Tuesday, August 30, 2011

***Official SAU Report Card*** Red Hot Chili Peppers "I'm With You"

"this is a new band. Same name, but it's a new band."- Chad Smith (Drummer for RHCP)

That same name is what made many people pick up the latest release of Red Hot Chili Peppers' new album "I'm With you". 5 years, 5 years without the experimental Rock, mixed with Funk Rock, a dash of disco, and that special irie feeling which now takes us back to the loading space the Peppers call home. With the addition of guitarist Josh klinghoffer it brings the Red hot Chili Peppers back to a feeling they haven't had since the early 80's...Vulnerability.

Without a doubt that's how we start out this album. "Monarchy of Roses" takes the thought of "The Queen" being your one and only in comparison to the highest form of a flower, The Rose. Knowing the Rose is the most special flower among the others they do contain thorns, hence the line "Mary wants to build it up/ but Sherry wants to tear it all back down/" A genius way to compare "your Queen" or women in general to roses, as well as a creative way to start an album out.

Keeping with the signature sound RHCP are known for, songs like "Ethiopia" & "Factory Of Faith" Which has snares seemingly to keep our ears on the "look out" for each and every sound that make up these devious songs Mr. Rick Rubin eagerly punched us in the face with, The general feeling of this album has to be one of "If it ain't broke,don't fix it.

Compelling lyrics and a campfire tune that sticks to your brain as a bandage on the gash of music is what you get on "Brendan's Death Song". Spoken word yelled on roof top of a jazz bar make up "Even you Brutus?" as Kiedis progresses his inner thoughts as only spoken word with a twist of "pissed off-ness" can.

But the widespread of genres making up this album doesn't stop there, "Did I Let You Know" A mash up of that irie feeling stated above with features from a tickled trumpet, roaring guitar, and tip toeing vocals are attention worthy.

"Happiness Loves Company"- Cheerful indeed, this songs has all the makings of the 1967 Hit song "Happy Together" by the Turtles. Drunken Lyrics like "Half blinded I'm reminded how to find the stairs/Nickel and Dime I Think its time to play some musical chairs/",further show this band understands the idea of expansion.

Regardless to if you think your uncle who's been bragging about the Red Hot Chili Peppers since the early 80's is cool or not, this album shows he just might have an idea what he's been talking about all this time, and to take a brief listen would do your ear buds some justice.

Growth- B-

Production- A+

Lyrical Ability- A-

WWA (World Wide Appeal) B+

SAU Official Grade A-

Monday, August 29, 2011

***Official SAU Report Card*** Lil Wayne " Tha Carter IV"

And now he's here.."Tha Carter IV" which has seen many set backs from jail time, to just plain ol' release date problems hit i-Tunes at 12am 8-29-11. With a "Brand new Attitude", Wayne tries his best attempt at growth but appears stagnant in some forms, showing that his past effort "Tha Carter III" still remains the musical highlight of his career thus far.

Going into an album that you expect to be a complete upgrade from the last edition of "Tha Carter", we actually get a mediocre "rap album" at best. Noticeably different from this album compared to earlier presentations has to be the wordplay. Checking out Wayne's background, you can see in a great abundance that the "Lil One" had a full dictionary at his disposal, but using lines like "I'm a sight seer/Now let me see it" as he did on the song " So Special" Ft John Legend as well as "You don't need a buss pass/you need a bust yo' ass" on "Blunt Blowin" shows the regression in every way.

Taking songs like "John", which is basically a 2011 rendition of Rick Ross' 2010 song "I'm Not A Star" from his "Teflon Don" Album with an extra beat behind it is very lazy and well...a cheap way to get a hood classic that already was.

High points on the album include "Interlude" Ft Andre 3000 and the cryptic underrated artist Tech N9ne who blasts on the scene of the song with a wisp of wind, that you can't understand was there...until he's gone. As well as the beat of "Abortion" slashing off the transitionally fucked first :18 secs of the song, where it takes 50 rewinds, a translator from China, and a cup of coffee including 10 "Sweet N' Lows" to ponder on as you rewind.

This album as a whole lacks "Songs" and thunderous beats to where it lays an easy platform for the rapper to go completely bonkers on. "How To Love" which is a wonderful song has no platform to stand on within this album which makes me wonder should it have gone to someone else? There's no doubt Wayne has fans that will completely support this edition of "Tha Carter" which is a wonderful thing to stand on, but the fact of the matter is once again, this album "Tha Carter IV" is just a mediocre "Rap Album" at best.

Growth- D-

Production- C

Lyrical Ability- C

WWA (World Wide Appeal)- S (Satisfactory)

SAU official Grade- D+

Nicki Minaj's Stock Rises...

Sunday night at the Staple Center turned out to be the closing night for Taylor’s four-night sold-out run at Staples Center. Within that night Taylor performed all of her hits,but along with that gave her audience of around 52,000 fans a special treat with bringing out Nicki Minaj in turn performing "Super bass".

