The Tab’s Music team pick over some album highlights for the autumn
The Tab’s Music team pick over some album highlights for the autumn:
Die Antwoord – ‘$O$’
Die Antwoord, a South African self-described ‘futuristic rap-rave crew’, has taken the internet by storm, and now with the re-release of their album ‘$O$’, they’re soon to become a household name. Whether you consider them as a serious hip-hop band or an absolute joke, there’s no denying that Die Antwoord brings something refreshing to the music world. Drawing influences on diverse cultures including Zef, with lyrics in English, Afrikaans, and slang they certainly sound very unique.
‘$O$’ begins with the dramatic ‘In Your Face’, a quick introduction to band members rap master Ninja, squeaky blonde Yo-Landi Vi$$er, and DJ Hi-Tek. What follows is arguably the biggest hit of the album: ‘Enter The Ninja’. With an infectious poptastic and almost comical chorus, Ninja takes to the stage, spitting out as many hip-hop clichés as possible (‘I got nothing in my hand / except a microphone, big dreams and a plan). The band lives up to its ‘rap-rave’ brand in ‘Wat Kyk Jy’, bringing about an energetic 90’s House feel to the album. ‘Evil Boy’ sees a nice collaboration with rapper Wanga and Diplo (one half of Mazor Lazer) – I would highly recommend checking out the music video:
The album is just ridiculously catchy from beginning to end, with the child-like playground taunt chorus in ‘Fish Paste’ (‘jou mae se poes in a fish paste jar’ – which roughly translates to ‘your mama’s private parts in a fish paste bottle’), and the dark, although satiric, seven-minute air-grabbing, fist-clenching track ‘She Makes Me A Killer’.
John Lennon – Power to the People
Somewhere, probably in a Manhattan penthouse decked out in beige calfskin, Yoko Ono is sitting on a big pile of cash and giggling to herself. Lennon’s widow is worth upwards of £775 million, inherited from record sales, merchandising and the sometimes questionable use of his image. Thanks Converse for those charming Lennon hi-tops. Presumably, every time she sees her balance creep below the GDP of The Gambia, she can sell off some song rights to Starbucks or arranges a cheeky re-jigging and re-releasing of every studio tape Lennon left to her until the market is totally saturated.
‘Power to the People’, although it represents Ono’s latest profiting of her rights to the Beatles empire, is predictably excellent. The track listing will do nothing to titillate those who’ve grown up with Lennon, and the re-mastering adds little, but these are the kind of songs that stand alone. Few artists can boast anything comparable to the seething ‘Gimme Some Truth’ or the dreamy ‘Jealous Guy’. ‘Imagine’ remains hymnal, and for every slightly directionless piece of power balladry, i.e. ‘Mind Games’, we’re presented with ‘Instant Karma!’ or ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’. Both would match anything Lennon wrote with The Beatles but for the gratuitous punctuation.
Of course there are other introductions to Lennon: 2005’s ‘Working Class Hero: The Definitive Lennon’, 2001’s ‘All-Time Greatest Hits’ or 1997’s ‘Lennon Legend.’… But if you want a punchy, modern and well mastered compilation then ‘Power To The People’ is a faultless collection.
Radiohead – Kid A (10 years on)
This month we celebrate ten years since Radiohead released one of the most anticipated records of our generation. Not breaking news but a retrospective review. Following on from the anthemic success of The Bends and the ‘plays in the elevators in heaven’ near-perfection of O.K. Computer Thom and co went into musical breakdown.
The first three tracks featured no guitar, there is a straight-up dance track and inspiration for some of the lyrics was drawn from a hat. From being post prog-rock gods Radiohead had descended into electronic madness. Barely recognisable at first listen, almost arbitrarily bizarre and even bleaker than they had ever sounded, this record showed a band wrestling with creative block.
So a massive, ball-busting, cock-teasing letdown then? You could not be more wrong. Kid A was quite simply a masterpiece; the magnum opus of a band that almost every critic worth their salt believes to be the most important and most talented band still making music. It is haunting, beautiful, ambitious and utterly, utterly, beautiful. The blend of timbres is unusual and intoxicating and the tracks some how remain powerful despite being so fractures.
A decade later and it still hasn’t aged, still doesn’t sound close to mainstream, and above all is still totally enchanting, a little hard to see the meaning in some songs, but this can be forgiven. How to disappear completely is the most beautiful rock song I have ever heard, and the whole album, even after hundreds of listens, still moves you. Yes I know I sound like a gushing fan-boy, and yes I know it’s all ‘odd’ and ‘difficult’; but the best thing in life always are. So give it a listen and reminisce over the best album of the last decade.
By: Jenna Corderoy, Tom Wills and David Holland