Pin It

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.


Download: "Success"


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.


Download: "Guyamas Sonora"
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Children Will Listen
  • Children Will Listen

    How art speaks to life in this particular moment
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • So Here We Are
  • So Here We Are

    Here's hoping the new president fills the office with the grace and sense of tradition it requires
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Get Big Money Out
  • Get Big Money Out

    Letters to the Editor
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action

People Rise Up! A Community Invitation to Action @ Community Building

Sat., Jan. 21, 2-5 p.m.

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
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

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

Most Commented On

  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • Positive Protest

    Why peaceful action should be understood as a point of national pride
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment





green zone

Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Tragedy of John Wayne
  • Tragedy of John Wayne

    Why the John Wayne Pioneer Trail is worth saving
    • Oct 29, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation