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Best of the 00s: 50 Cent, American Analog Set & Babyshambles

Posted by July 17th, 2010 No Comments »

Best of the 00s: Gabe Joins the 21st Century
Part 7: 50 Cent, American Analog Set & Babyshambles 

Nada Co-founders Matt and Gabe are listening to 197 of the music press’s picks for “best albums of the 00s” for a series called Gabe Joins the 21st Century.

50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin
#37 on the Rolling Stone list

Gabe: My hip hop credentials are non-existent. I love singles in a social or party type setting, but never spent a lot of personal time even with the artists I love, notable exceptions being De La Soul, Eminem, and most of all Outkast. So for what little it’s worth, I think Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ is a decent successor to albums like The Chronic and Doggystyle.  Singles like “In da Club” and “P.I.M.P” are as fun as you would expect, but after a few listens I was surprised at how few tracks I was skipping. I can’t tell you about 50’s “flow,” but his voice is cool and the music sounds great loud. All of which left Mr. Whitebread Lawyer on the receiving end of numerous double takes from the young parking garage attendants at the building where I work. Grade: LIKE.

Matt: How I managed to get to this point without knowingly hearing a 50 Cent song is a bit of a mystery, considering the Queens native has gone eight times platinum over the past decade. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is a good gangsta rap album that carries forward the tradition of his compadres Dre, Snoop and ‘Em without attempting to advance it. Not a super memorable record, but it seems perfectly suitable for rollin’, wildin’ and chillin’ at the crib. And, of course, cracker lawyers commuting downtown from the suburbs in their modest VWs. Grade: LIKE

American Analog Set - Promise of LoveAmerican Analog Set – Promise of Love
#18 on Nada’s list

Gabe: These moody melodies would have been at home on MTV’s 120 Minutes back in the day. Highlights like “Fool Around” and “Hard to Find” could easily have filled out a set of Cure and Echo & the Bunnymen videos. The songs here are just unique enough that I can refrain from the obvious joke – “I liked them better the first time when they were called New Order.” Although I do think it’s fair to say that Promise of Love is a pretty safe bet for Peter Hook fans.  I actually love listening this album, but the songs don’t stay with me afterwards. Grade: LIKE

Matt: Here’s what I said back in 2003 in our piece on our favorite albums of that year.

“Listening to Promise of Love is like renting a good HBO series and watching the whole season on a Sunday afternoon. The first episode (or in our case, song) might not have enough action going on to provide the instant gratification you’ve come to expect in television drama, but it’s interesting enough to warrant a second episode. By the time that one’s done you’ve got a relationship going with some of the characters and you throw in disc 3 because you’re curious about what direction a certain storyline is gonna take.

After a few more episodes, you start noticing things that were too subtle to command your attention when they originally surfaced. In fact, you might have even forgotten that broadcast television spent years programming you to expect every TV drama to neatly resolve its main conflict in exactly 44 minutes. Then, just as you’ve grown content with juggling complex subplots and gaining a deeper understanding of the show’s characters – WHAMMO! Several of those long story arcs come together all at once. It simultaneously catches you off guard while feeling pleasantly familiar, and you can’t help but reach for the remote to make sure you didn’t miss any of the factors that contributed to this extremely gratifying pay-off.” Grade: LOVE

Babyshambles - Down in Albion

Babyshambles – Down in Albion
#35 on the NME list

Gabe: Difficult album for me to review. Shambles is a pretty fair description. Down in Albion is all over the place.  The song “Albion” is a magnificent invocation of Englishness in the best tradition of the Kinks, “Fuck Forever” is a bar anthem that could pass for an Oasis track except for it’s way too smart and punky, and many of the songs flash that old Clash defiance. But the whole is less than the sum of its parts. There is a ton of filler in these 16 tracks, and after numerous listens I found myself skipping to track 12 (“Albion”) more often than not.  Come to think of it, this is actually just the kind of uneven but occasionally brilliant album you would expect from a junkie genius. Grade: LIKE.

Matt: In general, heroin seems to be pretty good medicine when it comes to making compelling rock music (See Rolling Stones. See also Earle, Steve. See also Los Halos. See also Reed, Lou.) Its a wonder, then, that I’ve paid so little mind to tabloid junky celeb Pete Doherty and his acclaimed band Libertines. Babyshambles was a side project that would not have crossed my radar without a nudge from Snizz. I too had a difficult time mustering up an opinion on Down in Albion. It’s primarily a mid-tempo British soul rock affair, akin to fellow Brits Pulp and the Verve, but it’s also got the reggae influence and “fuck it all” spirit of British punk. Most of the songs are actually kind of boring, but the single “Fuck Forever” is worth the price of admission alone. Grade: LIKE

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