Thursday, January 31, 2013

No Freedom

Song: No Freedom
Artist: Dido
Album: Girl Who Got Away




Five years since Dido's last set, the underwhelming "Safe Trip Home," which left me a little cold after really loving her debut and follow up, Dido returns!

After a promo single, "Let Us Move On," featuring Kendrick Lamar, "No Freedom" serves as the official first single from the new, fourth album, "Girl Who Got Away" which set for release in March.  It reminds me quite a bit of the song that helped introduce her to the scene, "Thank You."

I like it... but when compared to a "White Flag," it's really just... there.

Maybe a grower, we'll see.  I missed Dido's voice, that's for sure.

Enjoy.

No Freedom
Let Us Move On

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Apple of My Eye

Song: Apple of My Eye
Artist: Big Boi
Album: Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors




Been enjoying this odd Hip Hop-meets-Indie sophomore record by OutKast's Big Boi.  The album is quite the hybrid, and while it does come across as a little cluttered, that may be the point.  The album includes collaborations and guest appearances by A$AP Rocky, B.o.B., Phantogram, Sleep Brown, Little Dragon, Ludacris, T.I., Kid Cudi, Kelly Rowland and the list goes on... (and on)

The production is pretty amazing, and as you'd image... pretty diverse.  I immediately loved "Apple of My Eye," which oddly is the one track on the album without a feature.  But it's also followed by the enchanting Phantogram-assisted "Objectum Sexuality," and the T.I./Ludacris added big beat of "In the A."  Pretty amazing.

A reminder that OutKast, the band, was one of the most forward thinking Hip Hop acts in the game.  While it's a drag that they have't reunited for a new record, Andre 3000 seems to be out of the game, more interested in one-off collab's or his acting career.  No worries though, Big Boi is still keeping it on.

Enjoy.

Apple of My Eye
Objectum Sexuality
Mama Told Me

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where is My Man

Song: Where is My Man
Artist: Eartha Kitt
Album: I Love Men




How on earth have a been able to live a full life without ever hearing this song before?

iTunes radio played this gem randomly and it was certainly a what. is. this. WeCast moment.  Wow.

Released in 1983, the song was co-written by comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, Fred Zaar, and producer Jacques Morali, and was an immediate hit in France, where Kitt had been living in self exile after speaking out publicly against the Vietnam War at an event in the White House in 1968.  It became the first recording released in the U.S. for her after the incident, and became a hit on the Dance Club charts.

Surely a lesson is to be learned here... in the face of political differences, strife,  and war, let Catwoman break down these walls with some man-sniffing disco.  Obama... call Halle Berry.

Actually don't do that.

Just listen to Eartha.

Enjoy.

Where is My Man
I Love Men

Monday, January 28, 2013

Bastards of Young

Song: Bastards of Young
Artist: The Replacements
Album: Tim

WeCast Playlist Series




He got into Modern Rock in high school, and actually spoke with the New Wave kids.  He wanted to write for one of those rock magazine's but didn't take journalism classes in college.  Thought about moving to Austen but didn't think his car would make it.  He couldn't get into A&R where he was so he managed a video store for a couple years.  He thought Lollapalooza was great for a while and now he has a kid.  I think he was trying to do piano-based lullaby versions of Nirvana songs for a while until someone beat him to it.  They presumably could play piano.  Nice guy though.

Aging Hipster



Enjoy.

Bastards of Young

Friday, January 25, 2013

Change

Song: Change
Artist: Yolanda Be Cool
Album: Ladies and Mentalmen




Oddly, I just assumed Yolanda Be Cool were a straight-up Swing-House band in the vein of Parov Stelar based solely on their international smash "We No Speak Americano," but that's not really the case at all as you can't find one moment in their full length debut with that sound.  Don't assume!

"Ladies and Mentalmen" is a club/dance record with elements of hip-hop, vocal house, reggae, world, and pop utilizing a long roster of various vocalists, with Crystal Waters being the most prominent.  Waters was on the albums first single "Le Bump," but I've been going crazy for current single "Change" featuring Nola Darling that starts with a nod to Honey Boo Boo.  Nothing wrong with that!



Enjoy.

Change
Le Bump

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Suit & Tie

Song: Suit & Tie
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Album: The 20/20 Experience




Justin Timberlake returns to the music scene after a six year break, with a new Timbaland-assisted album.  January 14th saw the release of "Suit & Tie,"  a midtempo track featuring Jay-Z that may or may not be the first single off the new album, "The 20/20 Experience."

