Sunday, August 16, 2009

Electric Relaxation Vol. 1 (Stevie Ray, Silversun Pickups, The-Dream)

Before I went to Orlando, I DL'd (legally) a bunch of albums. Imesh is cool like that, much better than Limewire. So I just wanted to give my thoughts on them cause as much as I love sports and life, I love music.

I knew Stevie Ray Vaughan as a guitar god but it wasn't until I played Guitar Hero 3 where I finally heard some of his stuff, "Pride and Joy". Then I went ahead and DL'd "Texas Flood" because a Guitar World poll ranked it as his best solo. I heard "Love Struck Baby" on the radio out here and when I saw all three were on the Texas Flood album, I had to get it.

Maaan that album is some of the best blues I ever heard. "Testify" is on repeat right now, "Rude Mood" is some sick playing, "Mary Had A Little Lamb" is dope. Hands down, this is a must-have album and hearing "Testify" Live makes me wish I could see him.

Stevie Ray was a bad MF on the guitar and he played with so much soul that when he didn't sing, he said a lot. To me, that's music at its finest. Just for the heck of it, I DL'd the Essential Stevie Ray and Double Trouble album and I love it - great covers of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Jimi Hendrix "Voodoo Chile" along with his own jams.

We don't get hear too much of the blues nowadays and I'm glad Stevie Ray helped keep it alive in the 80's before his death.

Earlier this year, I said I wanted to hear Silversun Pickups' albums because I'm a huge fan of "Lazy Eye" and "Panic Switch." I DL'd "Carnavas" and I admit I was disappointed because it was so mellow. Songwriting may have been there but I expected some more. But then I listened to "Swoon" and was blown away - it starts off with a bang in "There's No Secrets This Year" and keeps it up. It's a much harder album and is definitely a step forward lyrically too.

I know they get compared to Smashing Pumpkins a lot, vocally and sonically, but that's why I like them. They have their own sound and who better to mimic than one of the best bands of the 90's Swoon is definitely one of the best albums this year and Carnavas is growing on me. "Panic Switch" was a late addition to the album and I'm glad it made it.

L.A. needs a band to rally around and I have no problem rallying behind SSP. Although the LA Times rides hard for them, it's refreshing a bit to see us have a local act succeed.

And now we come to The-Dream. I said earlier that "Rockin That Thing" is one of the best singles this year and I felt like getting Love vs. Money. Not a big fan of his voice, but I respect good music when I hear it. Well I got it and I was definitely impressed - he stepped up his singing to match his production.

The first half is strong - esp. "Walking on the Moon" with a solid Kanye verse. The second half was hit or miss but production wise, this album is fire. He's got a great sound but my problem has been his singing. This album, he settles into his voice a bit and it's still a great album. Few people are making Top 40 music as inventive as him and Tricky Stewart and R&B benefits from it.

I hate comparing anybody to Prince but you can see his influence over Dream's music. It's a unique listening experience and i think he's doing better when he uses his voice to fix the beat - he won't be the singer Ne-Yo is but he's creative in his own way. When he strikes gold, it's great. I was shocked and from someone who's not a fan and nitpicks over profanity in my R&B at times, this album is great but my R&B album of the year leader will be in Vol. 2

Coming This Week: Poetry Corner!!!

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