12/26/02 12:35 AM
Here're my picks for best albums of both this year and last. As a bonus I threw in my favorite radio songs/videos for 2001 and 2002 as well.

Best of 2001
01. Aphex Twin - Drukqs
02. Radiohead - Amnesiac
03. Björk - Vespertine
04. DJ Krush - Zen
05. Saul Williams - Amethyst Rock Star
06. Plaid - Double Figure
07. Tool - Lateralus
08. Autechre - Confield
09. N*E*R*D - In Search Of... (re-recorded version posted on web site)
10. Squarepusher - Go Plastic
11. Cex - Oops, I Did It Again
12. Mogwai - Rock Action
13. Tortoise - Standards
14. Nathaniel Merriweather Presents... Lovage - Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By
15. Telefon Tel Aviv - Farrenheit Fair Enough
16. Air - 10,000 Hz Legend
17. D12 - Devils Night
18. The Silver Mount Zion Memorial Orchestra And Tra-La-La Band - Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward
19. Gorillaz - Gorillaz
20. Hood - Cold House

Best of 2002
01. Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow
02. Talib Kweli - Quality
03. DJ Shadow - The Private Press
04. Amorphous Androgynous (Future Sound Of London) - The Isness
05. Cinematic Orchestra - Every Day
06. Boards Of Canada - Geogaddi
07. Nine Inch Nails - Still
08. Common - Electric Circus
09. The Roots - Phrenology
10. Dead Prez - Turn Off The Radio: The Mixtape Volume 1
11. Venetian Snares - Winter In The Belly Of A Snake
12. Hrvåtski - Swarm & Dither
13. J-Live - All Of The Above
14. Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O.
15. Eminem - The Eminem Show
16. Amon Tobin - Out From Out Where
17. Various Artists - Red Hot + Riot
18. DJ Krush - Shinsou: The Message At The Depth
19. Beth Gibbons And Rustin' Man - Out Of Season
20. The Notwist - Neon Golden

Best singles of 2002, alphabetical order
Clipse - Grindin'
Common f/ Mary J. Blige - Come Close
Eminem - Lose Yourself
J-Live - Satisfied?
Nas f/ Jadakiss & Ludacris - Made You Look (Remix)
Nirvana - You Know You're Right
Sean Paul - Gimme The Light
Truth Hurts f/ Rakim - Addictive

Best singles of 2001, alphabetical order
Björk - Hidden Place
Björk - Pagan Poetry
Dave Navarro - Rexall
Dilated Peoples - Worst Comes To Worst
Ludacris - Rollout
Missy Elliott - Get Ur Freak On
Mogwai - My Father My King
Nas - One Mic
New Order - Crystal
Radiohead - Pyramid Song
Squarepusher - My Red Hot Car
System Of A Down - Chop Suey!
Tool - Schism

It's interesting how my favorite radio songs of the year were all hip-hop. I guess rock is in a sad state, in my opinion. Most of my favorite songs of the year weren't singles, so take this list with a grain of salt, I guess.

As for my albums of the year for 2002, I haven't heard all of nor bought Venetian Snares' Higgins Ultra Low Track Glue Funk Hits, 1972-2006. It may be worthy of the list, I don't know. A lot of other good stuff came out this year like Múm, Req, and Astrobotnia, but I bought so many albums that they didn't make it to the last 20. The N*E*R*D album was technically released in 2002 but they had it on their web site for all of 2001, so...

People that I know, instead of being creepy and reading this without telling me, email me or tell me in person what albums you liked best this year.

12/18/02 1:23 AM
Show Me! Show You! Crazy Japanese animation #1.
Banana & Shrimp Show Time! Crazy Japanese animation #2.

