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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
Sleepy Brown
Mr. Brown
Purple Ribbon

Rating: 6/10 ?

December 20, 2006
My college soundtrack was often the gravy laden beats and funk of Organized Noize Productions (ONP), the triad of producers responsible for Outkast, Goodie MOB and the rest of Atlanta's Dungeon Family. As a member of ONP, Pat "Sleepy" Brown was often hands-on with his artists, crooning away on such classic cuts as "So Fresh and So Clean" and "SpottieOttieDopaliscious." These tracks illustrate Sleepy's love for funk and classic soul. Unlike Diddy and Pharrell (who has a yawn inducing guest spot here), Sleepy Brown has talent in the booth as well as behind the boards. In fact, Brown's vocals are reminiscent of a less polished, early 70's, Marvin Gaye. I was really anticipating Mr. Brown because of the possibility that Sleepy might resurrect some of Hotlanta's creative brilliance that seemed to sweep in with the late '90s and then crest on Outkast's brilliant Stankonia. No such luck. Mr. Brown feels incomplete. As gorgeous as Sleepy's voice can be, lyrically the album is lacking.

Musically the album aspires to be an update of Marvin Gaye's under appreciated masterwork, I Want You. There are also elements of Isaac Hayes' Hot Buttered Soul and the polished perfection of Gamble and Huff's horn production. The problem is that Brown's subject matter is limited and homage can only take an artist so far. Sleepy is not a gangsta and, to his credit, does not attempt the pose. Instead, Sleepy Brown comes across as a Southern gentleman who is too classy to be nasty. In a field where the competition gets arrested for drugs and booze like D'Angelo or caught defecating on minors like R. Kelly, Sleepy seems positively tame. Unlike Marvin Gaye or Black Moses era Isaac Hayes, Sleepy is not particularly political which, again, reduces his potential lyrical subject matter. The bottom line is songs about women and cars are not enough for one album without some serious poetry and again, Sleepy is a good songwriter but not a great one. The guy can knock a chorus out of the ballpark but when it comes to verses, well… the guy needs some help.

The song "I Can't Wait," originally from the Barbershop 2 soundtrack, is the highlight of the disc. It features both Big Boi and Andre 3000 rapping and Sleepy laying back in a groove, allowing his gorgeous falsetto to shine. The track serves as a sad reminder of what we've lost with Outkast's breakup.

The music on Mr. Brown is excellent and reminiscent of the finest moments of ONP's work with the Dungeon Family. The resemblance to Marvin Gaye's I Want You is pure homage and highlights Sleepy's talent as an arranger and composer. If Sleepy Brown can get an assist on his lyrics and continue making music this interesting, his next album could be amazing.

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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