- Forever Begins – Common | I’ve been really into Common’s latest album, Finding Forever. He is one of the handful of artists I would consider to be a reflection of genuine hip hop. His lyrical sophistication outshines the rest. In his latest Kanye West-produced album, Common finds familiar ground for his music. From kicking it off with the quick rap of “Start the Show”, to tuning the dials of street radio on “The People”. Other tracks, such as the anti-materialist track “Drivin’ Me Wild”, may take a while to grow on you while “The Game” is hip hop at its best. Though, “Forever Begins”, Common’s ode to his long time friend and producer, J Dilla, who passed away from lupus, has to be my favorite track on the entire album. It is beautifully written, reminiscent of Tupac’s “Changes”, and concludes the album on the usual powerful note, with Common’s father just talking; not singing. Common’s last album, the critically-acclaimed Be, is difficult to top and while I don’t think this album as a whole quite does that, it does match it. Revisiting the predecessor, I’m also re-hooked on “The Corner” and the short and sweet track, “Be”.
- How Far We’ve Come – Matchbox 20 | Yeah, it’s been awhile. I have not heard the new album but when it comes out soon I’m guessing it will be playing in heavy rotation on my iPod. As far as I can tell, it has one of the coolest looking album covers. And if the first single, “How Far We’ve Come” is any indication, I’m guessing Exile On Mainstream is going to be a great Matchbox 20 album, driving all their fans back into their welcoming arms. Drums and acoustic guitars play raw, heavy, and perfectly well on this track. Though Rob Thomas’ sings an incredibly addictive chorus. So what’s the song about? The apocalypse.
- Extraordinary – Mandy Moore | Sue me. She’s a good singer.
- Nolita Fairytale – Vanessa Carlton | It’s a pretty good song and might signify a strong comeback for her. Nolita, by the by, is a neighborhood in New York City where Carlton lives.
- Down The Line – JosÃƒÂ© GonzÃƒÂ¡lez | Following his last album, 2003’s Veneer, that included memorable songs like Crosses, Hints, and Heartbeats, is not easy. I don’t know how well Gonzalez does it with his latest album, In Our Nature, set to come out later this month, though from what I’ve heard of it thus far, it sounds very promising. “Down The Line” is a dark and potent acoustic melody, while “Killing For Love” is a more optimistic yet mischievous-sounding track that sounds like it should play in a Wes Anderson film.
- Weak & Powerless – A Perfect Circle | This is just a great song. It is one of the most lyrically powerful rock songs I have ever heard, which is something one can come to expect from A Perfect Circle. This especially becomes obvious in one of the best bridges I’ve heard in a modern rock song. If you enjoy it, you might also want to revisit an older track: “3 Libras”.
I wonder when the roll call for heaven gon’ come
Forever gon’ come
It’s a cold world, and I can never go numb
Look fear in the eyes, say I’m never gonna run
Sooner or later, I know the cheddar gon’ come
For now I write the world letters to better the young
On tree by jury, together we hung”
Forever Begins – Common
come again some other day
the devil has my ear today
I’ll never hear a word you say
he promised I would find a little solace
and some peace of mind
whatever, just as long as I don’t feel so…”
Weak & Powerless – A Perfect Circle