12/16/02 11:10 PM
A few days ago in my sociology class we were asked to present pictures of people we think are considered "cool", if not by our standards then at least by society's. I meant to bring in an Urb cover with the Neptunes but I forgot. Anyway, one of the four black girls in our class (the four together make up about half of the black female population on campus) brought in a picture of Missy Elliott. A couple of white boys started chiming in after not speaking during the beginning of the class, or even during the last few weeks of class, saying that she's not cool. They didn't say anything specific; maybe they didn't get the chance to. Before the professor asked them to elaborate, one of the white girls that seems to be friends with the black girls (who all hang out together; I can't blame them since the college is something like 98% white) tried really hard to be supportive and said that "Missy is like the female Puff Daddy!" The black girls all gave each other a disgusted look and the girl who brought in the picture just said "Uh, not really..." Not giving the rest of the class an opportunity to discuss Missy, despite devoting several minutes to Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lopez, and Jay-Z earlier, another white girl showed the class a picture of Aaron Lewis with Fred Durst. The professor, and some of the class, including all of the black girls, didn't know who Aaron Lewis was. As the girl who brought the picture explained he is the singer from Staind, and her friend chimed in with a compliment on how hot he is, as a sort of apparent revenge the girl who brought in the Missy picture started ragging on the girl and the whole "rock 'n' roll culture": when the professor asked how Aaron Lewis "got that look" the Missy girl loudly told her friend (another black girl) "Don't wash for five days!" It was kind of funny but also kind of sad how both whites and blacks perpetuate their own ignorance of each other. Personally I don't own albums by either Staind or Missy, but I have quite a lot of Missy MP3's and three or four Staind/Aaron Lewis MP3's. I know a lot of other people like both. But for those who force themselves to not listen to hip-hop or not listen to rock, and badmouth the genres and listeners despite purposely remaining ignorant, they're not helping to progress society.

Here's an interesting quote on loneliness vs. "being alone" from a friend of mine.

you have to be at peace within yourself
if YOU are your best friend (honestly) then you are never
really alone, because you have yourself to keep you company!
thats not saying having others around is not equally nice,
but you don't NEED others around to enjoy yourself, cos
you're at peace with yourself.

people like being around people who are like this (have it
together within) it's never boring just hangin with this
type of person, one on one or in a group. and the reason is,
because they are not emotional vampires.....like people who
are too needy.

it's hard to explain in this type of forum, but believe me
loneliness has everything to do with feelings you have
within YOURSELF, not others providing something......but a
lot of people don't see it that way.

too many people take take.....and never give......it's the
takers that are lonely.

Good perspective!

12/6/02 6:06 PM
The Roots: Phrenology
It's a dope album, but it's not as engaging as their previous two albums (the classics Illadelph Halflife and Things Fall Apart).

The band falls on their faces at some points, although not too bad. I think the orchestrated outro James Poyser composed for "Break You Off" is too muddled and forced sounding to work. It's not that great a melody, and combined with the d'n'b drumming from ?uesto a minute before it, "Break You Off" becomes even more overtly an intended but failed sequel to "You Got Me." I do like the strings and the drumming but they don't work as well as intended.

I wish Phrenology sounded more "live," since The Roots really are a band. All of the songs that were meant for Black Thought's Masterpiece Theater solo album come off way too programmed and slick on the album. They definitely took the Radiohead Kid A/Amnesiac approach to this album, integrating electronics and working on songs in teams of two or three members instead of the whole group. On songs like "Rock You" and "Pussy Galore" I'm still listening for live drums and bass because it sounds programmed. Phrenology and the band would have benefited a lot from Thought's solo album being released because they wouldn't feel obligated to include these songs (although they are excellent), as I'm sure they wrote tons of new songs as a group in the three years since the last album.

I could've done without the WAOK(ay) Wake Up Call. Anyone who knows The Roots already knows they're well educated in hip-hop. This interlude was wholly unnecessary at this point in their career. A "? vs. Scratch" would have been more entertaining, if not more predictable.

It is highly experimental mainstream hip-hop, probably the most leftfield album of the genre since Stankonia. Check out the band doing their best impression of the Sun Ra Arkestra on
the second half of "Water" (featuring abstract jazz guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer) or the vintage black rock feel of "The Seed" with cody chessnuTT. The album's full of great
songs and they flow really well. The production and mixing is also impeccable. My favorite songs at the moment are the re-written "Thought @ Work," "Water," and the hilarious hidden techno song "Thirsty!" The whole album is growing on me though.

