favorite release from Sinead……it has depth and growth…although she derailed her career a bit during this time period with her Saturday Night Live Fiasco…..none the less, the music speaks for itself. This track is able to move you…gives you a nice edge and allows you to really think about the words you are hearing….fantastic…..I love this!!!!

The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance—-Probably my second favorite track from O’Connor…you cannot deny the anger…the emotion and the hurt…..all which are real and heartfelt. The vocal is displayed with full histrionics…..never has she sounded better or more genuine…the range is perfect. The music is in line and just feeds the emotion…this is pretty much a masterpiece!

Fire On Babylon—-Yet another track that allows for a huge and fantastic vocal…..there have been some great remixes to this track as well. Sinead is able to be quiet and accelerate so effortlessly…it is simply amazing. I’m flabbergasted by the voice and the content….most all of these tracks really mean something…that is incredibly important!

Troy—-Venturing back to the debut release, this is perhaps every fans favorite track….except mine…lol! None the less, this is an extraordinary song…filled with emotion, vocal stylings that only hinted at the future and an underlying mine field of talent that was to be yet unleashed…this was the beginning….and unforgettable!!!

I Am Stretched On Your Grave—-Returning to her second release, O’Connor delivers a track that really tends to rip my heart out. when you have been close to death or experienced death after death…..I have lived through the AIDS epidemic……lost about 60 friends…..these songs take on a whole new meaning…I have had these very moments that are expressed in this song….so this is very real to me……I understand…..and the instrumentation…full of a nice Celtic flavor adds to the atmosphere!!!!! Very nice!!!!

Success Has Made A Failure Of Our Home—-Written by Johnny Mullins and recorded by Loretta Lynn, O’Connor gives a nice twist to this song that was also covered by Elvis Costello on his Almost Blue release. This loses almost all of the Country edge and instead takes on a big Band feel that fits Sinead’s voice remarkably well. This is fantastic…but I think it surprised many people at the time of the release!

John, I Love You—-Without a doubt, my favorite released single from O’Connor…..it is easy to replace the name John with any other and carry the sentiment in you pocket with you the rest of your life…which I have quite successfully done! the song has a bit of stripped down feel…but the vocal adds layers and layers to the song…it becomes huge when O’Connor really opens her mouth…this is beautiful…magical…mystic…forlorn and REAL!!!!

Empire—-One of the few tracks on this release I was not really familiar with, the electronic delivery resonated with me right away. The track has a nice Reggae feel to it that makes it very easy to digest….i really like the ‘World Music’ feel to the song….it is no wonder it is included on this compilation…it is a triumph…I really like this!

I Want Your Hands On Me—-Another throwback track that still sounds fresh at this very moment I listen to it…sometimes there is music that is made that is timeless…..this is one of those tracks….there are some great remixes to this song as well…the breaks in the song are incredible…the energy is never ending…..when Sinead hollers…it is real and stays with you….a classic track!!!!!

Heroine—-Just remarkable…..leaving me aghast everytime I hear this…….truly a masterful interpretation!!!!

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina—-Taking on the most famous track from Evita, O’Connor has the advantage of huge orchestration…..a flowing symphony that matches the emotion of her vocal to a tee. This is a masterful delivery…..I know it has been done before…but this is special….although I love the Donna Summer version more…..this is a damn close second!!!!

You Made Me The Thief–Another of those songs I’m not entirely familiar with, I greeted it with open arms though…I have missed a few releases here and there……shhhhh….don’t tell!!!! Sinead sounds a bit thin here…..the vocal lacks the full feel of her usual delivery….it is pushed way to the back of the mix and the electronics threaten to take over the song…not bad…but not a favorite!

Just Like You Said It Would Be—-Ending this collection much as it started…with an older emotional track, this is another real favorite of mine. Sinead sounds so pure….so concise…so perfunctory and solid. The swan way of singing makes me almost excited…this is a brilliant track…the overlays are extraordinary…the emotion is what i live with everyday……truly magnificent!!!!

****3/4 out of 5

The Rapture / In The Grace Of Your Love

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 300000006UTC 12 by marky7235

In The Grace Of Your LoveIn the Grace of Your Love is the third full-length album by dance-punk band The Rapture and the first without former bassist Mattie Safer.[8] The album was released on September 2, 2011.[9] The album marks their return to DFA Records after leaving Universal Music Group.[10] The cover features a picture of band member Luke Jenner’s father.

The Analysis:

Sail Away—-At the very onset of the track, that familiar voice comes out of the silence and comforts you….the beats add layer upon layer…becoming a magnificent solemn dance track that is full of emotion and a remarkable underlying energy. This is a magnificent start…..this has an EPIC synth line!!!!

