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 411mania » Music » Columns

411 Music Buy or Sell 03.07.13: No Freedom For the Executioner
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 03.07.2013

Greetings and salutations, Music Zone readers! Welcome to your top choice in music single opinion columns, 411 Music Buy or Sell! I'm your host Jeremy Thomas, and each week we'll look at some of the hottest new and hit singles and a couple of our esteemed writers will decide if they want to keep the song (Buy) or drop it like it's hot (Sell). Our listeners this week are the man behind the Low End Theory, Tony Acero, taking on yours truly, Jeremy Thomas!

All right, enough of the introductions and rules…let's hop to it!

1) Big K.R.I.T. - "Shine On"
From K.R.I.T. (King Remembered In Time) (Def Jam)
Released February 27, 2013
Tony Acero: SELL.

Having Bun B on the track almost put this in the BUY region for me, but it wasn't enough. It's not that KRIT isn't good, because I actually like the guy, but the beat seems to have one too many layers for me, which throws me off. A soulful approach overlapped by a nice, slow tune can help, but too much drum kit bugged me. It's a SELL for me, but a hard SELL because there's some quality here...

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

Nope, can't do it. There are some things I like about this, but there's just too much going on in this track; it's the musical equivalent of an ADHD kid on crack. That being said, I don't hate it; the background tune is good and the flow is nice, but it was incredibly too busy for a song. Sometimes it's better to just ease back a bit and make things simple. You aim too high and you'll crash and burn.


2) Kavinksy - "Protovision"
From Outrun (Casablanca/Republic)
Released December 10, 2012
Tony Acero: SELL.

The only song I know of by Kavinsky is the one I'm sure we all know - "Nightcall." While Protovision tries to go along that same vein, I think my issue is that...it goes along that same vein. In other words, it doesn't have a uniqueness as a song, and one can only have a small playlist of getaway songs. I think they tried to recapture what they had with "Nightcall." Again, I can appreciate where it's going, but can't say I'd BUY it.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I've found myself increasingly more appreciative of Kavinsky's sound. Yes, this is similar in style to "Nightcall" but that's sort of his gig and I really like it. It's really solid 80s-themed synthpop and there isn't anything wrong with that when you do it right. This is the first single off his album Outrun and if you like the guy I would recommend that you pick this up because it's well worth checking out.


3) Bruno Mars - "When I Was Your Man"
From Unorthodox Jukebox (Atlantic)
Released January 15, 2013
Tony Acero: BUY.

I'm not sure what happened between Bruno's first mention of existence and this particular song, but somewhere along the lines, I grew a liking to the kid. Maybe it's growth as an artist, or maybe because the sheen has wore off and I see him as more....imperfect? But for whatever reason, he's won me over. This song is probably the best example of why. Simple piano backed song with a sad - but not overbearing - message. Just a solid song, I think.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I really enjoyed Doo Wops and Hooligans; it was a flawed album, but still an impressive start for Bruno. Unorthodox Jukebox is more of the same at first glance, but dig a bit deeper and there's actually a more mature artist who has improved in his song selection and style. Mars backs up a bit and goes for the kind of slow, soulful ballad that I'm predisposed toward when its done right. There's nothing truly amazing here; it's just a very well-done, radio-friendly sad song. Can't argue with that.


4) Nelly - "Hey Porsche"
From M.O. (Universal Motown)
Released February 19, 2013
Tony Acero: SELL.

Is that Nelly...auto-tuning? I think he missed the boat just a bit, and Nelly in a doo rag only makes me think of JTG - which is not a compliment. This song seems like Nelly's attempt to get back into the game, but which game? Pop fodder for sure, right here. Not to say that Nelly was ever at the top of the list of pure rappers, but this is a very, very obvious attempt at garnering the younger/pop crowd, without any of the "depth" of "Dilemma."

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

Wow, Nelly's stealing Flo Rida's sound now? Really, this is what he's come to? Screw that. And this is coming from someone who thinks that Flo Rida is good, fun pop-rap. But this is Nelly just ripping off someone else and that seems really wrong. And yes, I realize that Nelly's always had a somewhat similar sound, but you can't deny this is a copy of a very specific sound. There isn't even the wit of a Rida song in this; it's just bland and stupid lyrics set to a summertime sound in a desperate attempt to cash in on someone else's fame. No thank you.


5) Atoms for Peace - "Judge, Jury and Executioner"
From Amok (XL Recordings)
Released March 11, 2013
Tony Acero: BUY.

Go on with yo badself and make me listen past a one-minute instrumental intro. I want to cry Radiohead-lite, but I feel a little stronger about the song than at first glance, particularly because the guitar sounds so real in the background. It's a loose BUY, but I'll give it to them.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I've already mentioned elsewhere how much of a fan I am of the new Atoms for Peace album and this is a great example of why. Yes, it's undoubtedly a Radiohead sound but what do you expect from Thom Yorke? Besides, it's not as similar as one might think, and the bass work by Flea is great here. It all adds up to a really good song of a great album.


6) Dido - "No Freedom"
From Girl Who Got Away (Sony Music Entertainment)
Released January 18, 2013
Tony Acero: BUY.

Where you been at, girl? Solid and charming track from this artist who doesn't get enough love. Her voice is both powerful and light, and "No Freedom" really brings that across. In all fairness, had she never worked with Em all those years ago, I'd probably not know who she is at all, but we're not in that world, are we?

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

This song out of all of the tracks off of Girl Who Got Away struck me. There's a hint of a Marley-esque tone to the chorus and of course you have Dido's ethereal voice delivering lyrics that are, as is typical of her, very solid. It's a nice, easy sounding song that hits an emotional core and is musically satisfying to boot.


Pretty good week this time around as Atoms for Peace, Dido and Bruno Mars get buys while Big K.R.I.T. and Nelly get Sells. Thanks to Tony for his participation this week; that will do it us! What do you think of the singles we covered? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!


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