The recent hip-hop album I like much more than Phrenology is Quality by Talib Kweli (who appears on two new Roots songs: "Rolling With Heat" and "Rhymes & Ammo"). Quality is as classic as Black Star and Black On Both Sides, I don't care what you picky, nostalgic-ass hip-hop fans say. Not a bad song on there if you're into more genres than hip-hop (if not then you'll want to skip the Eddie Kendricks cover in the middle of the album). Kanye West really proves himself a great producer with all three tracks he contributed: "Good To You," "Guerrilla Monsoon Rap," and "Get By." All of the album's producers come correct on the album, as does Kweli, dropping astounding verses to satisfy all facets of his fanbase; world and national politics, urban plight, partying, gun ownership, romance, children, and hip-hop music are all addressed thoughtfully on the album. I can't begin picking a favorite because every song is great, but when I first listened, "Get By," "The Proud," "Where Do We Go," and "Guerrilla Monsoon Rap" hit me the hardest.

Considering I was able to get the album for $8.99 from bestbuy.com, I highly recommend people pick this album up as well as the new Roots.

What do you make of cybersquatting laws and intellectual property rights? I think it's bullshit, myself. OK, so obviously people that buy [name of famous person].com are exploiting that person's fame; but so what? No one person owns (or should own) the exclusive rights to their name. It's not like there's only one Julia Roberts out of the six billion people on earth. The thought that she and other celebs deserve to have web sites that were registered (and thus paid for) by other people well in advance (months, years) on the merit of their fame alone is ridiculous, not to mention insulting to us working class stiffs who don't wield any power that we can use for naught. What's to stop an unemployed man named John Smith in Oregon for suing over the rights to johnsmith.com? The fact that he's not a member of the aristocracy. The rich have it so good already, they need to stop bitching.

Lastly, I just wanted to paste these Mr. Lif lyrics courtesy OHHLA.com because they mean a lot to me. Not the most intelligent or eloquent way I've heard these ideas conveyed, but very evocative and engaging, and people need to realize the things he's saying are true.

Artist: Mr. Lif
Album:  Emergency Rations
Song:   Home of the Brave
Typed by: Lucas.Lorenz@colorado.edu

Now let's talk about self expression, true expression
Open your minds without question
No doubt, tell me what you're thinking about
Let's try to set aside pride and clout
Can you believe I feel the same exact way you do?
You truly do believe these modern ways have fooled you
Systems exist so we never meet each other
Pretty soon from now that I'll long the word "brother"
And that's true if they see you walking with a crew
If you don't know, that means more than two
I'll tell you what they'll do
They'll pull over, hunt you over
Kick your ass, nightstick to your shoulder
I know it's unjust, as if it wasn't enough
If you try to fight back they're locking your ass up
And Chuck already told you that a cell is hell
But I'm waiting for the phone so I'll sit for a spell
Call the guard, tell him I'm a piece of God
With no beliefs in his streets or his boulevards
I eat, read so my mental is hard
And the heat from my anger just melted the bars
They reach for their guns so I put them to sleep
Break the chains and put the shoes back on my feet
He's on the loose with no discernible scars or marks
Just the mind of Mandela and the heart of Rosa Parks
So I dip, time to see the governor and mayor
Tell them life ain't fair and see if they care
Well they do, but only if they are the heir
So they appear to have a heart and make a flair
But they haven't done shit for us and that's a fact
Their only function is to keep the funny money where it's at
And it causes pain, stress
Ask me if we need a different way of life (yes)

Headline: Bush steals the presidency
He needs the backing of the media what could the remedy be?
The country's headed for recession reminiscent of the Great Depression
Are lives worth a world of power?  Easy question
Planes hit the towers and the Pentagon
Killing those the government wasn't dependant on
It's easy to control the scared so they keep us in fear
With their favorite Middle Eastern demon named Bin Laden this year
Bush disguises blood lust as patriotism
Convincing the living to love "Operation Let's Get 'Em"
But when he realized we don't support their attacks
They needed something to distract, hmm, anthrax
This further demonizes Afghanis
So Americans cheer while we kill their innocent families
And what better place to start a war
To build a pipeline to get the oil that they had wanted before
America supported the Taliban
To get Russia out of Afghanistan
That's how they got the arms in
They're in a war against the Northern Alliance
And we can't build a pipeline in hostile environments
Here's what your history books won't show:
You're a dead man for fucking with American dough
They killed several birds with one stone
While you're at home with anti-terrorism up in your dome
But my eyes are wide open and my TV is off
Great, 'cause I save on my electricity cost
And you can wave that piece of shit flag if you dare
But they killed us because we've been killing them for years

