audio review : Hypnotic Bass ( album ) … Eurobass Express

audio review : Hypnotic Bass ( album ) ... Eurobass Express

The album title comes into play during A Trip To The Moon; the melodic chorus section of which is indeed Hypnotic. No other song matches its wonderment, though the set, which also travels Earthly places like Florida and Germany, is sufficient for what it is; techno music for Bassheads.

my rating : 3 of 5

1994

audio review : Bass Overload ( album ) … Bass Alliance

audio review : Bass Overload ( album ) ... Bass Alliance

Play this in your European sports car while imagining you’re on a journey thru the universe. Space is a strong theme here, along with ears and sound, specifically the aesthetics of bass music. The subgenre is techno, which also makes the album appropriate for terrestrial dance clubs.

The best songs include The Sound Of Ohm; the only song without the word Bass in the title; This Is Bass, The Future Of Bass, Space Bass Traveler and Damaging Bass. It’s the latter that reminds listeners that playing this album too loud may not only damage speakers but also “your ears”.

my rating : 3 of 5

1994

video review : Amanda Nunes versus Ronda Rousey at UFC 207

video review : Amanda Nunes versus Ronda Rousey at UFC 207

I really wanted Ronda Rousey to win this fight. It could’ve made for a spectacular comeback story. In hindsight, I don’t know what she could’ve done to make that happen. Armbars are out when you lock-up to take your opponent down and she pushes you off like you’re nothing amid a flurry of face punches, which, for Rousey, probably evokes a dreadful sense of déjà vu from the Holly Holm loss.

This one is worse though as she’s beaten wobbly and nearly senseless in less than a minute. Why is an interesting question. Boxing was never Rousey’s strong suit; I remember Miesha Tate piecing her up in their bout; but it looks like she no longer belongs in The Octagon. Then again, Amanda Nunes is a beast, as was Holm. The competition is on another level and the torch, as they say, has been passed.

my rating : 3 of 5

2016

audio review : Prince Of Darkness ( album ) … Big Daddy Kane

audio review : Prince Of Darkness ( album ) ... Big Daddy Kane

Big Daddy Kane is the Prince Of Darkness. “It’s a sin to be bad,” he says, “but somebody’s gotta do it.” The ominous moniker is actually a metaphor to represent his romantic allure. The Dark bit refers to his skin tone, which turn the ladies on when the moonlight is “shining on his back.”

When not in seduction mode, he’s mostly bragging to the fellows about his rap skills, which are laced with funny, sometimes corny, puns, but the best song is the least hip-hop of them all. I’m Not Ashamed, he proclaims to that one special girl over a soulful soundscape fit for Barry White.

my rating : 3 of 5

1991

audio review : a Chesky Records compilation : The Vocal Collection

audio review : a Chesky Records compilation : The Vocal Collection

This is a Chesky Records compilation. Each of its eleven songs, one of which should’ve been excluded because it barely includes Vocals, is from an album by an artist on the label. That makes this a sampler of sorts. About half of the songs are good, which is more than I can say for most albums, but the best has a patient LaVerne Butler Covering an old jazz standard. “I’m watching the sea,” she sings, “for the one I love must soon come back to me.”

my rating : 3 of 5

1994

audio review : Gnat ( song ) … Eminem

This song starts to sound good near the end when the music makes its second change for the better. “I’m still totally inappropriate with an opioid, groping it while I’m holding it like a trophy,” the former drug addict fantasizes to a mellow thumper soon enhanced by the addition of what sounds like a small horn ensemble. The whole song should sound like that, though it’s Eminem’s lazy hook that bugs me the most.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : Music To Be Murdered By [ Side B ] ( album ) ... Eminem

audio review : The Moment ( album ) … Kenny G

audio review : The Moment ( album ) ... Kenny G

This album begins beautifully. The first twenty seconds of the title song consist of a piano riff that is truly enchanting. It reminds me of a mix between the Sleeps score from Pretty Woman and Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers. It’s The Moment Kenny G begins playing his signature sax that things start to go awry. That’s not a knock on his skills; just to say that the slightly irritating sound of a saxophone playing the melodies he’s playing ruins what could’ve been a classic song.

There are none here, but The Champion’s Theme, which really should be an official sports theme, comes close. Peaking with marching band drums and what sounds like the cymbals of ancient Olympia, it is perhaps Kenny G’s greatest musical triumph. Producer Walter Afanasieff also deserves a lot of the credit. What the album would do better without are the two songs with vocals; Toni Braxton and Babyface are featured respectively; a tradition Kenny G seems stuck on.

my rating : 3 of 5

1996

audio review : Between Da Protests ( album ) … KRS-One

audio review : Between Da Protests ( album ) ... KRS-One

KRS-One refers to this as his twenty-third album. I don’t know. It depends on which ones you count. Not that it matters much when you’ve been dropping them for this long. KRS-One; remember he started with Boogie Down Productions; is a real pioneer in the world of rap music. The fact that he’s still doing it all these years, decades, later is a testament to his love for hip-hop, which he uses not just to boast about his own rap skills but to Teach his students (fans) about the ways of the world, particularly when it comes to society and race.

