Friday, January 30, 2015

video review: 'no cities to love' by sleater-kinney

And that should - mostly - catch me up on my backlog. Now for that Doomtree record I've been anticipating for months - stay tuned!

album review: 'no cities to love' by sleater-kinney

Let's talk a little bit about comebacks.

Now if you're familiar with sites like Buzzfeed at all - and if you're online, you've probably been linked to one of their advertisements disguised as a list masquerading as legitimate content at some point - you're probably aware that there's a certain market for nostalgic material. To be fair this is nothing new - artists have always had a fondness for looking back and improving or innovating upon the material of those that came before, or at the very least subverting or satirizing it - but the rise of the Internet and nerd culture means that it's much easier to wring something out of that market. And given we're currently riding something of a 90s-nostalgia wave in indie music - most of which was also influenced by the 70s which in turn was influenced by the 50s and all of it is partially driven by whatever's in the underground but that's besides the point - we've seen a slew of artists that were prominent in the 90s make something of a comeback in the past couple of years across a number of genres. 

But even as it can be an easy paycheck for the artist, I'm always a little wary about comebacks driven off of nostalgia, especially in this vein. For one, it's rare that an artist will pick up where they left off in terms of their sound or aim to experiment further - after all, that'll push that treasured fanbase away unless you can guarantee success. So often times you get artists that stick pretty close to their comfort zone with their comebacks - which is fine, you can give the fans what they want - but it's rarely all that challenging or interesting or potent.

But even with that qualification, I have to admit to having high hopes here. I've talked a little about Sleater-Kinney when I reviewed the debut album from Ex Hex called Rips late last year, but that was more of a Mary Timony project. Sleater-Kinney is more of the brain-child of Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, who along with drummer Janet Weiss managed to craft several great punk and art rock records across the 90s and early 2000s before going on hiatus. And while I won't subscribe to the hyperbole of a site like Vox saying that 'Sleater-Kinney is the last great rock band' or some clickbait headline like that, I will say that with records like All Hands On The Bad One, Dig Me Out, One Beat, and The Woods that they've made some stellar, insightful, incredibly well-written records that I really enjoy.

Yet even with that, at the back of my mind, I was uneasy about this. It wasn't just that Sleater-Kinney had a passionate fanbase that would buy that comeback album in a heartbeat, but Carrie Brownstein could easily use her cult comedy TV show Portlandia for free marketing - in other words, it was something of a guaranteed investment, and given that I wasn't expecting off-beat experimentation to follow from The Woods, they could easily make this just pure fanservice. But even with that, I'm still a fan of Sleater-Kinney, so I made sure to give No Cities To Love plenty of listens - how is it?

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 7, 2015

And there we go. Lot of upload problems getting this online - which is odd, considering the editing went so quickly, but eh, it happens.

Okay, next up is Sleater-Kinney and Doomtree, stay tuned!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - february 7, 2015

So, I'm assuming by now, if you watch this show or not, you might have heard that the Twilight-fanfiction turned trashy BDSM romance novel is being converted into a film. One plagued with bad buzz because the leads apparently have no chemistry and they needed an R-rating simply because of all of the cheap mid-90s softcore they needed to fill the running time and take away from the awful, awful plot? Trust me, I'm going to see Fifty Shades of Grey and give it the due thrashing it deserves, but until then we have the soundtrack - and the songs that won't stop rising on the charts. I have to say, America, you seemed to take my assertion that the public had taste like a challenge, because from the looks of things, we had a rough week.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

video review: 'b4.da.$$' by joey bada$$

Goddamn, I'm so glad I took some extra time to really take this album in and get it, because if I had reviewed it after the shitty day I had yesterday, I would have been a lot less kind. Either way, damn good record, definitely check this out.

Next up, Billboard BREAKDOWN, then some Sleater-Kinney and Doomtree - let's see if we can keep this streak of great albums going, so stay tuned!

album review: 'b4.da.$$' by joey bada$$

Of the many, many album requests that I get every day, this is probably the most requested album thus far in 2015 - for a rapper who landed on the XXL Freshmen list but had no major airplay singles and was actually preferring to stay independent than sign to a major label. A new rapper erupting out of Brooklyn, affiliated with Big K.R.I.T. and Mick Jenkins with critically acclaimed mixtapes and a visceral sound and flow that definitely grabbed attention.