MTV Video Music Award Performances

Lady Gaga As Joe Calderone "You And I"

Jay-Z & Kanye West "Otis"

Chris Brown "Yeah 3x", "Beautiful People"

Beyonce' "Love On Top"

Adele "Someone Like You"

Bruno Mars "Valerie" (Amy Winehouse Tribute)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Resigns As Apple's CEO

On August 24, 2011, Jobs announced his resignation as Apple's CEO and subsequently recommended Tim Cook to be his successor. As per his resignation letter request, Jobs was elected chairman of Apple's board of directors.

Regardless to if you love him, or you hate him, Jobs without a doubt revolutionized music. As a technician at Atari in the early 70's, Jobs hopeful beginnings had nothing to do with music but with much drive, and a fearless heart, in 2001 from the "digital hub" Category out popped the "iPod". The product which was developed in less than one year and unveiled on October 23, 2001, gave us a Mac-compatible product with a 5 GB hard drive that put "1,000 songs in your pocket."
Many imagined this product to be much more complicated than the bulky CD player you and I toted about around this time, but whispers of a non-skipping product caught our attention and ultimately our hearts.

"The Core" of Apple decided not to stop there but to give us a a partner to our new found friend the i-Pod..Introducing i-Tunes... in 2003 Jobs introduced a media player computer program, used for playing and organizing digital music and video files on desktop computers compatible with then i-Pod and i-Pod touch. A computer program that would soon give all music executives no choice but to adapt their business plans one page at a time, taking the free ideas of Napster & Limewire to a more upscale "pay only" plato. With digital dollar signs coming into play, not only would Steve jobs have something even more revolutionary than the i-Pod with i-Tunes, but much controversy hanging from the Apple tree ready for picking.

But Jobs showed no sign of slowing with in 2004 releasing the now best friend to many producers in the music industry..."Garage Band". Unveiled by Steve Jobs with assistance by John Mayer during the keynote speech at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco on January 6, 2004. GarageBand is a streamlined digital audio workstation (DAW) and music sequencer, which can record and play back multiple tracks of audio. Built-in audio filters allow the user to enhance the audio track for recording guitar instruments, etc. The tuning system can also effectively imitate the dreadful auto-tune effect when tuned to the maximum.

Just a "regular" studio this could be seen as to the person "just purchasing a Mac Book" or just "playing around" with Garageband, but in actuality along with receiving your Macbook you get the luxury of playing around with a $800,000- $1,000,000 studio for just the price of the laptop.

One of the most valuable companies along with (who most consider) thee greatest business men of our lifetime, took the time to recognize music in many forms. So SAU give a standing ovation to the man who revolutionized the way we buy, hear, and make music.

New Vid: Lil' Wayne "How To Love"

In a visual attempt to show the correct way to propel a hit single, Lil Wayne recently released the official video to his obvious hit "How To Love". Better Late than Never, the visual goes deep into a particular woman's life ultimately showing "If she knew how to love" her life would end up completely different.

Obviously Contradistinctive from other videos Wayne has released in the past, this video has meaning, this video has much heart and soul. Now although just released, one can only ponder about the thought of Wayne going from lyrics & videos with depth, to his latest single "She Will" Ft Drake coasting with lyrics: "Now Gon' Pop that Pu**y for a real Ni**a". Wayne has the potential to absolutely screech on his way to sophistication throughout his lyrics, but in my opinion its not only a form of growth, but a versatile ever-growing fan base.

With Wayne gaining country wide appeal from 04's "Tha Carter", (Which if you ask a person from his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana was his best effort to date) the growth to "The Carter II" lyrically blew us out the water from "Tha Mobb" to "Hustler Musik" gaining him much notoriety, and for the moment stamping "Best Rapper Alive" on each and every feature Wayne flowed on. The question of "what's next" came answered in the form of "The Carter III" ("lollipop","A Milli","Mrs. Officer") when Wayne gained world wide success selling 1 million copies in the first week. Since then "We Are Young Money", "Rebirth" and "I'm Not A Human Being" have passed, but getting back to "The Carter" series keeps us questioning....We soon shall get our answers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

R.I.P Nickolas Ashford

One half of the Motown duo Asford & Simpson (Nick Ashford) has reportedly died of complications from throat cancer August 22, 2010. The duo that wrote and produced hits for the likes of Marvin Gaye & Tami Terrell, Aretha Franklin, and Ray Charles got their big break as performers in the mid 60's as a gospel group, but their most well-known written songs remain "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Marvin & Tammi), "You're All I Need To Get By" , "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing", and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand) (Diana Ross)"

In the early 70's, along with taking the step to get married, the duo resumed their career with the Warner Bros records. Taking their already illustrious careers to the next level they released "Gimme Something Real". This was followed by the hit singles, "Don't Cost You Nothin'" (1977), "It Seems To Hang On" (1978), "Is It Still Good to Ya" (1978), "Found a Cure" (1979), "Street Corner" (1982), and their biggest hit, "Solid," released in 1984.

