Me Like Bees – “The Ides”
This Joplin, Missouri based band has been releasing quality music since it’s inception in 2009, but have reached new heights with their recent album, The Ides. The title track for the album is one of the most accessible and well produced songs from a low-key band that I’ve heard recently. The best part about the Bees’ musical style is that there is always something entertaining going on. Whether it’s the slightly european accent the lead singer takes on, or the energetic outbursts that serve as the song’s chorus, there is always something catching the listener’s attention during a song.
The Front Bottoms – “Lipstick Covered Magnet”
If there is anything about an artist I can appreciate, it’s the ability to create loud, expressive songs that aren’t too aggressive and in the listener’s face. Lipstick Covered Magnet accomplishes this by maintaining a loud, high energy song, while also making it very fun, and carefree sounding. Especially in the beginning, the song just sounds like it could be friends singing in a basement together, having the time of their lives.
The lyrics to this track are night and day to the sound of the song. Its idea is nothing new in the music world: the singer recounting the events of his dysfunctional relationship with an unnamed significant other, but it has its dark moments. The chorus, for example, is “And I’m scared I’m gonna die as lonely as I feel right now.” The song’s narrative doesn’t have a happy ending either, with the subject and his significant other eventually splitting up. How the listener is affected by this song is wholly dependant on the whether he or she focuses on lyrics, or sound.
Common – “Be (Intro)”
Common is one of hip hop’s best kept secrets. How many artists can say they had an album executively produced by Kanye West, and still be described as underground? There is no real reason that Common never broke through into the mainstream. He brings a deep, smooth voice, intelligent lyrics, and good production to the table. But for some reason it was never meant to be. Despite his lack of publicity, Common has many tracks that could very well have launched him to stardom, Be (Intro) being one of them.
Production wise, Kanye West creates what very well might be my favorite hip hop beat. The slow crawl of the singular bass guitar eventually picks up into a faster catchy riff, providing the structure and rhythm to the song. From there a poppy, upbeat synth is added, a faint piano piece rattles off in the background, until eventually the song explodes into an orchestral symphony of violins. There are many reasons Kanye is one of my favorite artists, and Be (Intro) is one of them.
Common deserves distinction for his part of the track as well. He does what he does best, delivering conscious lyrics, while managing not to sound like he is preaching to his fanbase. Lines like,
“look into my daughter’s eyes
And realize that I’m gonna learn through her
The Messiah, might even return through her
If I’m gonna do it, I gotta change the world through her”
show the thought process of a pensive man like Common, in regards to typical issues everyone thinks about, like their impact on the world. In Common’s case, he realizes how important youth is in the world. He sees his daughter’s thought processes as pure and uncorrupted by the world, and knows he must protect her and her innocence so she can have a positive impact upon the world.
This track has production years ahead of it’s time, socially conscious lyrics, and a talented MC heading it. The relation of talent to commercial success on this song will never cease to astound me.