808s & Heartbreak - Kanye West
If Bob Dylan was Kanye West and he tried to record Blood on the Tracks in 2008, he might have made 808s & Heartbreak instead. Neither Bob nor Kanye can sing, and neither of them really care. While Bob channeled his graveliness into raw emotion, Kanye takes the opposite approach - covering his voice up in AutoTune, instead stressing the dehumanizing effects of grief and loss. This shift over the course of four decades may actually speak more about society in general than about the artist - after all, we now live in an age when more people might be devastated if Facebook shut down than they would be about losing a significant other. Kanye's trademark wit is sparse here - there are no Klondike/ blonde dyke rhymes - and the rapping that is present, especially from Lil Wayne, is kind of annoying. [Rap on a Kanye West record annoying?! Go figure.] But if you are home alone on that rainy night, this is it.
Plus, leave it to Kanye to make a video that includes women in day-glo body paint:
Single Ladies - Beyonce
Damnitt Beyonce, this song is catchy. I didn't realize I was a fan of Beyonce until I noticed this song has near 40 [forty!!!!] plays on my iTunes. And the video? Kind of awesome. Sure the choreography is sort of spazztastic and that Micheal Jackson-meets-Anakin Skywalker metal glove thing is freaky but I am pretty sure the only person capable of pulling it all off without being laughed at is Beyonce. Oh and If I Were A Boy? Also annoyingly catchy.
Without Justin Timberlake in tights:
David Cook - David Cook
This album would have been really good - if it was released in 1998. I have a lot of nostalgia for the '90s, so that probably helped when my friend sent me the YouTube video of David singing Mariah's Always Be My Baby on American Idol. I didn't really know and/or care who he was until I saw that video, but after watching it I thought he was pretty adorable. But it's one thing to cover '90s songs and quite another to release a whole album of them - but since his intended audience is "cougars" who last cared about music in 1998 and 13 year old girls who are too young to remember what music sounded like in 1998, he should probably do alright. And Johnny Rzeznik co-wrote the first song which only proves David probably would have been better off just releasing a cover of say, Iris, than actually having one of the Goo Goo Dolls write songs for him. Or if he wanted to be really brave, maybe he could have covered ...Baby One More Time - I so would buy that.
Oh, and also, why does his music video feature high schoolers? Isn't David Cook, you know, not David Archuleta?
Quantum of Solace
So I have really good memories of Casino Royale, mainly because I watched it for the first time in a rather nice hostel in Switzerland which had the most a.maz.ing instant coffee [for serious!], a week after I had the very James Bond-y experience of waltzing into the casino in Monaco, and just a few a days after I had walked around Venice, the setting for the film's finale. The fitting locales aside, I still thought it was a pretty quality movie [Daniel Craig decidedly helped this verdict]. But while Casino Royale was plot driven, Quantum of Solace shifts to action, action and more action - and the plot that is there is rather confusing [it somehow involves a performance of Tosca, the country of Bolivia, and a MI6 agent named Strawberry Fields]. That being said, there are decidedly worse movies I could have gone to see and I will most likely see the next movie in this franchise. As I said, Daniel Craig should probably be thanked for this.
But Jack White and Alicia Keys sound weirdly good together!