"Solid" topped the U.S. R&B chart, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, and peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart in 1985. It was the 16th best-selling single of 1985 in the UK.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

They Said "Watch The Throne" Didn't They?

As we were all watching, some with faces of confusion others accepting and digesting the scene ahead. The Throne did just what they set out to do so far. Kanye West and Jay-Z's joint album "Watch The Throne" debuts at #1 with sales of 426k including a whopping 290k digital downloads on iTunes. According to Hitsdailydouble Capitol Nashville/EMI country star Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines enters at #2 with a career-best 149k, good for #2, one of two titles from the label in the Top 5 alongside Eric Church (#5).

Capitol/EMI also scores at #3 with Now 39, while XL/Columbia’s Adele zeroes in on 3 million sold in the U.S. at #4.

Jason Aldean spends his 41st week on the charts at #6, Beyonce #8, Razor & Tie’s Kidz Bop Kids #9 and chart newcomer Def Jam/IDJ rapper Ace Hood #10.

Left Behind: Mathew Nathanson "Faster"

Wanna Make your day just a little bit brighter? This guy Mathew Nathanson's song "Faster" makes my day so much better with his hip, on point vocals and a guitar that flings east and west throughout the song.

This singer-songwriter, whose work is a blend of folk and rock music is trying to keeps his fans a float after his platinum selling song "Come On Get Higher" with his latest release "Modern Love". He released the first single, "Faster", as a free download to his fan mailing list in March 2011. "Modern Love" debuted on number 17 on the Billboard 200 for the week of July 9, 2011.

Why is this song left behind? You be the Judge....

New Vid: Red Hot Chili Peppers "The Adventures Of Raindance Maggie"

Venice Beach, California....a crowd, a camera, a band and a thumping bass, not to mention a couple of miscellaneous women that you can "rock like the 80's" what do you get? But of course the official video for the Red Hot Chili Peppers new video "The Adventures Of Raindance Maggie". Lead singer Anthony Kiedis and bassist Flea proceed to go topless for this one, which makes us want to go way back "Under The Bridge" during our "Californication".

The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie' is the first single to be lifted from the band's upcoming tenth studio album I'm With You, which will be released in the UK on August 29 and the US on August 30.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers recently announced plans to play a free one-off show at London's Koko in September, which will be followed by a full UK later this year.


New Vid: Lady Gaga "You And I"

Has Lady Gaga gone country? not exactly, but her new single "You and I" which has that country twang shows her taking on the genre head on. The official video filmed in Springfield, Nebraska sets the scene as thoughts of her long lost love play back, reminding him that "this time she's not leaving without" that certain someone. During the video Lady gaga debuts many of her "alter ego's" including Jo Calderone (her male alter ego) and Yuyi the Mermaid.

Monday, August 8, 2011

***SAU Official Report Card*** Jay-Z Kanye West "Watch The Throne"

Samples galore, + Socially conscious content,and just a tad bit of "asshole-ism",equals this highly anticipated album "Watch The Throne" by Jay-Z and Kanye West. Surprising alone that an album of this massive magnitude DID NOT leak. (insert clap/thought) Revealed about ten months ago that this started from a thought aiming for reality,the album is officially here.

Starting off, this album in my personal opinion isn't one you can grasp in its entirety with one listen being that it's basically 2 of the biggest rap artists of our generation. First thought would be to give it a "WOW" because of just that. About 3 listens later, we have many highs, yet a couple of lows, but we start with "No Church In The Wild". A radical beat hits us with a vague sense of softness. The first feature of the album being Frank Ocean, gives you the "If a tree falls in the forest scenario" relaying the question "what's a God to a non believer". How this beat was structured, along with many on the album, give you the option to hear them many different ways. A disappointment at times coming in the form of both artists who proceed to take the "easy way out", or basic train of ear going into this song, and many songs on this album flowing right above the beat and not letting the beats weave in and out through their vocals, showing the different ways you can hear them. Although that could come with a negative punch, "No church In the Wild" is a very good way to set up the rest of the album, almost as a heads up to what's next.

We "Lift Off" to the next song featuring Beyonce'. Now, this might be my personal "problem" when it comes to Beyonce'/Kanye West collaborations, but whenever they do decide to collab it underwhelms. You have vocals that can do just about everything, but West corners Beyonce's vocals yet again. On "Lift Off" we stick to the same "we made it" lyrics just as "My beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"'s "See Me now". But pretty OK song,and very nice tempo.

