Not quite top ten enough
This year I made up a little top ten urban/electronica music list for the Nashville Scene. The introductory paragraph written by the editors pretty much sums up my feelings about such lists. It was harder than I thought, though, especially coalescing into a few words how I felt about the #1 pick, Edan’s The Beauty and the Beat. There were several other LPs that were borderline, worthy of mention, so now, the also rans . . .
Micatone – Nomad Songs (Sonar Kollektiv) Electronica, nu-jazz, whatever label you want to stick on it, it’s great late night, U-Street bar, apple martini sipping music. I probably played this more than anything else this past year that wasn’t a mix CD. Bomb ass track: Mars
Kanye West – Late Registration. I can’t deny the beat skills West flashes on the LP. Too many holes in the playlist, though. I’m sure the disc will find itself on many a critic’s top 3. West is an underrated MC if ya axe me, that semi-serious exaggerated twang and often bizarre tangents provide a humorous counterpoint to his sometimes biting social commentary.
M-Flo – Beat Space Nine. More quirky dance remixes from one of Japan’s preeminent hip-hop crews. They do for old school pop star Akiko Wada what did for Elvis’ Little More Action. If that song was released here there would be 5,000 commercials and sports shows using it for a theme song.
Alicia Keys – Unplugged. Much of it is tedious American Idol style gliss and bad cover versions. However Ms Keys does have a great set of pipes that can make up for some corny songwriting. Bomb ass track: Unbreakable.
Nitin Sawhney – Philtre, It was tough to decide between this one and The Cosmic Game. I actually would have chosen his last LP Human as the top choice of them all last year. Since he backed away from the politics this year and included more house, he dropped out of the top ten completely.
Little Brother – The Minstrel Show. It’s one of the new trends in rap, indie-hop bands trying to stake a claim as the anti-indie-hop band. The CD’s title suggests a concept, a commentary on contemporary commercial rap music, however these North Carolina kids never follow through on the promise. Perhaps if they’d have mentioned Chapel Hill a little more . . . .
Cage – Hell’s Winter – An engrossing personal statement set to thundering beats. It wasn’t as charming as The Loneliest Punk nor as impressive as Edan’s meta-personal statement.
Normally I’d have waiting a list stocked with alt rock picks, too. Outside of a few acts who actually got a lot more press than I thought they would (Louis XIV, The Bravery, Trail of the Dead) I haven’t listened to a lot of new rock this year.