It's an odd one, quite pleasant, yet doesn't scream "comeback single."  I think it's a Robin Thicke-esque red herring until a full on banger gets released.  We'll see.

He's performing in New Orleans the night before the Super Bowl.  His first show in four years.

Enjoy.

Suit & Tie


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Where Are We Now?

Song: Where Are We Now?
Artist: David Bowie
Album: The Next Day




Bowie makes a surprise return after a decade with somber track "Where Are We Now?"  Rather beautiful.

Album is being produced by Tony Visconti, a long time collaborator.  The album cover is a bit of a head scratcher, but looking forward to this.

Where Are We Now?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thrift Shop

Song: Thrift Shop
Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Album: The Heist




I might end of hating this song, but for right now...

This is fucking awesome.

Thrift Shop

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013: The WeCast-Refresh


Wow... 2013.

Now that this blog/project is headed toward it's 7th year in existence, I thought it was high time that things got shaken up a bit.  I spent most of December reflecting, and decided that in 2013... change was due.

I would like to first introduce you to the brand new WeCastMusic Tumblr page.  It's a new way to blog (for me) that I've been playing around with and really like.  I'll still be keeping the Blogger site, and every post there will be linked onto the Tumblr.  The Tumblr will have a bit extra, a bit more fun, etc.  Check it out.

Thanks to dear friend and reader Melanie, I've gotten much more into Spotify, which you may have noticed in my Best Albums of 2012 posts over the past week. It's quite amazing, truly a revolution in sharing music.  I'll continue with the e-mail list as it has been, but you'll start to see more Spotify links to listen to stuff on the blog.

Starting with... the WeCastMusic-Best of 2012 huge ass playlist.  Hear everything that really caught my ear over the past year below.  I already know there are things I've missed, I'm constantly discovering things a bit late, but the beauty of Spotify is that I can add them, and if you subscribe, the playlist gets automatically updated.



I also plan, from the Tumblr site, to start a WeCastPlaylist series, sort of like radio stations that fit your mood... programmed by me.  You'll be able to find them all under the WeCastPlaylist tag on the Tumblr.  I already have one up... my "The Big 80s" playlist with over 500+ tracks to send you back to the "me" decade.

I'm excited for this new year, new music, and new possibilities.  Yay 2013!

Enjoy.

Best Albums of 2012: Born to Die

Best Albums of 2012

Song: Off to the Races
Artist: Lana Del Rey
Album: Born to Die




Anyone following this blog all year should not be surprised by this.  If Azaelia was the second most interesting persona of the year, Ms. Lana Del Rey was an easy #1.  Unfairly written off my America due to an admittedly mediocre intro on SNL, Lana's debut "Born to Die" was a clear, miles-above-the-rest winner for album of the year for me.  An exciting mix of old school Hollywood glamour, light/dark Americana, and string-laden downtempo hip-hop, "Born to Die" and Lana, thrilled me in a way no album/artist did this past year.

First there was "Video Games," a haunting yet tongue-in-cheek freak-out of a song, putting Lana on the map.


SO good it prompted this cover, and even a "Hunger Games" inspired parody.

There was a string of great singles and videos from the record, which was a bit same-y sounding, but gave it a cohesiveness that created a real moment.  I liked the record, but was really helped with some of the excellent remixes that came with the singles.  They put the songs in a different context, and made me actually like the originals, and album, more.

The top remix still goes to Fred Falke's killer take on "National Anthem" which was one of my most played song of he year.  Hear more of the great remixes here.

My obsession with Lana is best noted from my September post when "Ride" was released as a single.

That was for the re-release of "Born to Die" which featured an EP of new songs that thematically worked within the concept of the character/album, but also was a slight departure in sound, slowing things down, adding more strings, and losing the hip-hop beats.  While the album had already won me over enough that I knew it was one of my top albums of the year, the "Paradise Edition" shot it straight to #1, and the "Ride" video proved that Lana really had something special going on, and could have another career as a legit actress.


The sheer breadth of material we got from Lana this year was overwhelming, I still have leaked tracks I haven't yet listened to, nor had the chance to really sink my teeth into her scrapped debut, or that folky early album under her birth name, and on and on.  I fell in love with Lana Del Rey in 2012, straight up.