Yep, it's time to talk about Joey Bada$$, affiliated with Pro Era, who erupted into the game around 2012 with his hit mixtape 1999 that drew a lot of attention from hip-hop heads and critics and started getting him major hype. As it was for me, Joey Bada$$ always struck me a very good rapper with a lot of talent and definitely a strong technical lyricist, but I was waiting for him to put together a more cohesive project that rose beyond his old school boom-bap flavour. Because sure, I definitely preferred that more lyrical focus that he took in terms of technical craft, but I wanted to see what was it that separated him from his influences. He followed 1999 with the even more slick and melodic Summer Knights, and sure, it was enjoyable, but there was a certain lack of immediacy and punch to it that meant it wasn't a tape I was inclined to revisit. Definitely not bad and I appreciated Joey Bada$$' increased maturity, but after his explosive presence on Mick Jenkins' The Water[s] mixtape last year, I knew I wanted to see Joey Bada$$ bring the same fire to a project of his own. So I took the time to check out his debut album B4.DA.$$ - how is it?

Monday, January 26, 2015

video review: 'tetsuo & youth' by lupe fiasco

Man, it's nice to see Lupe Fiasco back on his game. Great album, really enjoyed it.

Next up, Joey Bada$$ - stay tuned!

album review: 'tetsuo & youth' by lupe fiasco

To say I have a complicated opinion on Lupe Fiasco would probably be understating it.

See, unlike most people, I didn't get into him from his first Food & Liquor album or The Cool. Nope, the very first project of his I heard was Lasers - and sure, it was definitely poppy and it hasn't aged well at all and it definitely feels overly simplified in comparison to those earlier albums, but I stand by the controversial opinion that for what Lasers is - a pop-flavoured rap record designed for the radio with only the slightest hint of controversy in its politics - it kind of works and I sure as hell find it to be an easier listen than the preachy, overwrought and yet underwhelming Food & Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Part 1

But yeah, going back to revisit Lupe Fiasco's career, I've found an artist that I like but don't quite love. Don't get me wrong, as a lyricist he's frequently strong and his production is always at least interesting even if it doesn't always work - but when it comes to his content... well, do you know that guy in college who's definitely smart and can grasp certain topics well, but never really takes the next step to go deeper into something really poignant or chooses to go for broad appeal that might be popular until the second someone calls him on it? Lupe Fiasco tends to fall into that category for me - a rapper who frequently gets damn close to something almost transcendent but more often than not doesn't take that extra step or, even worse, gets embroiled in conspiracy theory bullshit or broad controversial statements that make him look so much less intelligent or insightful than he actually is. Which is a shame, because when he stays away from that and goes deeper he can make fantastic music unlike anyone else, and songs like 'Kick Push' prove it. It circles back to my hard rules for art and politics, which really can be applied to any art looking to push a message: good framing, populism, and nuance. And while Lupe Fiasco tends to nail the first, he can stumble on the second and trip up on the last. And what this tends to mean is that his records while maintaining a thematic throughline I can respect, they often feel inconsistent, the amazing highs only highlighting the painful lows.

So I'll admit to being very skeptical with his upcoming album Tetsuo & Youth. Not only had it been delayed a worrying number of times, I was not impressed at all with the majority of Lupe's output that he had been dropping throughout 2014. And sure, I had heard he was going back to his roots with this record and that it was his best work since The Cool - and believe me, I wanted to get hyped for a new Lupe Fiasco album again... but I'll be honest, I had low expectations for this record. What did we get?

Friday, January 23, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 31, 2015 (VIDEO)

Overall, a pretty solid week - happy I was able to get this out before the convention kicked into high gear.

Okay, time to enjoy myself and maybe catch an album - or four - in between. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 31, 2015

So this was a pretty simple week on the Billboard Hot 100 - in that there were movements and changes that you could easily predict. And yet it was almost a deceptive week on the charts, where it might seem a lot happened - we even got a new song debuting in the top ten, and trust me, we'll get to it - but it's not exactly disruptive to the status quo, and if anything, its success is all the more predictable.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

video review: 'viet cong' by viet cong

Well, that'll probably be it for album reviews until after MAGFest, but I think I might just have time to get one more Billboard BREAKDOWN in... stay tuned!

album review: 'viet cong' by viet cong

So I've talked before about how various musicians in indie rock have a reputation for having multiple projects running simultaneously in order to try out different styles and sounds or simply find the one that manages to catch fire. The funny thing is that in the age of the Internet, acts can very quickly build an underground cult following, and with sites like Pitchfork covering many of these projects, it means that critical acclaim can befall an act without sales or additional popularity coming along. And if the artists want to move along and try new things, it can mean they leave their fanbases hungry for more and following after whatever these artists try to assemble next.