Miss You—-Beginning a bit more sedate, the bass line that leads in the track sets the tone for the entire track. This is a bit more of a punky track at the onset…..the attitude is incredible. The synth line enters and travels me back in time to the 80’s with little effort. The vocal is amazing…sounding much thinner than the previous track…but conveying the sentiment wonderfully well!!!!

Blue Bird—-These tracks seem to start so suddenly…..little or no introduction!!!! This has an even more energetic and fast tempo than anything thus far on this release…the beginning drums are wonderful. the track takes a wonderful spacy turn that reminds me of beginning Stone Roses…..this is really a favorite track of mine…the layers and layers of sound are incredible….it makes the song small……but HUGE!!!!

Come Back To Me—-This really has never resonated with me….it is not a bad track, but it offers to much of what I have heard before. I like the vocal…but the stripped down instrumentation leaves me a bit hollow……

Grace—-returning to a nice 80’s inspired synth lead in, this resonated with me right away!!!! I love the vocal….this is incredible…the histrionics give me chills…there is an almost laid back reggae beat to this track……got in my head months ago…and has never left…..this is a favorite band of mine…so versatile and real!!!!

Never Die Again—-Energetic…..with a slight punk influence…but full of 80’s style synth lines….can a human being ask for more or try to write more? I think not……marvelous!!!!

Roller Coaster—-Yet another amazing track…full of rather mundane lyrics…but the energy and the feel of the song are incredible….as the song progresses. the words sink in a bit and the track becomes more meaningful to me…this is exquisite…I love the mood of the song…amazing…..I really like this band!!!!

Children—-Rather laid back and with a slight retro feel, this is a fantastic track. There are nice layers to this song as well…..the synth line leads the song…but the vocal overlays makes the song much larger. The drums are present and the cymbal taps make it extraordinary…..this is energetic…fun and also though provoking…….I love this!!!

Find A Way—-Really not a favorite track of mine, it is a bit erratic for me…the saving grace is the almost Duran Duran inspired synth line that runs through the track and adds energy to the delivery. The vocal is nice…the double style really appeals to me…..I like this…but it has been done many times before…..

How Deep Is Your Love?—-The lead off single for this release…..and a damn magnificent song….this is a favorite and will be for a very long time! This is energetic….danceable and has a synth line to die for…..I am amazed at the talent of this band…eventually people will wake up and catch on…..this is an amazing band!!!!

Take Time To Be A Man—-Interesting at the onset, this has a slight jazz edge to it that includes the Blues and a Orleans style of slow delivery…..not sure what that is all about…but the lyrics are outstanding…..so it makes the song a triumph for me!!!! Wonderful.

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

 

Jay-Z/Kanye West / Watch The Throne

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 90000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Watch the Throne

Watch the Throne is a collaborative studio album by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West, released on August 8, 2011, by Roc-A-Fella Records, Roc Nation, and Def Jam Recordings. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording locations and began in November 2010. It was produced by West, 88 Keys, RZA, Swizz Beatz, Jeff Bhasker, and Mike Dean, among others. Prior to the album, Jay-Z and West had collaborated on their respective singles and with West as a producer on Jay-Z’s work.

Expanding on the dense production style of West’s 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Watch the Throne incorporates orchestral and progressive rock influences, unconventional samples, and dramatic melodies in its sound. Jay-Z and West’s braggadocio lyrics on the album exhibit themes of opulence, fame, materialism, power, and the burdens of success, as well as political and socioeconomic context. Music writers interpreted the album’s subject matter to concern the rappers’ plight as African Americans struggling with financial success in America.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 436,000 copies its first week. It produced seven singles, including the international hits “Otis” and “Niggas in Paris” and Billboard hit “H•A•M“. Upon its release, Watch the Throne received generally positive reviews from music critics, who commended its production and the rappers’ performances, although some criticized its subject matter and cohesiveness. It was one of the top-ranked albums in year-end lists by critics and publications. Jay-Z and West promoted the album with a concert tour that spanned October to December 2011. The album has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and, as of March 2012, has sold 1,421,000 copies in the United States.

The Analysis:

No Church In The Wild—-From the very first strains of this track, you know that you are in for an epic journey of two huge personalities coming together to make a possible masterpiece. When Jay opens his mouth and begins to rap over the dar beats of West’s production, you know this is a match made in heaven. there is no ego here…just the urge to make something magnificent……few can match the easy flow from Kanye….this is magnificent!

Lift Off—-When I first heard the opening strains to this track, I just knew….it was going to be EPIC!!!! When they included Beyoncé in the mix, that made it even more magnificent….there is an aggression to this track that Beyoncé herself is responsible for……her vocal combined with the music makes me feel really hyped! Kanye enters with some magnificent robot vocals that are fantastic…and delivers some lines in a higher tone that is so becoming…this is a magnificent track…..not sure why it did not get mass air-play….perhaps everyone feared nepotism…but it deserved to be heard everywhere!

