Sunday, March 11, 2007

Doe, a Deer ...

Early in the morning, dressed in black...

Well, not really. More like drinking green tea.

It's Sunday and the impending Monday dread is settling in the pit of my stomach. I still hate the shortness of weekends. Anyway...

Friday was payday (woooo!) and true to form I spent a chunk of change at a chosen spot (check the technique, losers). This time, Dusty Groove got my money. Rather than talking about my craptacular life, I figured I'd share a little piece of me, something you, dear readers, can take and tuck away in the cockles of your emotional warehouses. Walk with me readers, tour my most recent music purchases and, in doing so, take a tour of through the deepest part of me.

(Let me catch my breath. Okay.)

Most people know that I'll hit you in the face for talking crazy about Extra P. "Queens represent/Buy the album when I drop it." Yeah, I waited and when it did finally drop, a decade or so later, I got two copies, but I digress. Included here, on Breakin Atoms, are some of the best songs ever. I knew that it was the beginning of the end when a dude I was seeing said that he thought "Looking at the Front Door" was just okay. "Watch Roger Do His Thing," pure d. 90s in its earnest tone and drum pattern. Why don't more people praise William's lyrical prowess? Sure, he's no G. Rap or Rakim, but he's no Lil Dap either. One of the best albums of the 90s. If you don't think so, I don't respect you ... at all.

What a disappointment. I'm used to the Island Records Lewis Taylor, the white, slightly more creepy version of Marvin Gaye with sonically enhanced vocals and lush, layered instrumentals. This brit pop/acoustic approach does not do it for me. There is one winner, however; the acoustic version of "Lucky," which originally appears on his '96 self-titled, is a winner. Other than that, tread lightly.

I'm old. See this post for confirmation. I listen to blues artists unapologetically and I like wine coolers. So, my love for Johnnie Taylor is no surprise. I'm sure everyone knows "Last Two Dollars" and "Disco Lady," but the man had a career that spanned decades. This compilation of two of his most ridiculous albums proves why. With song titles like "Your Love Is Rated X" and "Not Just Another Booty Song," you're either a fan or you're not. If you are, pick this one up. The trademark questionable lyrics and husky voice are in full effect.

Eric muthafreakin' Roberson. I do not understand why this guy isn't a star. His songs are quite nice to the shit, he's consistent, he releases an album about every year...I just don't get it. People everywhere should be groovin to good ole Eric. Anyway, this is a live CD and DVD collection of a DC show that he apparently performed almost verbatim here in Chicago. The track list is the same, the interludes are about the same and the "ad libs" are, that's right, the same. Doesn't matter, Eric's a talented dude and deserves all the success he finds. Fans, buy this disc if you'd like live versions of some of his songs. My only gripe is that he chooses to perform some of his more cheesy hits; however, my favorites ("Couldn't Hear Me," "Right Back To You")do appear here as well.

And Eric again. This is his latest studio album and I'm not disappointed. I expected some good shit and I got it. True to form, the first four songs are bangers (his first four songs are always that shit) and the rest plays quite nicely; as a matter of act, I only dislike two songs ("ILuvU2Much" w/ Algebra and the bonus track). Out of fourteen tracks, that's pretty impressive, especially since I consider liking half of an album a triumph (M-Chill says I have the toughest ear in the City).

Yo, this chick's weird. There are no choruses or verses here, just words. The tracks are spacey, bloopy, free jazz-styled hip hop tracks, and she's obsessed with salt having a negative charge. Georgia Anne Muldrow is weird. That said, there are moments here. When she's not being super preachy or howling over tracks that sound like space farts, she's at least interesting, at most kinda engaging. Apparently, she produced, performed, wrote and recorded all 21 tracks, which is impressive. She should actually look into producing for other artists; some of these tracks bump.

Let me admit something, and please don't attack me for it. I have always thought of Marvin Gaye as a crappy singer. Furthermore, I never really gave him credit for having talent as my favorite album of his was pretty much Leon Ware's work (I Want You). I'm sorry, Marvin lovers; I was simply too busy admiring the likes of Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder to pay Marvin much attention. To me, he was just a falsettoed ladies' man with some sexy songs, which is a shame since I own or have heard many of his albums that negate this theory, including Trouble Man and What's Going On. So, I finally buy and listen to Here, My Dear. Really. All I can say is, "Oops." He really uses his voice on this album. Pain, laughter, wryness, bitterness--it's all here. It's like a double album precursor to Erykah Badu's "Green Eyes." And who knew that Marvin was so clever, smart, funny and vindictive? Just hand me a late pass on this one cuz I was seriously sleeping. I think it has to do with the personal pain index. I tend not to really appreciate artists until they're forced to emote publicly and on record. His divorce allowed him to do that, so we are now cool. RIP Marvin. Sorry I slept.

