YG – Still Brazy: Album Review

YG is a west coast rapper born rapper from the city of Compton in California. At just 26 years of age, his rise has been steady but apparent as he moved from supposed one hit wonder with smash hit banger ‘My N***a’ to someone who isn’t here for a laugh and a joke. This album drew quite a lot of attention with the lead single ‘Why You Always Hatin?’ thanks mostly to the Canadian rap King Drake’s feature on the track. There has also been a lot of hype around this album in regards to his passion towards the Black Lives Matter movement and his vivid disliking of Donald Trump, of which a photo has spiralled across the Internet which he tweeted with the words “F*** Donald Trump” posted on a screen during one of his live shows. He’s left many rap fans questioning what else he had in him and whether or not he could really stamp his authority down as a big rapper with a commercial hit album, let’s find out if ‘Still Brazy’ could be his ticket to global fame or if it’s back to the drawing board for YG.

Pops Hot Intro – N/A /10
Anyone who honestly expects me to rate a 14 second sound bite is crazy, it’s just a man talking about someone who won’t leave Los Angeles, that’s it.

Don’t Come To LA (feat. Sad Boy, AD, Bricc Baby) – 7.5/10
The distorted robotic voices overlapping each other is very strange and gives a bizarre sound. The break out into the beat is absolutely brilliant and the beat itself just gets better and better, it sounds like a real west coast classic with that funk styled gangsta rap. The features provide a great mix on the song whether it be hard rap or great melody on the chorus. The song itself is all about the dangers of modern day LA and how YG himself is a big part of the gang crime issue. The chorus hook is smooth and groovy with memorable lyrics such as “doing things my mama said I shouldn’t be” when talking about gang crime and theft. It’s a hard hitter of a track and really cements the place of YG and his motives on this album as a true thug in his home town. The gun shots at the end help fade into the next song and therefore follow the story thanks to the conveniently titled following track ‘Who Shot Me?’. It’s a solid start to the album without a doubt.

Who Shot Me? – 5.5/10
The beat on this song is fairly simplistic but has been altered to create a more hardcore version of a slow jam hook. The chorus on this song is dreadful, absolutely awful. How can you just repeat “who shot me” and expect it to click into a decent chorus? It’s just baffling how he decided it would be a good idea. The verses are better but still aren’t the best I’ve heard and could do with a bit more punch to them considering the clearly frustrated attitude of YG for this song. The bridge part is the highlight of the song as this harmony is added in and gives a soft tone to this otherwise frustrating song to listen to. The monologue at the end seems a bit forced but at the same time it is quite moving and a bit of a deeper insight to his struggle. Much like the last song, it also helps flow into the next track much more smoothly.

Word Is Bond (feat. Slim 400) – 7/10
A really slick beat on this one and fantastic bars, what isn’t there to love? Oh I know, the fact that YG is once again incapable of doing a chorus that doesn’t just consist of him repeating the song’s title over and over again, it’s an awful habit which makes me want to give up on this review. It’s also a crying shame because every other aspect of this song is great and it goes in really hard, especially the feature verse of Slim 400 who absolutely owns it. I really like the meaning of the song as he raps about being recognised and used for his money, stating that “I know I’m rich” and how he doesn’t need reminding of the fact. Cool little song this one and would be ranked so much higher if YG knew how to write a chorus.

Twist My Fingaz – 8.5/10
Another west coast classic jam beat with YG rapping over it about violence and shooting people, glorious. With that in mind, I absolutely love this first verse and it provides one of the best lines I’ve heard this year. “Why all of these rap n****s wanna be thugs, never seen them in the hood only see them in the club” is absolutely iconic and comes from the perspective of someone who has clearly seen it all in terms of gang violence. YG goes off on this beat, he’s on fire here and it’s probably his best performance on the album. The beat has that electronic wobble on it in the chorus which reminds me of an old school Snoop Dogg song who is clearly an inspiration to YG. That said, he doesn’t hold back firing shots at those who use Dr Dre for success. “The only guy to make it out the West without Dre” is just savagery and calls out some of the biggest rappers going such as Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar. He clearly doesn’t have a care in the world and has the talent to back up what he says, great track this.

Good Times Interlude – N/A /10
Once again you can’t give snippets like this a rating but they will help to contribute towards the end score because it’s apparent they are there for the aid of the listener to hear the unraveling of the story YG is telling.