And the more I started digging into Canadian indie rock group Viet Cong, the more I expected that some of the hype surrounding this band was coming from this phenomenon. Two members of the group, drummer Michael Wallace and bassist Matthew Flegel were previously from the critically acclaimed art rock group Women, who briefly made a splash in the late 2000s with two pretty damn great records before breaking up midtour, which took a jangly lo-fi yet exceptionally melodic and hook-driven sound and paired it with skeletal production that drew comparisons to a darker, more stripped-down Beach Boys or especially The Velvet Underground. As such, I could definitely see the interest now being taken in Viet Cong - even though that band was advertising their sound as having a much stronger post-punk influence. But hell, I like post-punk, so I made sure to give Viet Cong's self-titled debut a couple deep listens - what did we get here?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

video review: 'alexander the great iii' by brazy da bo$$

Honestly, I was hoping for a little more with this release, but I'll take what I can get. Either way, I'm probably going to handle Viet Cong next and save the massive wave of hip-hop (and Sleater-Kinney) for next week after MAGFest. Either way, stay tuned!

album review: 'alexander the great III' by brazy da bo$$

So here's a funny story - last year, I was approached by an indie rapper from Maryland asking whether I'd want to cover his upcoming album to be released in January. Now for me, I get a lot of requests to cover indie MCs looking for more coverage, but this looked on first impression to be more than just your standard free mixtape rapper. For one, he looked to have been around for a bit, with a few established albums he had sold from iTunes and a slew of mixtapes, all of which he apparently produced and mixed himself. That did get me intrigued - could we have another Logic or Big K.R.I.T. coming up, this guy could be something interesting. Not only that, he conducted himself with a degree of professionalism I definitely appreciated and wasn't simply spamming me. And I figured, 'Well, if he's wack, it's the middle of January, what the hell else am I supposed to cover around this time of the year?' Granted, that sort of logic got me to cover Rae Sremmurd, but a quick listen through a few tracks did show he was nowhere near that bad, so I added Brazy Da Bo$$ to my schedule.

Fast forward to now, and said schedule is groaning under the weight of plenty of other albums that people have been eagerly anticipating like Joey Bada$$ and Lupe Fiasco and Sleater-Kinney and Viet Cong - and yet I'm taking the time to review an MC that doesn't have huge buzz or critical acclaim behind him? Well, for me it's a matter of pride to honor my commitments - and a need to get through some larger discographies on my schedule - and I did promise to review it, so after getting confirmation from the artist that he did indeed want me to cover it with my normal vitriol, I gave the new album from Brazy da Bo$$ a couple listens - did we find something good here?

Monday, January 19, 2015

video review: 'uptown special' by mark ronson

Wish I did like this album a bit more, but it definitely was a lot of fun. Make sure to check it out.

Next up, I settle an old request. Probably won't get a ton of hits from it, but I am a man of my word here. Stay tuned!

album review: 'uptown special' by mark ronson

So, by now you've all heard 'Uptown Funk' if you live anywhere close to a radio, and for most, I reckon it hasn't quite worn out its welcome yet. I mean, a funk track with a ton of energy from one of the more talented pop performers in the industry right now, what's not to like?

Yeah, I've already talked plenty about this song on Billboard BREAKDOWN, but I knew at some point I had to get deeper and go beyond the hit to see if the backing producer Mark Ronson might have some staying power. Now to some extent I already knew this was the case going in - this is Mark Ronson's fourth record over the course of a decade, he's been around for a while now. His debut album Here Comes The Fuzz came out in 2003, where he managed to wrangle collaborations not just from Ghostface Killa, Sean Paul, and the late Nate Dogg, but also Daniel Merriweather and Rivers Cuomo. It also had more of an alternative hip-hop focus, which he abandoned for his 2007 album Version for a slicker, funkier sound. Like his previous album, the reviews were mixed, mostly noting the guest-overloaded covers often lacked restraint and didn't show off the best of his talent. Undaunted, Mark Ronson kept working, accruing acclaim as a producer thanks to working with Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, and Adele, and making a slightly more diverse album with Record Collection in 2010. Sure, it was still swollen with name guest stars, but to be fair he's a producer putting out albums - you kind of expect it.

