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Best of the 00s: Lil Wayne, Loretta Lynn & Los Halos

Posted by November 10th, 2012 No Comments »

Best of the 00s: Gabe Joins the 21st Century
Part 26: Lil Wayne, Loretta Lynn & Los Halos
By Gabe Baker & Matt Ashworth

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.

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
Rolling Stone’s #32

Matt: I try to avoid reading too much about ‘Lil Wayne because I fear it may tarnish my opinion of his music, and I really, really like my two encounters with his music so far: Tha Carter III and live footage from Wayne’s appearance on Saturday Night Live. Tha Carter III is weird and funny with cool samples and funny lines like “I call ’em April babies / cause they fools” or “swagger tighter than a yeast infection” from “Mr. Carter.” Wayne’s got an odd cadence to his rapping with lots of pathos is his southern drawl. Some of the songs are a touch corny and “A Milli” is just plain annoying, but the album stays interesting throughout its 16 tracks, and the spare piano in “Please Don’t Shoot me Down” has the emotional power of Prince circa Sign O’ the Times. (Say that reminds me: did you see this live footage of Prince performing Purple Rain live Gabe found? Incredible.) Anyhow, with ‘Lil Wayne I think I’ll avoid the back catalogue and just tune in from this point forward. Tha Carter III was the album that put him on the map after all, at least critically, earning high marks from a host of rags including the Guardian, Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and dueting with the Jizza showed that he’d made it commercially. Timing for jumping on the Lil Wayne train couldn’t be better either, as Weezy just dropped his new jam, appropriately titled Tha Carter IV. Grade: Like

Gabe: My version (Target deluxe extended) has 23 tracks and a running time longer than the last movie I saw in the theater. (Kung Fu Panda II. It was a hoot.) Which makes for more bitches, blowjobs, and boasts than you can shake a stick at. Which could get boring, except for Wayne’s wit. Like:

Man, I got Summer hating on me cause I’m hotter then the Sun
Got Spring hating on me cause I ain’t never sprung
Winter hating on me cause I’m colder than ya’ll
And I would never, I would never, I would never Fall
I’m being hated by the seasons
So fuck ya’ll who hating for no reason

Plus, there’s tracks like “Dontgetit” that call out hypocrisy on the right (disparate sentencing for crack and powder) and the left (the Rev Al Sharpton). Although I would have hated Tha Carter III on a cassette tape (way too much fast forwarding), I’ve got to say I love it on the iPod. Grade: Love

Van Lear RoseLoretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose
Paste  Magazine’s #48

Matt: My wife use to play this when it first came out. I loved it then and it still sounds great now. Loretta and team wrote some great songs, she’s got a rich, distinctive voice and this album features production from my rock and roll idol Jack White. It’s obviously cool that she’s got a great song about Portland, “Family Tree” is an especially brutal cheatin’ heart song, and “Have Mercy On Me” with Jack on guitar just rules. All of that said, this still might be a touch boring for me, especially on “Women’s Prison” and “Mrs. Leroy Brown” near the end. But I won’t mind if this article reminds my wife to start playing it again. Grade: Like

Gabe: Van Lear Rose is like a hyped foodie destination. It sounds enticing, but I never enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. Sure, the grilled dourade with corona beans, taggiasca olives and watermelon radish sounds intriguing, but it turns out that I prefer buffalo wings. So, too, the idea of Loretta Lynn hooking up with Jack White. The jacked up (heh) guitar sounds great with Loretta’s amazing voice, but in the end it is still too traditional country for me to love. Grade: Like

Leaving VALos Halos – Leaving VA’s #9

Gabe:  It’s hard to pigeonhole Los Halos. The songs on Leaving VA are moody, slow building guitar jams – they sound cinematic, dramatic, sappy, lovestruck and droney, like they could be used in a montage scene in an indie coming of age film.  A drum machine is utilized. Three tracks absolutely kill. “Reason to Live” is a stomper. It gets the most inspirational award.  “Back Home” is a country rocker, where the band ingeniously references Dylan both directly in the lyrics and indirectly with a perfect Dylanesque harmonica solo. The closer, “Leaving VA,” is an epic 10:00 tale of love and depression, anchored by what sounds like a Casio keyboard. It’s way cooler then I’m making it sound. Grade: Love

Matt: It’s difficult for me to explain how much this album means to me without sounding like a crazy person. Confidently, I can say that it’s one of my top five pieces of recorded rock and roll music in history. Eight songs of perfection. 30 minutes. I could go song by song starting with “Lionness,” still one of the most gorgeous songs I’ve ever heard, delicate and hypnotic yet still boasting huge moments like the “It’s like a shotgun, to the heart’ line. Or I could describe the perfect chorus in the chugging “You Make it All So Hard.” But I will just implore you to buy this band’s entire catalogue immediately (Spotify’s greatest failure at this point in its rapid development is that it doesn’t have this great Philadephia band’s four excellent recordings in its catalogue.) Three albums and one EP came out on now-defunct Seattle label Loveless Records helmed by the most amazing eye for new musical talent in the Western World, KEXP’s John Richards. Unfortunately, here’s no real live footage on Youtube to speak of, given the band’s early 2000s tours just preceded the time where every show is pretty much caught on some quality of video. It’s like they magically created four great records and then disappeared. Grade: LOVE

More in this series:

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