Gimmie Got Shot – 7.5/10
This is another song where it leaves you questioning how YG hasn’t been noticed by the mainstream fanbase more often, it’s borderline genius with his lyricism as he raps with expert flow about how so many people ask for things without doing any work for them, using the term “Gimmie” to highlight it. The verses are, once again, as hard as anything I’ve heard from a rapper this year and the beat is west coast influenced but with his modern twist on it and it’s seriously hot. Even the chorus is cool and catchy and I really like the way he changes the style up for it by introducing almost a chanting style to the chorus as if he wants you to sing along to it it’s a very subtle but effective technique. My only qualm with this song is how it appears to fade away without trace, I was expecting a big finish and it kind of just disappears into the next song without an explanation. Despite that it’s still a very good song and keeps the ball rolling on what is starting to look like an extremely solid project from the LA rapper.

I Got A Question (feat. Lil Wayne) – 7/10
Getting Wayne on the album is a big coup in itself so this will leave anticipation levels very high for what direction he chooses to go in on this track. The beat is electronic but it’s not in your face, it’s smooth and has that sway style to it, in my opinion it’s a decent little beat. As for the lyrics and the rapping, his arrogance comes into play but also his stress about being famous is evident as he talks about arguing with friends, police and women. His verses are very good and bounce off Wayne very well who arrives on this song in his typical fashion of walking onto the beat with confidence. He has a great verse also and wraps up the song effectively, it’s a good song but not a fantastic one.

Why You Always Hatin? (feat. Drake, Kamaiyah) – 10/10
The flames that come from this song are unnatural, one of the true bangers of the year without a doubt. Drake is the man who seems untouchable at the moment, everything he’s involved with seems to go down a treat and this is no different. His verse is fantastic and talks all about his fame, all about him ruling his city and how he’s a global star. The chorus is hot and the snares on the beat are fantastic, the whole hook is just amazing to be honest. YG’s verse is great, it’s a bit slower paced than he usually goes with but has a brilliant rhythm to it and keeps the track flowing masterfully. Not much more I can say about this one other than calling it an absolute banger and undoubtedly the highlight of the album but that’s no disservice to the album, this song would be a highlight on anyone’s album.

My Perception (feat. Slim 400) – N/A /10
14 seconds long, interlude, no point reviewing it because what is there to review? It’s a small snippet of a conversation which helps the balance of the album and moving it from track to track, that’s about it really.

Bool, Balm & Bollective – 4/10
It’s a very odd song title and the song’s outlandish style follows suit. It’s a bizarre beat with bizarre lyrics and that’s all there is to it. It’s a real head scratcher and I find myself distracted from the lyrics because I’m just wondering what’s fully going on with the hook. I’m not a big fan of the overlapping vocals which happens way too often for my liking and puts you off from what is otherwise a decent flow from YG. If I’m being honest, any song with a title as ludicrous as this was never going to be hugely successful and this is the example, poor really.

She Wish She Was (feat. Jay 305, Joe Moses) – 4/10
This beat seems quite electronic again and like he’s trying too hard to be experimental and daring and it’s just not worked out for him. I do, however, like the deep toned piano tune which adds a nice twist to an otherwise questionable beat. A forgettable verse from YG and his features here so really this song doesn’t have that much going for it. The sooner he snaps out of this wannabe experimental and electro vibe attitude and he sticks to what he’s good at the better. Although he does have a usual habit on this song, a god awful chorus with no invention and constant repetition. So he’s taken the worst part of his usually traits and put it on a poor piece of experimentation, yikes.

YG Be Safe (feat. The Homegirl) – N/A /10
FOUR SECONDS LONG LIKE WHAT EVEN IS THAT. A tiny voicemail message of “the Homegirl” telling YG to stay safe and then bang, next song. No context, no explanation, nothing.

Still Brazy – 8/10
The title track of the album and you can see why, it seems to be the quintessential YG song, with that snare heavy west side beat and satirical yet hood strong lyrics. What I like most about this song is that he has allowed the hook to be more subtle and quiet to make way for his talented rapping ability and he doesn’t disappoint. He puts in some great bars and about 2 minutes in he goes absolutely off with some supremely quick rapping and holds it down for all to hear. A key part of this song is that although there is a chorus, you can’t tell that and he keeps the song flowing brilliantly and makes it sound like one huge verse. It’s a great track which has placed a lot of focus on the flow and bars of YG and he delivers with authority on it, very well done.

FDT (feat. Nipsey Hussle) – 10/10
It’s one of the worst songs ever if you think of actual quality, but the message of it, oh my the message is heroic. Sorry if I come across as biased on this one but I’m really not Donald Trump’s biggest fan so hearing this has made my life. A chorus which consists of “F*** Donald Trump” will do well in my eyes. It’s a diss track for the ages in my opinion and it’s a song which has been needed. I have no doubt it’s a song that will hold a big standing with a lot of people because yes it’s all funny to mock Donald Trump but it’s clear that YG is genuinely concerned and in his verses he speaks on Mexico, children, black people and all other groups of people who are sure to be affected by his ways. A public service announcement demanding that people don’t vote for Donald Trump, I LOVE IT.