Despite loving the "Paradise Edition" EP in its entirety, I'm highlighting the overlooked classic on "Born," the amazing "Off to the Races," which many fans can't believe was never made a single.  It's great... but hey, so was "Radio."  (the album is that good)

Take a listen to the entire album, including EP as well as a couple of those great remixes here:



Can't wait to see what this girl does next.

Enjoy.

Off to the Races
Radio
American

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Best Albums of 2012: 1991/FANTASEA

Best Albums of 2012

Song: 1991
Artist: Azealia Banks
Album: 1991




While the last few weeks or so have been unfortunate in the Azealia Banks origin story, she still was the second most interesting person to come out in music in 2012, all with one major buzz single ("212,") a killer officially released EP ("1991,") and a mixtape ("FANTASEA") that was one of the best albums put out officially or not during the year.  Here's hoping that this current snafu doesn't hold up what is one of my top five most anticipated records of 2013, her actual "debut" album, which sounds odd given all we got from her in 2012.

Foul-mouthed New York born and raised Banks exploded onto the (internet) scene late 2011 with the corker "212," which became an slow-burn favorite of NYC DJ's.  Various tracks here and there led up to the "1991" EP, her only official release.  Even at just four tracks, "1991" established Banks as THE emerging act to watch, and it seemed she was just getting started.  July saw the leak of mixtape "FANTASEA," which had Banks rapping over a carefully curated batch of underground dance tracks with a heavy nod to 90's house.

The 90's in general remain Banks current touchstone, with her music taking elements from all over that decade, from the aforementioned house to 90's R&B and Hip-hop, all with an eye/ear to the future... and Banks lightening fast flow that's quite unique.  You can take a listen to the title track of "1991" and hear what I'm talking about.  And by-the-way... 1991 refers to the year Banks was born.  Yup.

While "1991" is the only thing available to buy currently, the addition of "FANTASEA" gets Banks to this spot on the Best Album list.  Non-stop scorchin'.  Take a listen to some Banks below, you can hear "FANTASEA" in its entirety here.



Watch any of the videos below.  You'll first love how yes, 90's they are... but also, this girl is a born star.  You can't take your eyes off of her.

Enjoy.

1991
LUXURY
Liquorice

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Best Albums of 2012: Warrior

Best Albums of 2012

Song: Only Wanna Dance With You
Artist: Ke$ha
Album: Warrior




This surprises even me.

While I've certainly enjoyed Ke$ha in the past I didn't expect her to write the best dance-pop record of 2012.  But she did.  And not only is it wildly consistant, goofy fun, and catchy as hell... it hints at greater depth of her as an artist (stay with me!) and shows there could be a lot of musical/songwriting growth in the future.  If you loathe her... well, the record isn't going to change your mind, but if you like her even a bit, this record will have a lot of highlights for you, it's the best thing she's done yet.

Things you need to know about Ke$ha and/or "Warrior":

   -Ke$ha wrote/co-wrote every song on the album
   -Her inspiration for the album was Iggy Pop's "The Idiot"
   -It's completely produced/overseen by Dr. Luke who had a heavy hand in "Teenage Dream" and "Femme Fetale"
   -The album is a bit vulgar, but also comes in a kid-friendly edit that's pretty good
   -The four "bonus tracks" are as good as anything on the album
   -She wrote with Iggy Pop (who appears), The Strokes, Ben Folds, and Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips
   -There is also a five-track acoustic EP called "Deconstruction" that's available which includes acoustic versions of hits such as "Blow" and the first single "Die Young"
  -On the EP she covers the Dolly Parton classic "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You," which incidentally was written in 1978 by Patricia Rose Sebert... Ke$ha's Mom

The thing to stress here is consistency   As much as I liked portions of her debut, I found it to be wildly spotty, and at points embarrassing.  But that's not the case with "Warrior," which doesn't have a bum track on it.  First single "Die Young" is K-dolla at her most catchy, and while the single died due to the Newtown incident and its subsequent banning on radio, I have high hopes for the equally melodic, fun, and Ke$h-tastic second single "C'mon."

She flirts with some rock guitar on "Dirty Love," "Only Wanna Dance With You," and the sleazy "Gold Trans AM," but fans of her more dancy material will love "Thinking of You," "Supernatural," "All That Matters," and "Out Alive."

That hint of greater depth I mentioned can be found in the pretty "Wonderland," the "In the Air Tonight"-biting electro-ballad closer "Love Into the Night," which has a spacy-epic quality to it, and bonus track "Past Lives," which points toward a Ke$ha folk-tronica album in the future.  It's rather beautiful.

The album is actually so good that I'm having trouble picking another track to highlight.  You really should hear them all.  But I'll settle with the Strokes collab "Only Wanna Dance With You," which sounds exactly what you think a Strokes/Ke$ha song would sound like.  Very fun.

While I didn't do this with Nicki as I mentioned in the "Stupid Hoe" post, I did reconfigure the tracklist of "Warrior" for when I listen to it.  Not because there was a bunch that I didn't like, or even thought the sequencing was wrong... more so because the four bonus tracks are so good, tacking them onto the end as they are in retail versions didn't seem right.  I liked the way that "Born This Way" handled the bonus tracks, working them into the standard tracklist, so after trying a few different things I came up with what I think works rather well.  Listen below:



You can also throw the "Deconstruction" EP at the end if you're inclined, which I did.  It's not on Spotify, so you're gonna have to manage that one on your own.

Enjoy.

Only Wanna Dance With You
Thinking of You
Past Lives

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Best Albums 2012: The Spirit Indestructible

Best Albums of 2012

Song: Spirit Indestructible
Artist: Nelly Furtado
Album: The Spirit Indestructible




Ladies and Gentleman, THE strongest case of WTF-happened, pop injustice of the year... went to poor Nelly Furtado, who saw her fifth album "The Spirit Indestructible" debut at number seventy-nine, selling jut 6,000 copies in its first week here in the U.S.  Four singles deep; none making serious impact.  This all despite writing some killer, world music-infused, pop hip-hop jams that were as earthy as they were urban.

I really loved this album, a true mix of her sophomore triumph "Folklore" and the bajillion-selling pop blast of '06's "Loose."  I loved the singles run of "Big Hoops," the amazing title track, banger "Parking Lot" and the most dancey track, "Waiting for the Night."  All really good.  I even thought album tracks like "High Life" and "Bucket List" could be potential singles.

The album really feels like a journey, and you can tell much time was put in crafting the record.  Shame.

I really loved "Loose" at the time, despite it feeling a little off for Nelly... not really her sound somehow.  "Spirit" sounds more natural.  It's got the beats, and the crazy, layered production of "Loose," but also an organic, tribal-ish sense of pop songwriting.

Not sure why this didn't connect.  It's worthy to check out.

Enjoy.



Spirit Indestructible
Waiting for the Night
Bucket List

Monday, January 14, 2013

Best Albums of 2012: Halcyon

Best Albums of 2012

Song: Only You
Artist: Ellie Goulding
Album: Halcyon




If you're not completely sick of her yet, here is another Ellie Goulding track, but trust me...  it's from one of the best albums of the year, her fairly well-received sophomore set "Halcyon."

While I liked Ellie okay from her previous work, with this record, she nailed a mix of forward-thinking production and lush, melodious, folk-pop. Mesmerizing.  Emotional.  Amazing.

2012 was specifically fantastic for Ellie as she saw what was originally a bonus track for her debut album, become a bona fide US radio smash over the summer, "Lights" got to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 after thirty-three weeks on the charts.  It's at 55 weeks now.

As that "promo" still marches on, her album "Halcyon" hasn't had a hit near "Lights" magnitude, but second single "Figure 8" is out there; and first single "Anything Could Happen" is being used prominently in the promo marketing campaign for the second season of HBO's "Girls."



"Anything Could Happen" was one of my absolute favorite songs of the year, and I loved it even more when I heard the album version as it had a deliciously ecstatic added series of "I know it's gonna be's!!!" to the already euphoria-inducing pre-final chorus.  O-M-G right?

"Halcyon" the album also delivers at a pleasing ratio.  It is a touch front-loaded, with the best hat-trick of the record starting with track two, the downtempo "My Blood," a real gut-wrencher that's as gorgeous as it is poetically tragic.  It's a mesmerizer.  Then "Happens" happens, pop at its most powerful... and then the dark, grooviest of "Halcyon's" tracks, "Only You" comes in to blow you away... straight away.  It's a stunner.