I may as well print the lyrics from Kweli's "The Proud" here as well since they're on the same topic. They're not 100% correct but you get the idea.
Artist: Talib Kweli
Album:  Quality
Song:   The Proud
Typed by: eternalreflection7901@msn.com, dj.flash@pobox.com

[Talib Kweli]
The proud
Stand tall or don't stand at all, c'mon
Uhh, yeah
Break it down
What we do?

We survive, it's more than pride
We stay alive, ready to ride

[Chorus] - repeat through intro

[Intro: Talib Kweli]
One two, one two yo
Aight.. put it down yo
June 21, 2001
Timothy McVeigh is executed
And the country breathe a sigh of relief
Goodness prevails over evil, it seems
Somehow when he's gone, we feel safer
Little do we know

[Verse One]
Today the paper say Timothy McVeigh's in hell
So everything's okay and all must be well
I remember Oklahoma when they put out the blaze
And put Islamic terrorist bombing, on the front page
It's like saying only gays get AIDS, propaganda
Like saying the problem's over when they locked that man up
Wrong! It's just the beginning, the first inning
Battle for America's soul, the devil's winning
The President is Bush, the Vice President's a Dick
So a whole lot of fuckin is what we gon' get
They don't wanna raise the babies so the election is fixed
That's why we don't be fuckin with politics
They bet on that, parents fought and got wet for that
Hosed down, bit by dogs, and got blacks into house arrest for that
It's all good except for that - we still poor
Money, power and respect is what we kill for, for real

[Chorus] - repeat through interlude

August 4, 2001
A drunken police officer mows down an entire family in Brooklyn
The judge lets him go with no bail
It reminds us, of just how worthless our lives are to the justice system
I struggle, to explain the situation to my son, it's hard

[Verse Two]
Niggaz with knowledge is more dangerous than than niggaz with guns
They make the guns easy to get and try to keep niggaz dumb
Target the gangs and graffiti with the Prop 21
I already know the deal but what the fuck do I tell my son?
I want him livin right, livin good, respect the rules
He's five years old and he still thinkin cops is cool
How do I break the news that when he gets some size
He'll be percieved as a threat or see the fear in they eyes
It's in they job description to terminate the threat
So 41 shots to the body is what he can expect
The precedent is set, don't matter if he follow the law
I know I'll give my son pride and make him swallow it all (damn!)
Fuck the pigs! I think the pigs killed Big and 'Pac too
If they didn't they know who did, they got to!
Who they serve and protect, nigga not you
Cops shot off of ten G's but they got glocks too
Let you protect yourself, or better yet respect yourself
Straight into the hospital is where you gotta check yourself
They be gettin tips from snitches and rival crews
Doin them favors so they workin for the drug dealers too
Just business enforcers with hate in they holsters
Shoot you in the back, won't face you like a soldier
Kurt Loder asked me what I say to a dead cop's wife
Cops kill my people everyday, that's life

[Chorus] - repeat through final interlude

[Final Interlude]
September 11, 2001
Terrorists attack the Pentagon and the World Trade Center
Kills thousand and permanently scars America's false sense of security
We see the best examples of humanity in the face of the worst
As fire fighters, police officers, rescue workers
and volunteers of all sorts, fight to save lives
The world will never be the same again

[Verse Three]
My heart go out to everybody at Ground Zero
Red, black, yellow, white and brown heroes
It's more complicated than black and white
To give your own life is the greatest sacrifice
But it's hard for me to walk down the block
Seeing rats and roaches, crack viles and 40 ounce posters
People broken down from years of oppression
Become patriots when they way of life is threatened
It's a hard conversation to have
We lost kids, moms and dads, people ready to fight for the flag
Damn, when did shit get this bad?
America kill the innocent too, the cycle of violence is sad
Damn!  Welcome to the world, we here
We've been at, war for years but it's much more clear (yeah)
We got to face what lies ahead
Fight for our truth and freedom and, ride for the dead

[Chorus] - repeat to end

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