As such, I wasn't sure what to expect for the newest album from Mark Ronson. I mean, 'Uptown Funk' is a great song, but how much of it is because of Bruno Mars and how much of it is Mark Ronson? And some of the other guest stars did raise eyebrows? Stevie Wonder? Jeff Bhasker? Keyone Starr? Mystikal, the semi-deranged rapper from the early 2000s that sounded a little like Ole Dirty Bastard and got the prison term that R.Kelly should have gotten? Well, at least it was going to be interesting, so I gave it a couple listens - how did it turn out?

Friday, January 16, 2015

video review: 'american beauty/american psycho' by fall out boy

Man, I wish I liked this album more than I did. Hope to God that it grows on me throughout the year, but overall, I doubt it.

Okay, Mark Ronson, and then another crazy week. Stay tuned!

album review: 'american beauty/american psycho' by fall out boy

I don't think anybody knew what to expect when Fall Out Boy dropped their long-awaited comeback record in 2013. A band that was simultaneously fanatically loved and hated, they weren't exactly a band where there was much of a middle ground. Yeah, the instrumentation had bombast and tight groove-flavoured melodies, but they were clearly riding the coattails of the pop-flavoured emo movement. Yes, Patrick Stump had a great voice, when it wasn't screamingly obnoxious. And yeah, the lyrics were intricate and poetic and Pete Wentz was a gifted songwriter... but going beneath the surface revealed arrogance and self-obsession and a bad tendency to behave like condescending assholes. 

And the funny thing is that all of it is true - and yet as a critic, I was inclined to give the edge to Fall Out Boy here. For as much as they played assholes, they were at least aware of it in their framing, and it wasn't as if they didn't occasionally make solid points, especially when drifted more towards political material. And frankly, the more bombastic they got the more I could appreciate them, especially with their underrated concept album Folie a Deux. So when they came back in 2013, I was excited to see grander ambitions, and then...

Okay, look, I know from a certain academic standpoint Save Rock And Roll doesn't really work all the way through. It's over-the-top to the point of self-important silliness, it makes grand statements it can't back up, the production is a total mess, the majority of the guest stars don't work, it frequently pulls from other rock acts, and the fact that a massive portion of it is a middle finger to their fans was probably not the best of creative choices. And yet, of all the albums I've covered in 2013 in written or video form, it's been the album I've come back to the most - definitely not because it's the best but because it's downright fascinating and contains some of the band's best ever songs. And while the targets of the rage might be misplaced, you can't exactly deny that the band was throwing their all into this, for better or for worse.

As such, I had no idea what to expect from their newest record, American Beauty/ American Psycho. On the one hand, Fall Out Boy were claiming to be even more experimental and tackle more political material, but on the other hand I found the single 'Centuries' to be underwhelming and really reminiscent of Panic! At The Disco's 'Ms. Jackson', at least on the first few listens - mostly because it got the same female singer. But I'm still a fan of this band, so I made sure to give the album a fair few listens - what did we get?

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 24, 2015 (VIDEO)

You know, I actually thought this episode would be a quicker edit than it was. Go figure.

Okay, I think I'm ready for some Fall Out Boy now, bring it on!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 24, 2015

This week, things finally seemed to get back to normal - and to be honest, I was expecting the charts to get a lot worse this week thanks to an injection of new album tracks from reviews I did last week. Instead, it seems like the opposite is true, as no additional Rae Sremmurd tracks landed on the Hot 100 - thank God - and Meghan Trainor had losses across the board. In fact, for the first week ever on Billboard BREAKDOWN, we have no returning entries, just brand-new songs - granted, with more Chris Brown than is healthy for anyone, but hey, we're getting Jhene Aiko, another Fall Out Boy single, and a punk cover of Taylor Swift, I'll take it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

video review: 'panda bear meets the grim reaper' by panda bear

It's good to be back in the game. Been off for a bit thanks to being sick - it sucked, trust me - but I'm mostly better now.