The *Tunnel Tracks and samples continue with "Ni**as In Paris" which could be seen as just a filler until the transition happens, and brings light to the song. "Otis", a soulful dinner within itself, shows Jay-Z and Kanye's skills tip the meter,with the "past the ball" technique that simplify features on an album for everyone after.

The Arabian inspired "Gotta have It" lets James Brown's "People,Get Up and Drive your funky soul (remix)" sample lead the way. Showing samples in a very positive light this one does, Mixing an Arabian beat, along with the soulful sample, turning it into a hip hop track could be considered genius in some aspect.

No"*Tunneling" to get to the "RZA" connect "New Day" where a deep in thought Kanye West gets his point across of the "New Day" being changing some things in his past, but all together comes off as mediocre at best.

Through the next 3 songs our musical high coasts, sometimes hitting below average, that is until "Murder To Excellence" hits. When "Murder To Excellence" hits...It Hits. A double sample beat that shows the *tunnel track idea come fully to life. We get a 1/2 and 1/2 beat, with the second half sizzling into and sampling the "Shaving scene" from the Quincy Jones musically arranged "Color Purple". Socially inclined rappers taking the beat to the next level, with topics ranging from Wars, success, religion and Black on Black Murder. very Nice by all parties involved.

"Made In America" continues the religion topic with a soothing Frank Ocean singing "Sweet baby Jesus/We made it in America". A wonderful topic that could've been relayed just a tad bit better.

Ending this album with the screaming, synthesizing beat of "Why I love You" ft Mr. Hudson. The beat gets a negative, but in actuality Mr.Carter showed up, and showed out on this track, Ending the album with showing that his skills are still in tact made the song start low, but end high in every way.

All in all the anticipation of "Watch The Throne" lived up to the expectation 85% of the way. Many highs, and a few bumps, but most definitey, the challenge that the two put themselves right in the middle of deserves a grade A. To make a basic album with basic hardcore rap beats would be expected, but the line they attacked makes us all question where can Jay-Z and Kanye West go from here?

*SAU Definition: "Tunnel track"- A track within a beat that usually enters towards the end of the initial song tunneling you into an entirely different beat/song.

Growth: S (satisfactory)

Production: B-

Lyrical Ability: B-

WWA (World Wide Appeal): C

Official Grade: B+

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Good Thing About Music.....

"One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain"-Glorious Quote From Bob Marley

But what if the pain in music hit you so hard, you had no choice but to humble yourself within the swaying of the "Trenchtown Rock" king of Reggae himself, and let the emotions flow? Who'd be behind you soothing your soul with your new found soundtrack to life? Adele.

With her debut album "19" perking your ears up like a canine hearing a brief new sound, but shaking it off as a coincidence, "21" has to be the complete "BOOM" that makes the dog howl. With "21" being certified by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) at ten times platinum, denoting domestic shipments in excess of three million units adding that to now 12 nonconsecutive weeks at number 1 on the Billboard 200...say it with me folks..OWWWWWW!

When asked about the emotions felt when the complete album "21" arrived on his desk, Simon Cowell told SAU "It was such a great collection of music tied in together. The perfect marriage of pain, sorrow, heartbreak, and hope. Her voice delivers excruciating lyrics in a beautiful way. As a concrete rose. Especially in terms of the music industry, she sticks out like a sore thumb."

An unexpected bloom for sure being that Adele's "21" peaked at number 1 in over 5 countries including Ireland, Australia, Canada, and Germany. There seems to be no stopping this gush of aqua deeply nurturing an impoverished industry. But how did we get here? A wonderful album has to hit its mark with much force, but adding to that it needs all around great production and writing.

SAU spoke to the man Ms. Adele credits for helping her "tackle her emotions head on" Mr. Rick Rubin. When asked how Adele tapped into the pain, Mr. Rubin responded " Well Before the actual album you hear now, it was an entirely different album But when Michael Sanders and myself collaborated on the songs, and I received the final songs Adele was to sing, she seemed a tad bit intimidated. I sat her down and explained that these songs were tailored especially for her no one else, but its your job to go get it, and I believe she did just that."

A songwriter on 99% of the album Michael Sanders explained "transitioning from "19" to "21" was different. Adele was trying to find herself on "19" he said, going into the album "21" we knew where we wanted to go, but the car broke down a couple of times. I actually heard a quote from someone that said "I don't want to feel like I'm on my way to a funeral listening to her album" we had to take that into account. So the album was structured around soulful heartbreak instead of plain ol' heartbreak which I think Adele could sing getting out of bed in the morning."

The Highly praised second single "Someone Like You" continues her critical acclaim without a shadow of a doubt, but to know an album of so much praise could have quickly gotten looked over with "Rolling In The Deep" debuting fairly low in the states, The push of a single shows the statement "One and Done" still has meaning.

The rose that grew from concrete, The One, Adele is as of right now One Good Thing About Music.