I love crazy rappers with senses of humor. Ghost is a crazy rapper with a sense of humor. I love Ghost. See how that wonderful chain of logic works? So, Dusty Groove didn't have More Fish, but they did have this, so I bought it. Unfortunately, I have most of these songs already. Fortunately, they appear on this disk with much better sound quality. Not much to say here. Most of these songs are great ("The Watch," "The Sun"), some suck. If you aren't a bad person who scavenges the Internet to illegally download "lost" Ghostface tracks, I'd recommmend that you get this collection.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Dun Dun Duhhhhhh


It's about 7:33 in the morning, I'm up, and I thought to myself, "Self, maybe you should write an entry for your blog." So, here I am.

I've been up since about 5:00 and after catching Madame Sousatzka (wonderful movie starring Shirley MacLaine) and crying at its finale (once again), Roshomon is on and I've just had my morning vitamins.

Where to begin.

I think I'm getting to that place where I'm starting to enjoy my job. The first five weeks have been filled with the requisite doubt and frustration and temptation to quit. My eighth period class is a black hole of chaos, and my stupidity in thinking I could teach full time while taking two classes is showing. Despite this, all this, I sat down Friday after my last student had left, after I had entered the five week progress report grades and thought, "Self, these kids are freakin' crazy, but I think we like them." (Brace yourself reader(s), there will be a alot of third person in this post.)

On to the next topic. Did anyone catch that Beats something something documentary about hip hop on PBS? Some dude, former football player and former man's man, decided, after some amount of self reflection, to do a documentary highlighting the issues of misogyny and homophobia in hip hop. It was only an hour long, but it was good. Mind you, there was nothing groundbreaking about his discoveries (at least not to me. you're reading the blog of a girl who wrote rhymes about killing people with her vagina ... seriously), but it's always wonderful to see a person questioning the hegemony they've been force fed. It's especially impressive to see a man take misogyny seriously. I won't go on too long about this. We've heard all the arguments before. I will say that you (yes you) should check your local PBS listings to check for the next airing. I would love a copy to show to my kids. It could possibly spark a lively debate.

What else, what else? Oh, I attended my first union meeting. Incredibly boring and pedantic stuff. Boo! We're probably going to strike in the fall. What an auspicious sign of things to come in my teaching career.

Finally, let me rail against one of my university professors. I won't be extra bogus by typing her name, but I will say that she is wholly ridiculous and inefficient. See, she teaches my SEED/EDUC 480 class, the class one takes to reflect (I now hate this word by the way) on one's teaching, presumably in order to improve. To be fair, I'm clearly going into this situation with a bad attitude. After teaching five periods of rowdy adolescents, one wants to go home to watch mindless sitcoms and eat creamy, delicious foods. Instead, one must trek downtown, pay exorbitant prices for parking (for one is now too good for public transportation), and sit in class while suffering the indignity of being read to, kindergarten style (semi-circle around teacher, legs crossed steeze), from a frickin' children's book every week. That's right, she reads children's stories to us; she's even kind enough to hold the book up to every face in the room after each page so that we can all see the pretty pictures. Worse, she makes some shoddy, tenuous connection to teaching pedagogies after her weekly crusades of demoralization. Example: Last Wednesday, she read a story about some little boy who finds pieces of clay pottery in his town/pueblo/whatever (let me tell ya, SUPER boring). Then, she proceeds to illustrate how this story is much like the deductive reasoning process involved in making sense of data. Huh? Why not just start with the salient stuff? I'm not quite done. Then we use puzzle pieces to further drive her ingenious observations of data collection home. Dude, by the time I leave that three hours of class, I'm ready to whoop (not whip, but whoop) somebody's ass for that shit. I know you face the task of having to fill three hours of instructional time, but dammit you've been teaching for twenty years. Do better! So yeah, can't wait for this to be over.

That's all I've got. See ya when I see ya.