Next up is Billboard BREAKDOWN, then to start catching up my schedule... except this weekend is a Magic prerelease and next weekend is MAGFest. Hoo boy...

album review: 'panda bear meets the grim reaper' by panda bear

One of the topics I've discussed fairly often in relation to indie pop is something called 'regression to childhood', which in the simplest of possible terms is the tendency of some indie artists to revert back to childlike states in their music in order to wring out a more emotionally authentic experience. I'll admit right out of the gate that I'm not precisely a fan of this - I'm a fan of more experienced, mature songwriting and storytelling - but there are cases where this sort of thing can work. There have been some great emo, pop punk, and indie pop records that have come from this mindset, and capturing that childlike wonder at the larger world is something potent in its own right - it was one of the thematic undercurrents that made Swans' most recent record To Be Kind so powerful for me.

That said, if we're looking for an act that pushes this regression to the limit, you have to look at Animal Collective. And to be honest, I've got a very complicated relationship with the band, where at best I can say they're hit-and-miss. On the one hand they can occasionally tap into a sound that evocative and unlike any others, but on the other hand, it can sometimes feel like they're throwing crap at the walls and seeing what will stick. From that point, I've often found myself as more interested in Panda Bear, the stage name for Noah Lennox and who has consistently proven himself to be a slightly more grounded presence, or at least one that's willing to embrace more traditional song structures. He's at least more consistent than Animal Collctive, and as such he made his name with the 2007 critically-beloved Person Pitch. And don't get me wrong, it's a really good album, but it's also one that convinced me that Lennox might be a better writer of succinct, tighter pop music in the vein of Brian Wilson than the overblown grand attempts that really can't sustain much of their length. Believe it or not, despite the fact that his 2011 follow-up Tomboy might not hit as many transcendent moments, I actually consider it a tighter, more cohesive record, especially when it comes to themes.

It was also a record that showed Panda Bear going darker, and when I heard the title of this record, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, I expected that trend to continue. So what did we get?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 17, 2015 (VIDEO)

Dear god, this was a rough week - although, bizarrely, nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. Let's hope for the best next week, where I have a very manageable number of album reviews and I'm expecting to deal with the extended aftermath of Rae Sremmurd. Lovely. Either way, stay tuned!

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 17, 2015

So once again this week we're dealing with the last fragments of 2014, even as the new hits of 2015 begin to rise up the charts. And yet even despite the turnover to a new #1 - trust me, we'll get to it, I'm as excited as anyone - I can't help but look down past the justly deserved gains and see a whole load of crap bubbling up to the surface. Folks, there are some bad songs that dropped this week, and believe me, it's not going to be pretty cleaning them out.

Friday, January 9, 2015

video review: 'title' by meghan trainor

Honestly didn't think I would have a chance to get this out, but here we go.

Okay, Billboard BREAKDOWN is coming, so stay tuned!

album review: 'title' by meghan trainor

You know, outside of Billboard BREAKDOWN, I've never really talked at length about Meghan Trainor in any capacity. And considering her very recent pop culture ubiquity - and controversy - that's a little surprising. And part of me wonders why I'm even reviewing this record, mostly because from every single Trainor has released, there's been one message emblazoned across her music: namely, that it's not for me.

And yet, one of my goals this year is to delve more deeply into music outside of my comfort zone, so let's actually talk a bit about the woman behind the music. Believe it or not, even though Title is advertised as Meghan Trainor's debut album, she actually released three acoustic records while she was at Berklee, where she later dropped out to pursue her dreams as a songwriter. She eventually wound up in Nashville where she was writing songs for - and when I discovered this, I wasn't surprised in the slightest - Dan + Shay, Hunter Hayes, and Rascal Flatts. Note that these are all country artists - and more importantly, they're pop country that produce some of the most polished, safe music imaginable. More on this in a bit, but it was in Nashville she met Kevin Kadish, wrote 'All About That Bass', and the rest is history.

And let's make this clear, the success of Meghan Trainor has been meteoric - but again, I'm not surprised. 'All About That Bass' was being pushed to an under-served demographic and sounded like little else on the radio, of course it was going to do well, especially considering how non-threatening it is, but at the same time it wasn't exactly anything that got me interested in hearing more Meghan Trainor. Now that's not saying I don't like retro doo-wop or jazz or even bubblegum pop - you're talking about a guy who owns multiple S Club 7 albums - but for as much as Meghan Trainor's music prompted discussion and controversy for the lyrics, the music itself had never really interested me.

