411 Music Fact or Fiction 4.18.14: For Those About To Retire, We Salute You
Posted by Joseph Lee on 04.18.2014
Is Lil Wayne's new freestyle track better than the rest of his recent work? What did we think of Kanye West's guest verse on Future's "I Won"? Are we excited for a new Muse album? 411's Joseph Lee and Jeremy Thomas debate these topics and more!
Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. I'm not gonna lie, I was a little late to the party with Muse. Sometimes bands just escape your notice somehow and while I'm not sure exactly how it happened, I didn't really become super-aware of them until The Resistance. Since then though I've become a fan and The 2nd Law was in my top twenty albums of 2012. Matt Bellamy is a really solid frontman and while there are certainly rock bands I enjoy more, I like that the group is helping to keep the genre moving forward. So yeah, it's safe to say a new album by them is something I'm anticipating.
Joseph Lee: FACT. Muse is one of those acts that can do no wrong with me musically. This is a band that took dubstep and somehow made it work, and dubstep is terrible. I will listen to anything Matt Bellamy and his crew want to put out with great interest. The sooner, the better.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. Listen, I'm a huge Kanye West fan. I was in the pack of listeners that loved Yeezus, but this just wasn't great. Kanye never seems comfortable on other people's tracks; he's an artist who stands on his own better because he can have his own creative vision and when he shows up as a featured artist it usually isn't great. That made this borderline for me because I wasn't expecting that much, but this is a really substandard verse. "I made it over NBA, NFL players/So every time I score it's like the Super Bowl" is probably the most creative lyric in the verse and that's kind of sad. He just showed up to collect a paycheck and objectify his wife, which is less than I expect from 'Ye.
Joseph Lee: FICTION. This is an interesting question because I am not a fan of Kanye. Oh sure, I like some of his stuff (in fact I may be one of the few who really liked Watch the Throne), but he's not the end-all, be-all in music. Take my opinion for what you will, as I'm not a huge fan of rap music to begin with. Anyway, I hated Yeezus and didn't hate Kanye's contribution to this song. Considering it was a repetitive and dull track to begin with, West's verse managed to spruce it up a little. I don't really have expectations when it comes to Kanye, so it would have been hard for him to disappoint. The track is bad but Kanye's part is the best part of it. That's all I can ask for.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. Man, Flea loves his supergroups, doesn't he? Between this, Atoms for Peace and Rocket Juice & the Moon he keeps himself busy whenever the Chili Peppers take a break. Anyway, yeah I really dug this. It took a couple listens before I really got into it, but the dissonant sound really plays well to give it a bit of a punk sensibility and the lyrical structure is pretty powerful as well. It certainly did its job both creatively and commercially, because I'm looking forward to the band's upcoming album at this point.
Joseph Lee: FICTION. I didn't like it and it comes solely down to the whiny vocals of Cedric Bixler-Zavala. He's got that Claudio Sanchez/Coheed & Cambria thing going on (but not nearly as bad) where his voice just annoys me to no end. It's just a personal preference and unfortunately it will color my judgment of the song. The fact that it's really, really repetitive doesn't help.
Joseph Lee: FICTION. Speaking of annoying voices...how can anyone stand to listen to Lil Wayne? I had to turn this off not long after starting it because it was just bad to listen to. I think Weezy has more or less used up all of the goodwill be built over his career. He is to rap music what Nickelback is to rock music.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION. If Lil Wayne has any creativity left, it's usually in his freestyle. His albums have been completely banal but when he drops a freestyle he's usually pretty good. This wasn't the worst thing ever by any stretch of the imagination but it wasn't at the level of his usual freestyle verses. It doesn't help that it's recorded like shit and Weezy's "just rolled out of bed" rapping style doesn't play well like that, but I just wasn't feeling this much at all.
Joseph Lee: FACT. I've been a fan of Linkin Park since they first arrived (and the music websites had their track listed as "Lincoln" park because we still assumed people spelled things right back then). They've had a few missteps over the years but Living Things was a solid album and hopefully they're back to what makes them good.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. I know it hasn't been cool to like Linkin Park since Minutes to Midnight but I remain a fan. I hated A Thousand Suns with the passion of...well, of a thousand suns, but I felt like Living Things was a return to form for them. Since that LP Chester Bennington's taken some time to play with Stone Temple Pilots and the rest of the band has been off doing their own things as well, so they should be nice and refreshed for the new disc. The first single, "Guilty of the Same," is a really good rocking number and earns bonus points for featuring the great Rakim. If this is the direction they're going in, I'm totally on board and it's one of my more anticipated albums of the year at this point.
Joseph Lee: FICTION. Only in the sense that I never got to see them perform live. AC/DC have had a long run and while I would always appreciate more music for them, if they feel like they want to hang it up I'm not going to begrudge them. They shouldn't continue if Malcolm Young is too ill to do so and they've been together for so long it wouldn't feel right if they continued without him. I can't be disappointed that if a band decided to retire after a long and incredibly successful career. They've earned the rest.
Jeremy Thomas: FACT. Well, first off we know that they aren't at this point; Angus Young has confirmed that Malcolm will just be taking some time off for health reasons and the band "will continue making music." But yes, if AC/DC retired it would be disappointing. I don't think its unfair to say that the band is past their prime; its been six years since we got a studio album from them and that one wasn't their greatest work. All the same, AC/DC is an institution of rock and they've earned the right to keep going as long as they want. Hell, they've earned the right to retire too. But I would love to see them come back with an album that brought them right back into it and they're certainly capable of it. Here's hoping.
Score: 3 for 6
Thoughts? Comments? Animal? Vegetable? Mineral? Reply in the comments below to give your own take on this week's topics!