The album does meander a bit towards the end, yet remains confidently on the list of best albums of the year because even when the songs are "just okay," they are still pretty gorgeous in a background music way.  But things get bombastic toward the end with the over-the-top strings'n'beats future-pop of "Atlantis," which is honestly "My Blood"-level amazing.  "Dead in the Water" ends the album on a melancholy, spacey note.  Again, quite beautiful.  Modern pop bliss.

Great record.

Enjoy.



Only You
My Blood
Atlantis

Friday, January 11, 2013

Best of 2012: Fall Into the Sky

Best of 2012

Song: Fall Into the Sky (w/Ellie Goulding)
Artist: Zedd
Album: Clarity




And she strikes again...

This time 2012 darling Ellie Goulding teams up with fresh new German EDM producer Zedd on another killer dance track called "Fall Into the Sky."  It comes from his rather enjoyable if not game-changing debut album "Clarity."

I loved the album's title track featuring Foxes, as well as singles "Shave it Up," "Spectrum," and instrumental "Stache" which was used by Lady Gaga as a "sound puzzle" on her website LittleMonsters.  She released a vocal track she recorded and when laid on top of "Stache" gave you "Stache/Princess High," her high-energy ode to... marijuana.  (Zedd is one of the rumored producers on her 2013 album "ARTPOP.")

There are also collabs with One Republic's Ryan Tedder and Bright Light, but the standout is the Ellie track "Fall Into the Sky," another lush and emotional dancefloor banger that's been on repeat since I got the record.  That breakdown in the middle is insane!

The album is certainly worth the time to listen to, a little trance, a little electro, a little disco all stellar production.  Zedd's going to be one to watch.

Get to know him:



Enjoy.

Fall Into the Sky
Spectrum
Shave it Up

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best of 2012: I Need Your Love

Best of 2012

Song: I Need Your Love (w/Ellie Goulding)
Artist: Calvin Harris
Album: 18 Months




I love me some Calvin Harris, loved his debut "I Created Disco" and his even better follow up "Ready for the Weekend."  So over the past almost two years it's been with bittersweet joy that Mr. Harris has become not only a hit-maker extraordinaire, but one of the most sought after pop producers currently in the game.  Congrats, but you're no longer my little electro-pop secret!  Oh well, obscurity doesn't equate quality... get that coin Mr. Harris.

"18 Months" is less a Calvin Harris "album" and more a compilation that he's produced every track.  That doesn't make it bad, but it separates it from his early work.  The other issue is that of the fifteen tracks on the album, we'd heard nine of them already, with six getting the full single treatment before the bloody album was released!  And with three songs that could be considered interludes... what was left?

None of this makes the record bad, and honestly this contains some of the man's best work.  The mega-smash "We Found Love" featuring a little singer known as Rihanna is always welcome, and previous singles "Bounce" (with Kelis,) "Let's Go" (with Ne-Yo,) and "We'll Be Coming Back" (with Example) were all pretty amazing.  OH!  And I'm forgetting the Calvin-sung "Feel So Close" which was a surprise hit here in the States AND possibly his best song and single ever... "Sweet Nothing" with Florence of Florence + the Machine.  KILLER shit.  Watch the amazing, sad video RIGHT NOW.

So what is left?  Well, I didn't connect with "We'll Be Coming Back" until the album came out so that was a nice little non-surprise, surprise.  It's a good track.  Current single "Drinking from the Bottle" with Tinie Tempah is nice fluff, but one of my absolute favorites is the Ellie Goulding collab "I Need Your Love" which I first heard as a bonus track to her amazing 2012 album "Halcyon."  As it was always at the end of her record, it feels very much like the ending of something... and therefore oddly placed in the middle of "18 Months."  But it's not at the end, because there is a better "ending song" on the record, the lush-yet-buoyant "Thinking About You," featuring Ayah Marar.  That one is a highlight, though it has no chance of becoming a single.

And yet the album didn't contain his collab with the Scissor Sisters "Only the Horses" or the peppy "Call My Name" first single by Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole that were also released this year. Busy boy!

It's hard to argue with such a bevy of quality tracks, but next time Mr. Harris, please make another album... and not another compilation.  I know you have it in you.

Calvin Compilation


Enjoy.