But I figured that I probably wasn't getting the whole picture, so I picked up her major label debut album Title and took a listen - what did we get?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

video review: 'ghost culture' by ghost culture

Ah, it's nice to find something off the beaten path that actually turns out to be pretty great. Seriously, give this is a listen, I really dug it.

Next up (either today or tomorrow, depending on RL) will be Billboard BREAKDOWN! Stay tuned!

album review: 'ghost culture' by ghost culture

So one of my goals this year is to be open to trying and embracing new genres of music. As much as I looked back on my year-end lists with some pride, I do feel that there are certain genres I haven't quite delved into as deeply as I'd prefer. And while this does mean there is definitely a requirement to explore more deeply into the rougher subgenres of metal (and really, I'm on the cusp there anyway) or the murkier sides of post-rock, a larger part of this will involve continuing my journey into electronica. Last year was very exploratory for me - be they the evolving mechanical sounds of Objekt, the warped melodies of Arca, the high-concept jazzy feel of Flying Lotus, or the retro charm of Aphex Twin, I found a lot to like last year.

As such, in the doldrums of early January, when I heard about the self-titled debut from Ghost Culture, I was immediately intrigued, especially by the comparisons to Andy Stott - whose album I unfortunately missed last year - and especially Todd Terje, whose record I thought was all sorts of cheesy yet moving fun. And considering we're in early January and I desperately needed to wash the taste of Rae Sremmurd out of my mouth, I figured what the hell and gave his debut a few listens - what did we get here?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

video review: 'sremmlife' by rae sremmurd

Ugh, fuck this album. Completely worthless.

Okay, next up is... honestly, not sure, depends what I feel like. Stay tuned!

album review: 'sremmlife' by rae sremmurd

One of the things I've always tried to do, as a music critic, is ascertain what is the purpose of the albums I review. I look for themes, ideas, or at least artistic intentions, and it's one of the main reasons I tend to be kinder than most to pop records. After all, most shallow pop music only has a limited purpose, and if it accomplishes that purpose, it's hard to argue it doesn't succeed at least partially. You might not get great pop music - I said a while back in my Special Comment defending pop that making a truly great pop song that will stand the test of time is often just as difficult as any other brand of music - but it'll pass the low bar. It's one of the reasons I can enjoy crunk or hair metal - sure, they aren't trying to be anything but dumb party music, but there's a scale of quality even there.

And sure, some of my rationale for this is pure populism - like it or not, as much as I might enjoy two-and-a-half hour experimental rock records with 34 minute songs or half-improvised acid and post-punk performance art pieces, the mainstream public's enjoyment of music is a lot narrower - they'll listen to a pop song for a season and odds are unless it really sticks with them, they'll forget it in a few months. And with attention spans getting shorter and shorter, that window of relevance for pop acts is always getting smaller - forget Andy Warhol saying everybody will be famous for fifteen minutes, try six seconds

Which takes us to Rae Sremmurd, a Mississippi-based hip-hop duo that made a big smash into 2014 with two hits: 'No Flex Zone' and 'No Type'. And from those singles alone and the fact that Mike Will Made It was supposedly their executive producer, I was dreading this album. Not only was this album being released in the dumping ground of early January, I got the impression any attempts at lyricism were going to be pitched right out the window when paired with one of my least favourite producers in modern hip-hop. But I had to be fair - hell, this could be the record that manages to surprise me and win me over for Mike Will Made It, right?

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 10, 2015 (VIDEO)

Man, that took way too long to release. Glad to finally get it out there.

Okay, next up is... oh god, Rae Sremmurd? Seriously, there's nothing else?

Monday, January 5, 2015

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - january 10, 2015

So one would think upon my return from vacation to take a look at the Hot 100 that things kind of went a little crazy this week. Not in the new arrivals to the charts - if anything, we have the least number of new entries to date, which hopefully means this episode will be a little shorter this week. No, the change was in what gained steam this week, because there were a ton of gains this week that seemingly came out of nowhere. Not only that, they were for songs that came out in 2014, some that had even fallen off the charts altogether! What gives?