Pin It
Favorite

CD Reviews 

Jay-Z & r & & r & American Gangster & r & & r & 5 Stars & r & & r & American Gangster towers above all other 2007 hip-hop releases, unimpeachably reinstating Jay-Z as Best Rapper Alive.





Last year, fans fretted when Jay's uninspired retirement-breaker Kingdom Come signaled an ill-advised turn toward "adult-contemporary."





For whatever reason, Jay-Z (the king of cross-marketing) throws commercial viability out the window and kills the ghost of his infamous "dumb down for dollars" quip with 15 tracks of raw soul and death-proof breath control. No formulaic pop hits here -- "No Hook" has no hook; on "Party Life," Jay pauses in a moment of clarity and admires Diddy's gorgeous molasses-speed beat. "I don't want it to stop... for real," he says, encouraging the listener to "get into your comfort zone" before commencing unconscious freestyle rhymes, riding the track into four-minute territory.





Vigorously challenging and inimitably effortless, American Gangster is an American classic.





-- ANDREW MATSON





Download: "Success"





Beirut


The Flying Club Cup


4 Stars


Zach Condon is still a boy genius. While Beirut's latest album, The Flying Club Cup, doesn't continue the oft-praised Balkan influence of Gulag Orkestar -- Balkan's first -- Condon trades in his marches militaires for airy orchestral pop. The French phrase is no accident -- the album wears its Gallic influences on its sleeve.





Featuring string arrangements by Owen Pallett, who you might remember as handling such matters for, oh, say, the Arcade Fire, tracks like "Forks and Knives" lilt and soar on Stradivarius wings. Condon's voice takes similar flight, with his signature vibrato often lost in the mix as just another instrument. But you never listened to Beirut because Condon was an amazing lyricist -- you listened because a year and a half ago Pitchfork Media compared him to Neutral Milk Hotel.





Jeff Mangum he may not be, but The Flying Club Cup is still a great sophomore album from a talented 21-year-old. Cue the bitter envy.





--JEFF ECHERT





Download: "Guyamas Sonora"
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • The Ties That Bind
  • The Ties That Bind

    Why public transit needs your support at the ballot box
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • Rehumanize Yourself
  • Rehumanize Yourself

    Publisher's Note
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • A Low Carb(on) Diet
  • A Low Carb(on) Diet

    Like every state, Washington needs to reduce carbon emissions — but leaders in Olympia won't help us cut back
    • Apr 1, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue
OR7 — The Journey

OR7 — The Journey @ Bing Crosby Theater

April 3-4

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Why Idaho kids don't go to college

    And what that means for the Gem State
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • New Blood

    Candidates are launching bids for Spokane City Council and could bring big changes to city government
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


Comment


Publisher's Note


marijuana


long reads


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation