Showing posts with label childish gambino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label childish gambino. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 3, 2019 (VIDEO)

Honestly, it was a tumultuous last evening, but I'm happy to be highlighting it all the same.

Next up... still not sure what I'm covering, but we'll have to see. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - august 3, 2019 I the only one feeling a bit of anticlimax this week? Yeah, we'll be getting to the biggest story in a second - and make no mistake, it's huge, and the sort of story that only serves to make my predictions look questionable - but it wasn't a desperate race to the end or something where the record was broken by the skin of someone's teeth. At least to me it became clear that nothing was going to seriously defeat the margin our contender racked up, and once that happened... well, it was just a matter of momentum.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 15, 2018

I think you all might be expecting me to be more angry about this album bomb than I am - given the review and how much vitriol I spewed, you'd probably think seeing it all show up here would piss me off all the more... and yet if I'm being brutally honest, in viewing the songs outside of the larger, slightly nauseating context of the record, I reckon some of them might hold up better on their own, and given that it's an album I covered at length, I'm definitely going to streamline the coverage here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 28, 2018 (VIDEO)

So bit of an overstuffed week, but it happens - I'm frankly amazed I just managed to get it out on time.

But next up... again, as I said, underground. Stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 28, 2018

And here I was thinking this week was going to be easy. Well, okay, all of that has to be put in perspective - we were going to see the continued fallout of Drake songs, but what threw me a bit was how neither Future or Meek Mill could sustain much coming out of last week, which led to a healthy crop of new arrivals that probably makes this chart as interesting as it's been in some time... for better or worse.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - may 19, 2018

So I've said a number of times that the most interesting weeks on the Hot 100 are not those of the album bombs, but the week right after, when things seem to reset to some form of equilibrium and the charts regain some sort of stability, for better or worse. And in the week following two album bombs in a row, you'd expect the recovery to be more pronounced... and then Childish Gambino unleashed 'This Is America'. And unsurprisingly, that's the much bigger story to discuss later on this show, but make no mistake, we will be talking about it, albeit with more of a focus on the song than the video.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

the top ten best hit songs of 2017 (VIDEO)

Always the one that's the most entertaining to put together, a real treat here. Enjoy!

the top ten best hit songs of 2017

So as I said in my last list, I haven't considered 2017 nearly as bad of a year as some critics have, especially when it comes to the hits. Yeah, there was a lot of stupid, misinformed, or just outright offensive garbage that clogged up the charts, and I can see if you weren't willing to dig beyond the top ten you might dispirited in the dreary trap slog, but the truth is that the songs that did break away from that sound or mold - or hell, even a few of the tracks within it - were true gems across multiple genres. Yeah, country struggled in the mainstream this year, but there was real greatness in pop, hip-hop, EDM, R&B, and even some rock-leaning tunes. I wouldn't quite say the overall quality or sheer number of hits is comparable to 2015 or 2012, but it is up there. 

And what surprised me in a great way was the truly amazing hits of this year were strong enough to maybe even reach my year-end list of my favourite songs of 2017, not just the hits! And you know, for as many obscure or weird albums as I cover and then love, this is still a great feeling, that sometimes quality does win out and rise to mainstream prominence for everyone to share, and that's good for culture everywhere! Yeah, I know some of these picks might be controversial - especially in my Honourable Mentions - but as always they debuted on the year-end Hot 100 for 2017, and I did manage to find some quality here. So let's start with the Honourable Mentions, particularly one that if you saw my worst hits last year might shock you a bit...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

video review: "awaken, my love!" by childish gambino

So this record was a trip... not precisely great, I really do wish I liked it more, but still interesting, that's for damn sure.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN and then an album that I would have ignored if not for Patreon... so stay tuned!

Monday, December 5, 2016

album review: "awaken, my love!" by childish gambino

I feel like I have a complicated relationship with Childish Gambino.

Hell, I get the feeling a lot of critics do, mostly because it's so damn rare to see an artist leap so fully formed and relentlessly talented across genres and indeed entire mediums. Whether you know him from his comedy sketches to his writing work on 30 Rock to the cult classic Community to his soon-to-be classic show Atlanta, he's a man of extraordinary talent, and that's before we get to his stand-up or his work as a musician and songwriter. 

But if I'm also being brutally honest, I feel I should like his music a lot more than I do. The odd blend of styles and production - most outside of his mixtapes which are done in-house with producer Ludwig Goransson - that are present in his music often juxtapose with lyrics that often feel intensely personal or eclectic. There's an defined artistic style and voice that's always been present, that will then veer in unexpected directions made from a pastiche of indie music, southern hip-hop, and bizarre pop culture references, all amidst a creative mind that's incredibly ambitious but also painfully self-aware. Relistening to his debut Camp and his much-lauded follow-up Because The Internet will give you plenty of evidence why Childish Gambino is a compelling presence behind the microphone as a charismatic rapper and singer... but between his cartoonish exaggerations that occasionally slide towards campiness, often masking deeper wells of rage and self-loathing, and a genuine feeling of earnestness that can either hit transcendence or deeply felt awkwardness, he comes across as the sort of precocious yet driven creator who is not afraid to aim high, overshare, hit big and miss hard. And those sorts of chances and effort are inspiring and powerful stuff, something I can relate to on a certain level - I just wish his aesthetic and craftsmanship of his sound and narratives worked better for me.

And that was my big concern going into "Awaken, My Love!" - mostly because while I admired his lead-off singles, I didn't love the sound or artistic choices. But again, I was only seeing fragments of the story, I had to hope the whole project - his shortest in some time - would have the focus and clarity to work - was I right?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 10, 2016 (VIDEO)

So this video was longer than usual... and actually really great, I dug the hell out of this! Two good weeks in a row... man, if only I had any hope we could keep this up, 2017 has some real potential to be a damn good year.

In the mean time, let's take care of old business next, shall we? Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 10, 2016

So this week was a little weird. Not just because we started getting tracks from The Weeknd earlier than expected - I'm imagining next week to be just overloaded - but we got some big surprises all over the place, including a few artists I have not thought about or talked about in years. That, at the very least promised to make things interesting - note that I didn't precisely say good, although there really was some promise here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 3, 2016 (VIDEO)

Well, this is a damn good way to start a year, I most certainly approve. More of this, less all of 2016, please?

Next up, though, after the Patreon reshuffling of the schedule last night... well, we'll see. Stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - december 3, 2016

Well, here we are, folks: welcome to the third year of Billboard BREAKDOWN! Year three, covering the Billboard year of 2017, and man alive, I'm hoping that it'll be be better than the disaster of mediocrity that was 2016. We'll be covering more that near the end of December during the year-end end lists, but until then, let's focus on 2017... and I have to say, if we're going to start off like this, I've got a really good feeling going forward. Not perfect by any stretch, but overall... yeah, there's a lot to get excited about.

Friday, December 6, 2013

video review: 'because the internet' by childish gambino

Well, this went okay. Probably one of the odder albums I've covered, and I think the review does reflect that to some extent.

Next up will be the long-awaited retrospective of the Queens of the Stone Age album, then we'll see. Stay tuned!

album review: 'because the internet' by childish gambino

Let's ask an uncomfortable question, one I don't think there's an easy answer to and one I certainly I can't answer: how much does race matter in music, especially in rap music? On the one hand, music spans skin colour and culture, and one would like to think that it shouldn't matter when talking about artists or personal tastes. We live in a generation where Jason Aldean can collaborate with Ludacris and Brad Paisley with LL Cool J, and we should be able to judge the music regardless of racial connotations. And yet, when you have acts like Eminem or Cage or Macklemore or Yelawolf or The Beastie Boys, the prefix 'white' is always added to their titles as 'rappers'. But it runs deeper than that, to a bigger cultural question: whether hip-hop or rap hold central roles to black culture, and the distinguishing factors that make that genre unique to that audience. Now of course this can reach cartoonish extremes, such as those twits calling Lorde racist for attacking shallow luxury rap for its materialism and emptiness (which holds a much uglier connotation, implying that it's inherently black to revel in superficial displays of wealth), but one can't exactly deny that there's a distinctive difference between the place of hip-hop in black culture, particularly in the United States, in comparison with some other genres, like country or metal. And let me assure you, this isn't just confined to the hip-hop genre: many would rightfully argue jazz, soul, funk, disco, R&B, and even the very origins of rock 'n roll itself could be considered having deep roots in black culture.

And nowhere is this difference more apparent than in the subgenre of 'nerd culture' topics like sci-fi and fantasy, which has tended to trend overwhelmingly white or Asian. Now there have been acts that have bucked this trend - the Afrofuturist movement, for instance, with its most recognizable figure in modern music being Janelle Monae and all the awesome work she's done. These works suggest a synthesis, a fusion of stereotypically 'white' sci-fi precepts with discussions and critiques of real world black culture and history. From my point of view, Janelle Monae is doing something truly great by stripping away any needless racial connotations associated with subgenre conventions like sci-fi or fantasy, and adapting them to her own unique viewpoint.

So let's ask another question: what do you get when you have a black rapper who is a nerd and is somewhat enamoured with 'white culture', to the point where he feels he has lost something of his black cultural roots? Well, in that case you get Childish Gambino, well-known as Donald Glover, comedian and actor from NBC's excellent show Community. When he released his major label debut Camp, it polarized critics, mostly because it was an album that spent much of its running time discussing Gambino's unique insecurity: feeling like an outcast because he was 'too black for the white kids and too white for the black kids'. His skin was black, and yet he liked comic books and sci-fi and was defiantly not the stereotypical tough guy gangsta rapper, to the point where his attempts at playing one to win over girls were completely unconvincing. Coupled with the baroque pop-infused production, the near-constant stream of pop culture references, and his cartoonish and exaggerated flow, it made for an interesting listen, if not an unequivocally great or even wholly good one. Despite Pitchfork's scathing line, 'If you buy only one hip-hop album this year, I'm guessing it'll be Camp', a line denigrating presumably ignorant (read: white) audiences who followed Glover from Community (fun fact: the reviewer who wrote that review was white - make of that what you will), there is a grain of truth in the observation. 

And as a white guy who listens to a fair amount of hip-hop and who is clearly the audience for that album (having listened to Camp after watching Glover on Community), what did I think? Well... look, it was okay. I liked the instrumentation and production drawing from baroque pop with Kanye's influences, but Gambino's flow was jerky, the hashtag rap got old fast, the references were well-structured but dated themselves quickly, and Gambino's very real insecurity (supported by a bizarre myopic and backwards-looking view of hip-hop) often lacked coherency or depth. That being said, I can accept that it might have greater resonance with other audiences who might more closely resemble Gambino's situation, and all of the real positives on the album were enough for me to give his newest album Because The Internet a listen. Did it manage to work better than its predecessor?