onLoop 11.03.10

Posted: November 3, 2010 by RA in Music, On Loop

N.E.R.D. – “Hypnotize U” – 2010
God in Heaven, this is some funky shit!

I first heard this about six weeks ago. Maybe it was my incredibly manic schedule at the time (hence the prolonged radio silence), but I didn’t really warm to it, despite my excitement at the production credit. Yes, this is the long-awaited reteaming of the Neps and Daft Punk, almost a decade after the spacey, dream-like “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” remix back in ’01. The drums thump hard, yet are so synthetic in sound, it’s like being throttled with a foam bat.  The synths are dreamy yet ’80s yet Euro. Pharrell makes the best use of his amateurish falsetto since “Frontin'”, finally meeting his full potential as Rick James’ super-freak heir apparent.

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Mariah Carey – “When Christmas Comes” – 2010

Song of the Decade be damned, I always thought “Circles” was the best thing about The Emancipation of Mimi. It was soulful, well-written, and unexpected in its maturity. “When Christmas Comes” is its lesser cousin with the December birthday, and reunites MC with Philly Soul/Hip-Hop genius James Poyser. While this isn’t their greatest work together, it’s a welcome addition to their growing catalog. Indeed, it feels a little derivative and inauthentic at its start (especially in the middle of an album of traditional holiday ballads). But somewhere before the bridge, you’ll find your feet stomping along to the heartbeat drums and percussive horns.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that one of the greatest voices in contemporary voices is gliding over it all.

Dwele – “How I Deal (feat. Slum Village)” – 2010

Recession-conscious content is bullshit to me — whether presented in the form of television, fashion, or real estate — a cynical, condescending crock of shit intended to craftily separate you from the pennies you now have to guard even more jealously. Fucking assholes (especially that Shameless trailer… don’t get me started).

But this cut from everyman soulman Dwele rings with a depressing sincerity. It’s intensely bounce-worthy, and anyone in this post-Hope-and-Change economy will feel a bitter, knowing twinge when he describes “waiting for Obama to kick in.”

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