Cribbing a brilliant feature from The Onion A.V. Club called Popless, and spurred by a recent clean-up of my computer and external hard drive, I am setting out to listen to every song and every artist on said hard drive. This hopefully will incorporate new releases over the course of the journey as well. Mostly I’ll be running quickly through artists for whom I only have a track or two, but for more major artists, I will try to go a bit more in depth. Today I’ll try to run through artists whose names start with symbols or numbers.
(+44) – When Your Heart Stops Beating, the first and perhaps only album by blink-182 survivors Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker; the purpose of the band is in doubt now that blink is reunited for lucrative touring and recording. The album is kinda interesting for one reason: all the songs were originally written and programmed electronically by Hoppus and Barker, as a sort of pop-punk twist on The Postal Service trademark style; but by the time of the album’s release the tracks had been overlaid with traditional blink-style arrangements. The contrast between the writing in one paradigm and the production in another is as often awkward as it is compelling. (+44) doesn’t suffer from the earnest overkill of their former and current bandmant Tom DeLonge (more on him soon), but only the title track captures the heady spark of blink-182 at their best; there’s also a bromantic emo break-up song aimed at DeLonge that hits home, knowing the dudes had been friends for like 15 years prior.
The (International) Noise Conspiracy, “My Star
.38 Special, “Hold On Loosely”
2 Pistols feat. T-Pain & Tay Dizm, “She Got It” – A typical T-Pain guest spot – in other words, a ridiculously catchy piece of hip-hop fluff.
2Pac, “All Eyez on Me” & “California Love” – There’s a lot of great artists for whom I have like two obligatory tracks; Tupac Shakur is one of them. These two are pretty unimpeachable rap classics, especially “California Love,” likely the first real rap video I ever saw. Funny how big a deal Kanye’s AutoTune is these days, when the chorus of “California Love” is all fucking AutoTune.
30 Seconds to Mars, “The Kill” – Generic modern rock by Jared Leto.
50 Cent – To me, there’s always been off-putting about 50 Cent’s lack of nuance: he’s all swagger, all the time. That’s not to say he’s not very skilled or charismatic, but I just can’t see myself listening to a whole album’s worth of his braggadocio-on-steroids act. I’m much more drawn to the cringe-inducing honesty of Kanye and the newly-humbled T.I. I mean, Christ, even Young Jeezy can modulate. So I have five choice 50 Cent singles, “If I Can’t“ the best of them.
311, “Amber” – Mediocre band, awesome song. A recurring theme in my library, to be sure.
The 5th Dimension, “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In” – Hippiedom tamed for the mainstream. Classic. I played this, half-joking and half-not, about eight times after Obama was sworn in. Also, the basis for possibly the funniest scene in movie history, at the end of The Forty-Year-Old Virgin.