I Need Your Love
We'll Be Coming Back (feat. Example)
Thinking About You

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Best of 2012: Inevitable

Best of 2012

Song: Inevitable
Artist: Scissor Sisters
Album: Magic Hour




No strangers to a WeCastMusic best-of lists, the Scissor Sisters released their fourth album "Magic Hour" in 2012 and while in terms of albums it's probably their least effective, it's also save for maybe their debut the most "fun" of their records and holds many many amazing moments that are necessities for fans, and also pretty great if you know very little of the band.

Single-wise, they did pick the best stuff to make so; the kicky off-its-head Azealia Banks-assisted "Shady Love," the should-have-been dance smash, Calvin Harris produced "Only the Horses," the albums one Elton re-tread "Baby Come Home" and lastly, their out of left field sort of viral hit "Let's Have a Kiki," which was way more fun before everyone posted it on Facebook.  Oh well.  It's still pretty great.

But in true Sisters form, it was some of the non-singles that rose "Magic Hour" above many of the other albums released this year.  The Pharell Williams co-write and produced "Inevitable" is a sublime slice of Bee Gee's downtempo-disco, the dreamy "Year of Living Dangerously," the taste-of-the-islands vibe of "San Luis Obispo" and the amazing, epic album closer "Sometimes," that challenges (but doesn't overtake) "Night Work's" mind-blowing finale "Invisible Light."

So why is it their worst record?  Well it's all over the place, not nearly as consistant as "Night Work" or "Ta-Dah," and lacks some of the charms of their similarly eponymous debut.  Also has some pretty low lows... ("Keep Your Shoes" is kind of pointless, "Self Control" and "Best in Me" just meander a bit, and "The Secret Lives of Letters" is possibly their worst, schmaltzy-est song ever.)

BUT... you still should totally give this record a spin as it's great in a lot of ways.

Enjoy.

Inevitable
San Luis Obispo
Link to Listen
Somewhere

Best of 2012: Stupid Hoe

Best of 2012

Song: Stupid Hoe
Artist: Nicki Minaj
Album: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded




Speaking of Nicki Minaj...

Released as the second "promo" single for her sophomore album "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded" and subsequently as the B-side to "Starships," "Stupid Hoe" is a brash, arguably annoying, diss track that was the closest that Minaj has come to a signature, original sound, and basks in its absolute ridiculousness.  A slutty cartoon come to life anthem, "Stupid Hoe" is the best thing Nicki Minaj has managed to do.  Well... in my opinion.  It's not really well liked, and comes from an "album" campaign that was as messy as the differences in its highs and lows.

For her sophomore album Nicki went half urban and half dancepop, splitting the record in two.  Not so shocking is that I gravitated to the RedOne-produced pop last half and consider "Starships" another big guilty pleasure of the year.  There was a re-release with a couple new tracks, all pretty excellent with the highlight, "Va Va Voom," which was considered for first single at one point... and then relegated to bonus track?  But that was par for the course from this campaign as it was again added to "The Re-Up," yet another re-release with seven new tracks and... "V.V.V." tacked on at the end.  Though I guess it was the last official single, or was that "The Boys" or "Freedom" from "Re-Up?" Just a mess.

Or... in the new age of digital playlists and fan-made track listings, just throw a bunch of shit out there and let the fan make the album they want.  Seems cool.

"Stupid Hoe's" video on YouTube broke the record of most played video in a 24 hour period when it was released, only to be pretty universally panned the day after.  It's bonkers in an absolutely amazing way with thinly disguised disses to 'Lil Kim and just about anyone else that has anything bad to say about Minaj.  It belongs up there with Kanye's "Monster" as one of the best things Minaj has ever recorded.  And I totally get it if you hate it.  I know people that do.. its rather abrasive.

If you're asking/thinking... no, I haven't made my perfect Minaj album from the thirty-odd songs that have been released, mostly because I don't really see myself listening to more than five or six songs in a row of hers.  A little Minaj goes a long way...

And "Stupid Hoe" is proof-positive.  I love it though.  And the video is cray-cray!

Enjoy.

Stupid Hoe
Va Va Voom
I Endorse These Strippers

Monday, January 07, 2013

Best of 2012: All The Time

Best of 2012

Song: All The Time
Artist: Diamond Rings
Album: Free Dimensional




Continued evidence that I've increasingly fallen apart from general critical thought, I really really loved the new Diamond Rings album, the follow up to last years "Special Affections," which I just couldn't get into, yet was a critical darling... and yet the follow up isn't as much so.  (head scratch)

"Free Dimensional" is a straight-up 80's throwback with deadpan delivery and hooks galore.  It's the "catchiness" that seems to have put te critics off, and precisely the reason I'm digging it.  Right from the first listen, tracks like lead single "Runaway Love," "All The Time," and "I'm Just Me" grabbed me with their catchy urgency.

