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Showing posts from June, 2007

2007 Mid-Year Round-Up

145. Brother Ali: The Undisputed Truth (2007)

No doubt Brother Ali is talented, with a gift for narrative and a mesmerizing tone, but the real star on The Undisputed Truth is beatmaker Ant. Even Ali knows it: "Ant give me 10 beats a week / so fuck it / I put the record how it need to be." Need further proof? Try Watcha Got's early '80s hip-hop throwback of a bridge, the Bollywood bounce of Truth Is... or Freedom Ain't Free's reggae-with-strings backing. No other hip-hop producer works with such a wide variety of sounds while still building such coherent, even commercial, songs.

The highlight of the album is a final suite of autobiographical songs. Walking Away details the dissolution of Ali's marriage with brutal honesty and a little bit of controlled anger. Faheem is a love song for his son and avoids being cingeworthy by being straightforward and brief. And finally the '80s soulfulness of Ear To Ear allows Ali's to get his priorities straig…

Justifying My Love

I've been away from music writing for over two months, though not purposefully. I have been ensconced in major life changes: turning thirty, moving for the first time in 8 years, and finding a new job. Call me crazy, but having several aspects of my life in flux is just not conducive to creativity. That doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about and listening to music just as much as usual. I just haven't been putting those thoughts into words.

And maybe that's good.

Okay, I'm being dramatic with that. I love writing album reviews and have no intention of stopping. But I must admit to lately finding it difficult to truly express how certain songs and albums make me feel.

I don't think I'm alone in this. Even in some of the great books about pop music (Song Book by Nick Hornby, anything by Chuck Klosterman, Love Is A Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield) the rate of me truly identifying with the author's love of a song or album or artist is alarmingly low. …