Blacks & Browns (feat. Sad Boy) – 8/10
This song is another huge message, YG is clearly ending this album with a bang and putting that gangsta attitude to one side by pleading for people to come together against racism, whether it be in the streets, in the police force or in the White House. This song is such a huge political message and I can only hope that it got out to the right people. What makes this even better? Sad Boy’s feature. Speaking on “his people” as a proud Mexican man it’s a passionate verse full of anger and emotion. Who knew that YG had this side to him when listening to some of the earlier songs on this album? Messages aside it is also a very good song with a cool beat with great flow on the lyrics. The ending to the song is harrowing and chilling as a clip is played of an innocent man pleading not to be shot before being shot by police, fading into the next song.

Police Get Away Wit Murder – 8/10
Hard beat is an understatement, this hook is here to show a huge middle finger to the police force. The title of this song is enough to understand what’s going on here, it’s absolute fury of the American situation with innocent black people being killed by police officers. It’s a song which will, once again, scream out to millions and be incredibly relatable given the severity of the situation and the widespread popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement. “I really got a story this ain’t a spoof” is a hugely moving line suggesting YG has personal experiences of the police brutality and so is trying to get his message out and raise as much awareness as he can. The way he has ended this album is commendable and it will stick long in the memories of those listening.

Overall – 7.5/10
An album full of controversy, attitude and agenda, it’s sure to have the people speaking, particularly the last three songs on the album which all address hugely relevant and important issues in America at the moment. Not to mention that ‘Why You Always Hatin?’ is one of the bangers of the year and also features on this jam packed album. There are, however, a few dud hits on this album and they bring the overall rating down on an otherwise very solid album which had all you could hope for from a West coast black rapper who feels strongly about his morals and rights.

Jake Bugg – On My One: Album Review

Jake Bugg is one of the UK’s emerging solo artists and ever since his eponymous debut album in 2012, he’s caused quite the stir in pop music. Often referred to as a young Bob Dylan, sometimes even by himself, Bugg has a distinct sound to his voice which has made him stand out from the crowd of generic singers and have his own style. He is on a mission to not only make country music a more popular thing but also modernise it and become a standout figure in modern music culture. After a short break he’s returned for his third album which has been described as his most heartbreaking album to date. Is the quality up to scratch or is the Nottingham singer going to fall flat on his face with this experimental gamble? Let’s find out as we listen to ‘On My One’ by Jake Bugg.
On My One – 8/10
The country guitar strum at the beginning of this song really is chilling and sets that dark and emotional scene for this song which in itself is heartbreaking and a real insight into the life of Jake Bugg. I absolutely love the openness of the song and how it gives you that inside look into how he feels about his fame. The chorus may be a real downer but is a harsh reality of his life situation at the moment and how he will feel lonely and negative emotion irregardless of fame and fortune. Local fans of his will also adore his mentioning of home town Nottingham, suggesting that he chased his dream despite being from an area that doesn’t have the biggest music scene. As a gutsy, open book of an album this is a fantastic introduction. Will it carry on like that or will the mood lighten? Let’s find out.

Gimme The Love – 8/10
And just like that, as if the last song regarding depressing and lonely thoughts disappears from memory and we have a real rock anthem with a blistering pace. It does have a bit of an arrogant touch to it which does seem confusing considering the fragility of the previous song but that doesn’t take anything away from how great this song is. We also hear the debut album sound of Jake Bugg’s voice as he isn’t fully clear and, much like The Strokes’ style, sounds like he’s singing through a walkie talkie at times. It is borderline rapping the way he goes in the verses and be more than holds his own, a great energy to this one. Already two songs in and I love this album but I have to say that positionally he could have located this album better and made it fit into more of a structure that makes sense and flows.

Love, Hope And Misery – 8.5/10
The hard snares are so distinctive at the start of this song and seem so stuttered in their style but give the song a distinct sound. This is probably the most heartfelt and emotive song Jake Bugg has ever released and has all the maturity of a seasoned veteran. It’s such a knowledgeable vision when digging deep into the lyrics and hearing the true turmoil he goes through considering his tender age. The chorus is absolutely fantastic and is very easy to sing along to but also has that heart breaking feel to it with the violins which kick in at specific parts of the song. As a fan of his music, this is the sort of thing I have hoped for, a passionate modern twist to the Bob Dylan label he’s been given and his voice is very reminiscent of the man himself in certain areas. Fantastic song to go with a fantastic start to the album. More of the same please, Jake.

