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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.
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 » 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
Saul Williams
Saul Williams
Fader Records

Rating: 7/10 ?

October 1, 2004

Saul Williams' style of spoken word has spawned an entire generation of hip hop poets who recite with allegory and alliteraton, all on beat without music. His books have been some of the "edgiest" - to use the phrase made so popular by his publisher, MTV - stuff available in the poetry section at most stores. He's proven his acting chops in Slam, a sort of 8 Mile for modern poets, which Williams co-wrote and took the lead role in.

So naturally, he'd have to try his hand at music - and that worked as well on his debut album, Amethyst Rock Star. But, this time around, it seems as if the music is totally unnecessary, even restrictive. Williams simply has too much to say to have to worry about coming up with hooks and choruses that, despite his best efforts, just don't really fit.

All the words you'd expect from him are here. And they'll knock you on your ass if you can hear them from underneath all the random noise. My favorite line: "There are two ways I could say this. And one would be, 'Fuck you.'" A close second: "The truth is really I'm scared. Not scared of the truth, but just scared of the length you'll go to fight it."

Maybe the reason this album doesn't work quite as well as it should is because Williams slid into the producer's seat, bumping out Rick Rubin, who made his debut a success. But I'm not so sure that's it. Williams' music on this album is far better than on the last, and it may even work on another emcee's album (Zack de la Rocha, who appears briefly on this album, comes to mind). Williams could probably also produce punk, or even pop records. But, somehow, he's just too close to his own project here.

I think Saul the Producer hasn't given Saul the Writer enough credit, and admitted that his words are music, and they really don't need anything behind them (or all over the top of them). The end result is an album that should have been another book. Sure, less people probably would have gotten the message, but more people would have gotten the message.

Reviewed by Taylor Loyal
The last we heard, Taylor was living in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the guitar-shaped swimming pool.

See other reviews by Taylor Loyal



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