The album as a whole has a great modern/retro feel, one that I feel I'm still just really getting into to.  I didn't realize until this AM that it wasn't considered as good as the debut... what can you do?  (well, you should obvs take my word for it.)

"Runaway Love" and "All The Time" are two of the best songs of the year, and would highly recommend the album if you like both.

Who listens to critics anyhow?  Certainly not Nicki Minaj fans...

(unfair dig)

Enjoy!

All The Time


I'm Just Me
Runaway Love

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Best of 2012: Wild Ones

Best of 2012

Song: Wild Ones
Artist: Flo Rida
Album: Wild Ones




I know right?

So... it is absolutely arguable that Flo Rida, and his music, are terrible.  I know I know I know.  And certainly a song in the looooong string of "in da club" songs we've been pummeled with can't possibly be anywhere near the years best right?  Listen, I understand... maybe you're right.

It was with absolute guilty pleasure that I fess'd up when I realized I liked two bloody Flo Rida songs in a row.  And at that point, "Wild One" has sort of alluded me.  I know I'd heard it, but it wasn't really until after "Let it Roll" that I really got to listen, despite loving Sia.  But with a chorus SO empty, why on earth was I finding myself hitting the replay button so often?

Well, the reason is, "Wild Ones" is one of the best pop songs of the year.  It's absolutely mesmerizing and more so because lyrically, it's seemingly totally empty.  And yet, when Sia sings "I want to shut down the club, with yoooouuuuuuu," it comes across like a heart-wrenching confessional of the highest order.  Seriously.

And you know... Flo Rida is actually a pretty skilled rapper.  Have you tried to rap along to him?  It ain't easy.  I've thought about finding a girl to do this karaoke... and yet, there's a good chance I'll make a complete fool of myself.  He's fast.  Really fast.

I understand, reputation at stake and all that.  Whatever... I'm a "Wild Ones."  One of the best songs of 2012.  Incredible intoxicated.

Enjoy.

Wild Ones
Whistle

Good Feeling

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Best of 2012: Get a Job

Best of 2012

Song: Get a Job
Artist: Gossip
Album: A Joyful Noise




In retrospect, it's odd that I only highlighted "Perfect World" from the Gossip's 2012 album "A Joyful Noise."  It's a great song, maybe a little too much like "Heavy Cross," but the point is, the album has a handful of going-to-be-classic Gossip songs on it.  And when I go gaga for something (wink-wink) I usually hammer y'all with it.

"Music for Men," Gossip's last album made my list of best records of 2009 and possibly the only reason "A Joyful Noise" doesn't make my album list this year is that it's just not as good as that record... but it's still pretty great.

Unfortunately the cross-over hit still seems to allude the band, despite bringing it time and time again.  Second single "Move in the Right Direction" was exactly that, a fun, pulsating, catchy, pure-Gossip slice of dancepop and one of my most played tracks of the year.  I loved it.  Yet, no1curr.  Nobody.

Though when I got the album, the undoubted highlight was "Get a Job," with the anthemic, working-class line; "I'd love to stay and party, but I gotta go to work."  It should be played at every Sunday night party around 11 PM.  How perfect?  Yet the band/record label stopped at the second single... this would have been the perfect third.  I've been digging the Peter Rauhofer remix as well... I'm surprised it hasn't been remixed more thus far.

Also loved the midtempo "Casualties of War" and the 90's sounding "Get Lost," which is another gem and album highlight.

Not an amazing record but again, worth listening to.  I still feel the band hasn't made THE album yet, and hope that despite their best efforts, they don't get frustrated they haven't broke wider and stop.  They continue to move in the right directions for me.

Enjoy.

Get a Job
Move in the Right Direction
Get Lost

Friday, January 04, 2013

Best of 2012: Memory of the Future

Best of 2012

Song: Memory of the Future
Artist: Pet Shop Boys
Album: Elysium




Less we take the Pet Shop Boys for granted, it's important to note that even on just "good" albums, the Boys manage to write a couple classics worth noting.  While yes, I'm a fan, they do manage to be doing it better than just about anybody else and keep releasing quality albums with should-have-been-huge tracks that beg for a wider audience.