The Love We’re Hoping For – 9.5/10
Dark, mysterious, country lane music at its finest. Crisp, raw guitar playing which has those natural cries to it and it just sounds brilliant. This song really gives out the sense of being a real life live recording rather than something that has been edited and digitally tinkered with. Another sad and dark song with a catchy chorus which sticks in your mind, I’m really finding it hard to fault him at the moment as it is just top quality song after song. It’s exactly what was needed for Jake Bugg to cement his status and continue his rise up the music ladder. Lyrically it’s moving and powerful once again, a tale of a girl plagued by fears and the effects it has on her love. He is showing off with this one, it’s just brilliant.

Put Out The Fire – 7/10
Reminds me of his debut album with the upbeat country strumming and high pitched voice. The guitar playing is exemplary and is yet another string to the bow of Jake Bugg. I love how he varies the pace of his voice and can switch in a flash from being on the cusp of rapping to elongating a note and holding it together brilliantly. I think the song itself works for the better by being short and no longer than it is because it doesn’t have the chance to drag on like I feel it inevitably would if he did another verse. It cut off at just the right time, although it wasn’t a magnificent song it was solid and deserves its place in the album, the guitar playing is fantastic and the vocal range is some of Bugg’s best too.

Never Wanna Dance – 8/10
A different flavour on this one, the harmonious vocals at the start of the song sound space age and like he’s floating on a cloud, he follows it on with his beautiful tone in the verse, much higher than anything we usually hear from him. He’s complimented very well by the instrumentation which isn’t as basic as we usually hear from him and he experiments a bit more on this song with electronics and different elements. This song is once again regarding love and the question of how he truly feels. The lyrics are strong willed and give you something to think about as to whether or not all of the love is true and meaningful. There’s a great bridge on this song too with the saxophone providing one of many highlights on this song. Very experimental and also very cool, nice to hear something fresh and original once in a while. Great song once again.

Bitter Salt – 5/10
The instrumental sounds a bit like it’s going to break out into New York, New York at the start and it’s all a bit much. This is a bit of a snoozer unfortunately, I got bored of this song by the time the second verse started and wanted to move on, but for your sake I carried on. The chorus is nice I like that bit but the way he repeats “it’s on” about 57000 times in the pre-chorus and the bridge almost pushes me over the edge of lunacy, I’m just urging him to stop yet he will carry it on. The guitar solo is a bit T-Rex and a bore because we’ve heard it all before. The only poor song so far on this album.

Ain’t No Rhyme – 8/10
Listen up, folks, Jake Bugg is the sickest MC this country has produced. Spitting bars like there’s no tomorrow over a fairly cool beat I have to admit, it’s a great mixture of hip-hop and funky guitar it just seems to click. He would fit right into the scene if this song is anything to go by as he raps about crime and women on the regular with an added level of swagger and personality. All jokes aside, it’s actually quite good and I’m so confused that I’ve actually called Jake Bugg rapping a good thing. But somehow it is, he has good rhythm with it, a catchy hook and a really nice beat, good on you Jake. This song is, dare I say it, the most risky genre switch from an artist I’ve heard in a long long time because if he messed this up, he would have become a walking meme for the rest of his career. But luckily for him it worked and sounded really fresh and cool.

Livin’ Up Country – 7/10
Forget all that rapping business, back to what Bugg does best, singing about being a country boy. I love the western theme that he takes on and the best part of it is that there’s no half measures with it, he takes the theme and runs with it. The lyrics, vocals, instruments, everything is so country-fied and it works really well again. My only complaint will be again the positioning of the song, following what is basically a rap song with this seems more than odd, it’s just baffling and like he’s picked the best songs and chucked them on an album. It’s another pocket rocket of a song which is less than three minutes long yet packs a decent punch, not quite on the level of the first few songs, but still good nonetheless.

All That – 6.5/10
Soft, delicate, beautiful. A song which you can easily hear is full of real emotion and passion as his voice strains with heartache and the struggles he’s endured in his turbulent life. It is also a gorgeous story about how a girl sacrificed everything for love and how greatly he appreciates her for that. It’s a song which could really do with making its mind up in all honesty though because every three lines the motive of the song changes and in the second verse he talks about her drifting away. Lovely song and all that but at the same time you feel it went off on a tangent as he changed the subject numerous times. It was like he was signing three different songs at once and it was hard to keep up with.

Hold On You – 4.5/10
I just sat through this song waiting for him to actually say something, a verse in which he repeats every line and a chorus in which he does the exact same thing doesn’t work in my head as a coherent song. