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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Sergio Mendes
Timeless
Concord Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


February 15, 2006
Sergio Mendes leans on the bride's credo - something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue - with his first release in several years, Timeless. Not so much of the blue part, but there is plenty of Mendes' current spirit revisiting old classics and a bit of borrowing of contemporary pop talents.

Timeless is a Black Eyed Peas-ish mix of celeb-artists, American urban beats and rhymes, and Brazilian jazz peripheral instrumental colorings. Will.i.am has his production hand in nearly every cut of the included 15, minus only the title track. On the A-list of guest performers are Stevie Wonder, the afore-mentioned Black Eyed Peas, Erykah Badu, Q-Tip, Jill Scott, Mr. Vegas, John Legend, Justin Timberlake, Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought, and Chali 2na. The compositions are more hosted by Mendes and will.i.am, and they give the main platform to the rapper, singer, or, in the case of Wonder's harmonica melodies on "Berimbau/Consolacao (Beh-rim-bao/con-soh-lah-soun)," soloist.

With Timeless there is too much involvement from will.i.am to make it a true Mendes release. Unlike the successful Santana collaboration album Supernatural, Timeless doesn't infuse the host's personality to the degree that anyone would realize that he is even there most of the time. Instead the album is controlled by dancey electronic drum programming, which often gives the feel of R&B or hip-hop, and relegating the Latino side to a lower pedestal. But Mendes does get away from the splurging vocal guests, specifically during "Fo'Hop" and "Lamento (No Morro)". In these tunes one can hear the aged Brazilian samba element and bossa nova stylings shine through will.i.am's attempts to modernize: Rhodes and acoustic pianos clink off stabby solos and a choral back-up vocal group sing the main lyrical lines as flute and horn melodies sway to and fro.

What is at battle here is Mendes' intriguing pop chart-accepted Brazilian form with will.i.am's more contemporary dance-friendly, ADD-sympathetic production. As much as pop purists (a contradiction in terms if I've ever heard one) would like you to believe that old Mendes tracks such as "Mas Que Nada" shouldn't have been fucked with, the reworked versions of these tracks are not that bad. The real challenge is the texture and styling of sounds - just as Supernatural lacked the grit and personality of Santana's earlier works, Timeless misses the Brazilian characteristics (such as shakers, live drum bossa nova beat, real horn parts) that originally brought Mendes to popularity. All in all, Timeless is a step up for will.i.am and a step down for Sergio Mendes, somewhere between decency and exceptionality.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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