Bombs Over Providence
Liberty’s Ugly Best Friend
Compiled over the last year and finally distributed nationally by Universal, Bombs Over Providence’s first EP clocks in at just over 20 minutes.
Filled with witty lyrics exploring politics and the social mindset of university students, the songs will make you think more about the world around you. Topics range from government inaction (“Walkerton, Workfare and the Wusses Who Watched”) to students who “could be more than 100 bodies silent” (a lyric from “I’ve Got Your Revolution Right Here, Wiseass”). The songs make wondrous use of rhythm and chorus and flow together beautifully.
The more you know about the subject, the more you can appreciate the various literary and cultural references that pepper the lyrics. Like most contemporary punk albums, this EP contains its share of views on international politics, like on the track “May Cruise Missile Diplomacy Make Us Truthful, Good & Mild.”
In case you haven’t already noticed, all of the songs have obscenely long titles. It’s not clear if this is a ploy to get people to look at the album for a longer time while browsing at a music store, or a subtle message telling people who don’t like to read to stay away.
The Inc/Def Jam
A year after releasing the worst album of his career, the Rule is back with a surprisingly good disc in hopes of getting his career back on track. Ja wisely decides to set his feud with Aftermath aside and focus on more important aspects of life.
The opening track shows the harder, grimier side of Ja Rule that original fans miss. “Last of the Mohicans” serves listeners a bangin’ track with a catchy hook. Rule comes off with some hot lines like “the world is blind, so I gotta spit in Braille” just to prove that he hasn’t fallen off that lyrical pedestal he once was on. The only thing that doesn’t really make sense is when he says he’s “not really religious,” yet has two crosses tattooed on his back.
The lead single “Wonderful,” which features R. Kelly and Ashanti, is an introspective track which has Ja asking the question which celebrities must often ponder — does she like me for what I am or for what I have? Although the song has the same repetitive formula of previous Ja Rule and Ashanti duets, it is nicely innovated this time around through the addition of R. Kelly. The beat is catchy and has the same mark of most Murder Inc. hits. However, unlike many of Ja Rule’s previous cuts, the track isn’t solely intended for the ladies.
Arguably the best song on the whole album, “New York” once again brings back a sample of the real lyrical heat Ja is capable of. Such lines as “preferably the four pound slugs flying at the speed of sound/ trying to catch the ears of niggaz that’s runnin’ they mouths/ I might get my Brooklyn niggaz to run in your mouth” make you wonder if Ja only does tracks like “Mesmerize” because he knows that is what will land him the new Rolls Royce Phantom. Fat Joe and Jadakiss are featured on this track and both deliver stellar verses on par with Rule’s.
If Ja left out some of the filler that dominates the latter half of the record, he would have a critically acclaimed album. Giving the entire disc a spin, one can conclude the album is good and that Ja Rule has officially made his comeback.
With a little time off after helping make Through The Five Boroughs with the three Beastie Boys emcees Adrock, Mike D and MCA, MixMaster Mike has hit again with a solo album that is sure to get turntable enthusiasts keyed up.
As is his style, Mike samples everything from old radio and TV clips to children’s choirs (“Tranzmission”) to get that unmistakable sound which has sold so many records for the Beasties.
The record picks up slowly with an eerie opening tune that blends into a sampled clip of a ’40s-style woman exclaiming: “Mike, do something!” Mike, no doubt taking her advice, spins away 12 more tracks that are so full of energy that you’ll feel tired after you’re done. Tracks such as “MJ-12 Strike” and “Blow Dart” are the kind of tunes that could turn you into a scratch fan.
Although the cover art looks like it was drawn by that creepy guy who doodles his way through your psych class, and the title leaves few wondering if it will be the next White Album, if you like a classic scratch album or enjoy listening to Beastie Boys instrumentals, then this is the disc for you.
Oh yeah, and make sure you stick around after the last track for an interesting greeting from Mike D.
Dead Celebrity Status
Mix some crazy lyrics with unbelievable DJ talent and you get a reputable Canadian band. Dead Celebrity Status — formerly Project Wyze — has regrouped with DJ Dopey, the world champion in the DMC turntabling competition, and produced some sick tunes for rockers and hip-hoppers alike.
As teens, Project Wyze opened for Public Enemy, and the added years of experience make Blood Music a prime disc. The first single, “We Fall, We Fall” is backed by Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins from Jane’s Addiction. It’s not every day that a ‘new’ group of Canadian musicians can call up artists of that calibre.
Other artists that help out include Joss Stone and DJ Lethal, to name a few. There is also an impressive performance from Bif Naked — head of Her Royal Majesty Records and a popular artist in her own right — with whom the band is currently touring.
Singing and rapping about politics and mass media, lead singer Yassen Taalat’s ad-libs can send shivers down listeners’ spines. Taalat drops powerful verses in “In This Day and Age,” rhyming about his Muslim culture, 9/11 and false accusations in the media.
Dead Celebs seems exceptionally educated about mainstream society. The band discusses pop culture in a satirical way and allows listeners to see issues in a different light.
As one lyric states, “Like the hands of Michael Jackson’s plastic surgeon, change your music to a different person. I took his face/ changed it/ replaced it surgically — gave it a facelift. Now this is new shit. It’s called Blood Music.”
For Dead Celebrity Status, music is like blood — something they can’t live without.
This album can be summed up (no pun intended) with just one word: kickass!
Named after Chuck Pelletier, a United Nations volunteer who saved the band from gunfire while filming a documentary in the Congo, Chuck has a more mature sound and lyrics than the band’s first three albums.
The CD starts with the appropriately titled “Intro,” which consists of soft guitar chords that quickly fade into an explosion entitled “No Reason.” One of the best tracks, this song is compiled of a fast but simple beat that will knock you down while still getting you pumped up. The current single, “We’re All To Blame,” marks the first occurrence of two notable elements on this album: the integration of a more heavy metal sound, as well as more mature lyrics.
Another favourite, “Angels With Dirty Faces,” is a surprisingly dark song made up of angst-filled lyrics. However, it is a nice progression from the previous confused teen-pop songs found on earlier albums.
Not to be forgotten, the pop-punk side of Sum 41 is still present in such songs as “Some Say.”
Nevertheless, the true magic of this CD lies in the more mature and evolved sound of such tracks as “Open Your Eyes,” “I’m Not The One” and “There’s No Solution.”
Overall, Chuck shows not only an improvement in the complexity of the music, but also a large step toward maturity for the band itself. This CD proves that the band is moving away from the “angry, trouble-making teen” image.
Though it is not an easy transition, Sum 41 does it brilliantly, all the while keeping the flare that made the rockers a hit to begin with.