Niggas In Paris—-With a sound that hearkens back to the earlier days of Jay’s solo music, this is not that different from the very first few singles he released. The piano in the backdrop is irritating…but it would be a different track without it. this is magnificent…these two work so well off of each other..it is like a marriage made in heaven. The interplay between the two vocals are as natural as spring and summer…..this is brilliant!

Otis—-The lead off single to this release and a fantastic video, the sample becomes annoying after a bit…but it never gets tired. The video and the premise is fun…and you can tell these guys have a relationship between the two of them that was begging to be expanded upon. The throwback soul vibe is freakin brilliant…..the vocal play between the two MC’s are incredible and leaves you breathless…..this is a match made in heaven…who knew!!!!

Gotta Have It—-Again searching back into the old school souls sound, Kanye delivers an opening vocal that is magnificent. The switch back and forth between the two is almost seamless…even over the heavy sample…this is practised and perfect…there are no errors…but pure perfection. Jay is laid back as always….Kanye still carries his anger…it drives this entire lp…..

New Day—-Returning to the Robo-Voice of his previous releases, Kanye begins this whole show with a nice vocal introduction……with just a tad bit of reverse racism thrown in for fun? Sometimes I get offended…but I try not to let it get in my soul…..I’m the most open-minded person in the world…sometimes the fact that people feel this way hurts my soul…..but that is what music is for…to discuss and reveal….

That’s My Bitch—-With a nice throwback hyped feel, this reminds me a lot of old school rap from the late 80’s!!! The sample that runs through the song is incredible and Kanye delivers a flow that is just incredible….words piled upon words….making me smile. This is fun, misogynistic and predictable…but needed in the flow of the CD….the backdrop singing makes the track even larger…this is fantastic…..Jay can go fast to…who knew!!!!

Welcome To The Jungle—-Another sample filled track that just adds to the hype-ability of the song….makes it even more incredible. So often through this release, Jay sounds almost breathless…like he caught the excitement that this whole thing was going to become. This is line after line of classic wordplay….lyrics that make you think and require time to digest…this is incredible…almost a year out and I still listen to this most everyday!!!

Who Gon Stop Me—-Again sample heavy, but with some really aggressive sounds in the backdrop, Kanye almost manages to outshine the master on this track. There is a real distortion that runs through the backdrop…as well as the vocal distortion that gives a hyped energy that is impossible to ignore…this is one of my favorite tracks on the CD.

Murder To Excellence—-This is rather run of the mill…..it appeals to me, but is not a stand out track to me…I know the content is important….Blacks are killing Blacks at an alarming rate…so perhaps we should pay attention…I understand the frustration…but what about the sympathetic White guys dudes? We do exist…..

Made In America—-A track full of empowerment and references to the greatest that stood for equality, you have to give the guys credit for including those things that make credence to the advancement of human beings! this is a poignant song…with many references to Kanye’s mom…while Jay sits in the back for most of the song. The interlude that runs through the back drop gives me shills…this is epic!!!!

Why I Love You—-Another brilliant track…..with fantastic manipulated samples and an energy that makes me want yo jump up and get rowdy from. The vocal from Jay is still almost breathless……wondering what that is all about. The energy of this song…even though it ebbs…never lets you alone…this is hyper active…built around an ADD nation!!!!

Illest Motherfucker—-Not a favorite of mine, but it is still a classic track…..I will leave most of my comments to myself…..sometimes Kanye and his words cause me hurt?

H*A*M*—-Stripped down and very raw, this is kind of surprise to be…I guess just because it is so graphic. This is raw and sexist…I guess that fits in the whole rap game…right? The ‘chorus’ opens up the song really nice…but you have to wonder whether Jay was really on board with this whole thing…especially since his verses are totally different from anything Kanye delivers…but, somehow it works…amazing!!!!

Primetime—-CLASSIC…..one of the few tracks that seems to allow Jay control from the very onset, this is like old school Jay….I love this. I like the stripped down NY style music…this is a first on this release thus far….even Kanye sounds a bit different on his delivery……I love this track……fantastic…and one of my favorites!!!!

The Joy—-Damn I love this sample…..wish I knew where it came from. Kanye enters the scene and delivers a rather dry vocal…full od nastiness and things that really do not fit on this release which has been full of empowerment and expression. I dont hate this, but to end it like this makes me wonder. I see more stuff from these two…and I can’t wait…..I love Jay and Kanye together…without the reverse racism please!!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]