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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]


 » 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!
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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
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Ghostface Killah
Def Jam

Rating: 9/10 ?

May 12, 2006
The fall-off of the Wu-Tang Clan has become a real sore spot for those of us who have tried to remain faithful to hip-hop's, once dominant, Nine Brothers. The first few years of Wu-Tang's output were flawless. From Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers to the initial round of solo efforts - very few artists or crews could hold a candle to the beats, flows or sheer presence of The Wu-Tang Clan. Ghostface Killah's, 1996 album, Ironman was the final, and possibly greatest, album of the early Wu-Tang material. Track after track of The RZA's grimy beats and 70's exploitation samples were met with Ghost's frenetic, impassioned flows about life in NYC, personal mistakes, criminal activity and hip-hop glory. Ironman still sounds fresh - even ten years later.

Wu-Tang's fall-off came shortly after Ironman in the form of the seemingly egotistical double-disc, Wu-Tang Forever. Half of Wu-Tang Forever was good, but its massive sales led to anyone even loosely affiliated with The Clan being able to release their own Wu joint. This inundation of Wu product decreased overall quality. It also led to a second round of solo records from the original members that were not nearly as solid as they should have been, with the notable exception of Ghostface's Supreme Clientele. Supreme Clientele is a force of nature. The production, the rhymes and Ghostface's early stabs at his now famous "Crying Style" all make Supreme Clientele one of the best hip-hop albums ever.

By the time of Supreme Clientele the Wu had begun to rethink their quantity above quality strategy and released 2000's The W, which is an underrated masterpiece. However that appears to have been a fluke because, collectively, Wu-Tang hasn't done anything as good since. In the ensuing years, U-God made an arrogant film dissing RZA, Cappadonna got stuck driving a NYC cab and Method Man made deodorant commercials. Fortunately for fans of The Clan, Ghostface picked up the slack and released three excellent records: Bullet Proof Wallets, The Pretty Tony Album and now The Fishscale LP.

The main difference between Fishscale and Ghostface Killah's previous solo ventures is the notable absence of Wu-Tang producer The RZA. Normally RZA would work very closely with Ghost on his material and produce at least a few of the songs on any given album. RZA takes great pride in his work and doubly so in his work with Ghostface. RZA has even been known to generally knock other producers who work with Ghost. Despite RZA's criticism, Fishscale serves as proof that Ghostface can work with anyone on the boards including Pete Rock, MF Doom and the now deceased master, Jay Dilla.

This diversity of production has led to some of the most interesting songs Ghost has ever recorded. "Underwater" is quite possibly one of the strangest hop-hop songs of all time. Ghostface describes a dream where he's underwater and observes things like: "Spongebob in the Bentley Coupe/ Banging the Isley's." No one will ever know where Ghost comes up with this stuff but, with the help of MF Doom's deft production skills, listeners are submerged alongside Ghost and taken on a crazy ride under the sea. On "Columbus Exchange/Crack Spot" listeners practically get pistol-whipped by the beat only to be seduced by one of Raekwon's tightest flows, kicking off the next track, "R.A.G.U." (Raekwon And Ghostface United). Ghostface protégé Trife also guests on this album as do all nine original Wu-Tang Clan members on the track "9mili Brothers" featuring a posthumous intro from O.D.B. over an MF Doom beat. Nothing on this album is bad and most of the tracks are above reproach. This will most likely be the best hip-hop album of the year as well as a contender for best overall album of the year.

I have no idea how Fishscale will fare in terms of album sales; although Fishscale debuted at number five I am unsure of its future. This album is as musically progressive as hip-hop gets and in no way resembles the typical pabulum that gets purchased by the hip-hop generation. That said there are some amazingly catchy and interesting songs on this disc and maybe the right kind of PR could turn this record into a sleeper hit. The bottom line is Ghostface Killah deserves more recognition for being the most consistent member of the Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most talented rappers in the game and one of the most musically progressive artists of his generation.

Reviewed by Jon Burke
A contributing writer and a Chicago resident who will not be goaded by LAS’s editor into revealing any more details about his potentially sordid affairs.

See other reviews by Jon Burke



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