For a year and a half, maybe even 2 years, my interest in music has been dismal, almost non-existent. Before that, I was pretty obsessed with underground hip hop and was bit of an elitist when it came to hip hop music. So for these past few years, I haven’t given much effort in searching for new, quality music. I didn’t listen to music that much at all and if I did I was pretty content with the little Christian music I had and old hip hop albums I had from the mid 90’s (Golden Era!).
This past month, I’ve randomly bought/downloaded a lot of music. And a good chunk of it isn’t hip hop. I wanted to diversify my music collection and taste. I don’t know what sparked it but my interest in music has been reborn, somewhat (we’ll see how long it lasts).
Here are recent albums (I believe in listening to full albums and not single tracks) I have purchased:
Jay-Z – The Blueprint 3
I don’t think he’s the greatest like he and his fanboys proclaim but I am a fan. BP3 certainly is a lot weaker than BP1 and BP2 but it is still enjoyable. Empire State of Mind, DOA, So Ambitious, Run This Town, and A Star is Born are the standouts. Almost half the tracks tend are bordering on filler material territory. Just an OK album in terms of quality but still enjoyable, like I said. I bought it on Amazon for $3.99 and it was worth it.
Maroon 5 – Call and Response: The Remix Album
Random purchase. Producers from different genres remix bunch of Maroon 5 songs. I like Adam Levine’s voice and enjoyed the few hits I’ve heard. These remixes are hit or miss. Best one was Questlove’s remix of Sunday Morning. Several others are pretty cool. There are some that I skip quickly, but I think it mostly has to do with me not liking that type of musical genre more than the singing/melody itself. Not sure if I would buy again. I’m 50/50 on it. I don’t find myself playing this album too much.
Foreign Exchange – Leave It All Behind
Second album from the duo of Nicolay and Phonte that makes up Foreign Exchange. Nicolay is a Dutch producer and Phonte is a rapper from the Hip Hop group Little Brother. They met on a message board and proceeded to send each other music and ideas over the internet while they were on different continents (hence their group name) and ended up releasing an album together. While well known in the underground hip hop scene, Foreign Exchange makes music that is more jazzy and soulful in nature. Very little rapping by Phonte this time around. Instead he does a lot more singing. The major highlight is the production by Nicolay. It is top notch.
Nicolay – City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya
Nicolay (of Foreign Exchange) gives us a solo offering called Shibuya. This album was inspired by his visit to Tokyo. This guy is amazing. His aim was to capture the sights and sounds and vibes and express it throughout this project. There is a little bit of singing but the album is mostly instrumental. I love it. I’ve never been to Japan but I can just imagine being there when I listen to this. Nicolay is so talented and creative.
Nelly Furtado – Mi Plan
A full album in Spanish. It was $3 on Amazon so I was like, OK, let’s do this. Listened to the album all the way through just once so far (only because I have a lot of new music to go through). I enjoyed it. I didn’t understand a lick of it but the music was pleasant to the ears. I personally think the Spanish language is nice and I need/want to learn it.
Lee Fields & The Expressions – My World
This is soul music. Luckily came across this guy’s music. His voice is pure soul. This album sounds like it could be from the 70’s or something. If you like strong, raw vocals and not that girly, pretty crap, check this out seriously. The production is perfect in giving it an old school feel but not taking away from it being a modern release with much soul and funk. I’m now a big fan of this guy.
Hazakim – Theophanies
Christian Hip Hop album. They have some association with Shai Linne and a few other Christian Hip Hop artists I like so I read some reviews and thought I’d give them a listen and support. Not bad at all. Concept album with theopanies (appearances of God to man in the Old Testament). 21 track album so there’s definitely some skip-worthy tracks but overall a pretty interesting album. Beats are not bad but not great. Lyrics are pretty good. I find that rap songs on Old Testament accounts are an amazing way to teach/learn the OT. Story telling is a big part of hip hop music so it really makes for a creative way of hearing and learning about the Bible. More and more, these news Christian Hip Hop Reformed emcees are doing a lot of solid biblical teaching in their music. I could see this going somewhere and making an impact more and more.
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Great album! Found out about Phoenix from some people on a forum saying this is one of the best albums of this year. Took a gamble on the purchase even though I never listen to this kind of music (Euro pop?) and wow, I won. This album is great. I don’t know anything about this kind of music but it just sounds really good and the entire album is so enjoyable. Quickly became one of my favorite albums to play in the car. Check it out.