Today’s lesson has to do with Da Protests that peaked with the 2020 killing of George Floyd at the hands, or knee, of Da Police, which the race-obsessed automatically attribute to racism, even when the cop is black. The Teacha is no exception; PowerPoint the Ghetto Music album cover; but he deserves some credit for calling out democratic politicians and the media for being the hypocritical opportunists they are. “Black Lives Matter now; they all wanna use it,” he observes, “What we seeing is the corporate co-optive of another black movement.”

Boom is one of too many songs dampered at the breaks though. The album actually starts off surprisingly fresh because the first two songs showcase the “lyrical legend”; he indeed still has the skills to outrap most of these “young’uns”; without any (stale) hooks to bring them down. Perhaps he should do a whole album just rapping to the beat, which he sort of just did at his Block Party with Kid Capri. The Invaders isn’t included again, which is a relief, but at least that’s a good song; something that’s been a rarity on KRS-One albums for a long time.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : McCartney 3 ( album ) … Paul McCartney

audio review : McCartney 3 ( album ) ... Paul McCartney

This album should’ve come out in 1990, but it’s better 30 years late than never. Linda is long gone, so this is literally Paul McCartney on his own. That means every song is by him with no other vocalists or musicians, like Phil Collins did for Both Sides, with the exception of Abe Laboriel and Rusty Anderson on Slidin.

Women And Wives; a topic Paul McCartney is well-versed in; sounds pretty enough, but the best song here is a nighttime party prepper entitled Deep Down. Led by what sounds like jazzy pipe organs, it’s the album’s royal flush, though it’s the beginning and ending Winter Birds that provide the overall theme.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : Music To Be Murdered By [ Side B ] ( album ) … Eminem

audio review : Music To Be Murdered By [ Side B ] ( album ) ... Eminem

Whether this is a new album or the other Side of what was supposed to be his previous album is the question. It’s presented as the latter; Eminem albums don’t begin with random “love” songs; but it’s actually more of the former. Unless you include Infinite and unless I’m stretching it too far to consider the existence of Kamikaze a response to the negative reviews of Revival, which isn’t bad to me, there is no Eminem album that doesn’t conceptually connect with another.

While he should’ve upped its sixteen tracks to twenty to even it out, this Side B; a nostaglic reference to cassette tapes from the 1980s and 1990s; is aesthetically on par with side A. That means more so-so songs with verbose verses. Eminem’s quick-paced expert-level rhymes, laced with some clever but several corny similes and metaphors, are a real chore to listen to these days, though one of the album’s best songs; Alfred’s Theme; forgos a chorus. Killer is another minor standout.

Framed was a quirky Relapse, but Eminem hasn’t tapped into the “old Shady”; the one whose skills I’d put against any rapper alive or dead; for a whole song since Underground. He came damn close on that pleasantly surprising Shady XV introduction, but he’s too scared, or too politically democratic, to even call people “faggots” now for fear of being “canceled” despite bravadic claims of the contrary. He actually puts a disclaimer after a line about Migos and apologizes to Rihanna.

It’s good to hear Dre rapping again though. He also helps make a couple of these beats. Rhapsodic music fits the theme of Discombobulated, but the song should’ve kept his initial production. I would’ve also liked to hear Eminem on a beat from DJ Premier; speaking of hip-hop legends; who does provide a funky-fresh scratch epilogue to Book Of Rhymes. The rapper has a lot of those, but it seems he’s long forgotten that it takes more than rhyming words to make a good rap album.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : Ain’t Gone Do It | Terms And Conditions ( albums ) … Too Short + E-40

audio review : Ain't Gone Do It | Terms And Conditions ( albums ) ... Too Short + E-40

What’s odd about this project, other than what sounds like an old (2002) E-40 verse on Triple Gold, is that it has two separate titles; one for each rapper; which makes it two separate albums à la Outkast’s Speakerboxxx slash The Love Below. They do go well together; ten songs each and all; but E-40’s half is better.

Tricks, about “lames” who let undeserving hoes take advantage of their money, is one of the best songs on the whole set, mainly due to the wise decision to enhance what would’ve been another weak hook with monologues by the legendary Pimpin Ken. I Stay Up, a Zyah Belle song from Too Short’s half, is another highlight.

my rating : 3 of 5

2020

audio review : Nothing Left To Give ( song ) … Lionel Richie

This song gets good at the bridge. “So can you give it all to me,” Lionel Richie asks to a drumless ensemble of what sounds like synth xylophones and maracas, “Want to feel your energy; want to see you rock with me.” That eight-bar bit, which should be the chorus; the actual chorus is kind of annoying with Akon yelling in the background; is easily the best part of this otherwise bombastic party anthem.

my rating : 3 of 5

2009