"Elysium" was a much more quiet affair than the much more pop predecessor "Yes" and yet it's touchstones, the classic "Behavior" and the overlooked relatively new classic "Release" are just better in the end.  But again, even when the Boys do just good, they still deliver some serious gold.

On their 11th studio album the boys have concocted at least two classics, second single "Leaving" which opened the record which I highlighted earlier this year, and current single "Memory of the Future," which is one of the most touching love songs I've heard them do.  Missing the biting sarcasm and arched-brow wit that runs throughout the record (and possible reason I don't connect as much) "Future" is a touch of Pet Shop mystery with a nice dose of straight-forward yearning emotion.  It's not exactly "Home and Dry," but it's bloody close.

To be clear, if you're a fan, "Elysium" is necessary, required listening.  If casual, get "Leaving" and "Future," ad the rest you might like.

Long live the Pet Shop Boys!

Enjoy.

Memory of the Future
Leaving
Face Like That

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Best of 2012: Sad

Best of 2012

Song: Sad
Artist: Elton John vs. PNAU
Album: Good Morning to the Night




This album almost made it into my top 5 records of the year but fell just short.  So while it's in my 'favorite songs, not albums' category in my picks for the best of 2012, it's really the album that I'm praising here... though "Sad" is, in fact, one of my favorite songs of the year.

Garnering Elton with his first number one UK album in 22 years, Australian act PNAU took vocals from John songs from 1970-1976 and remixed them into new compositions.  The result is a dreamy, atmospheric album that sounds both modern and completely classic.  Given that the songs are composed from as many as sixteen different tracks with lines taken here and there give them an obtuse spin, yet they are lyrically so poetic that it comes across as more mysterious than maddening.

And as mentioned, "Sad" is a great little song, melancholy and wistful yet slightly uplifting.  I do recommend the entre record though, it's a great soundscape that's good for the morning... and the night.

Enjoy.

Sad
Pheonix
Foreign Fields

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Best of 2012: I'm Addicted

Best of 2012

Happy New Year!

The end of last year was a little hairy, and I knew I had to start thinking about the best music of the year and yet, like in years past, I came away a little disappointed as it seemed that music just wasn't so exciting this past year.  And then I comb through the music I've gotten this year and realize that there really was some great stuff out there.  (I do this every year.)

If I'm pressed to make a blanket statement about the state of music in 2012, I'd say for WeCastMusic it was the year I threw my hands up and completely gave way to female lead dancepop, it was a year of singles more than albums, and despite my hand-ringing... there was some great stuff.

This year I'm not going for the comprehensive list, if I've already highlighted a track this year I'm not retreading.  I've narrowed down just five albums I've thought worthy, and the rest are songs that I didn't highlight as I most likely picked another track, let they've been on constant repeat.  No  specific order.

Here's to 2012 WeCast style, and as always...

Enjoy!

Song: I'm Addicted
Artist: Madonna
Album: M.D.N.A.



So I thought "M.D.N.A." was kind of a bust.  Maybe it's just the inflated expectation I've come to give new Madonna that doomed it to underwhelming status but it's certainly not her best.  The single choices were pretty head-scratching, and while it seemed that the concept of the record was to cover points of her amazing career with new tracks, it just reminded you more of past glories where she's done it better.  I saw her show and walked away disappointed which I attributed to stadium-shrinking, but again... it's gotten rave reviews.  I could be out of step.

THAT said, I did listen to this thing quite a bit in retrospect and one track was an unquestionable winner... the future-sleaze grind that is "I'm Addicted."  Instead of the genre-hopping we got, I'd wished "M.D.N.A." was an album full of the future-sounding "I'm Addicted."  It's hypnotic, infectious, and the one track that actually felt like it fit with the word play of the album title.  It's really amazing.

I don't know where I want Madonna to go next as while I love love "I'm Addicted" it is starting to feel like she can't keep up with this stuff much longer.  I'm falling for the ageist bullshit I was raging about before the album came out.  But the fact is, if "M.D.N.A." had been better, I probably would be going on and on about why Madonna should NEVER stop.

And really, she shouldn't.

So not a great record, but here are the best moments on M.D.N.A.

I'm Addicted
I Fucked Up
Gang Bang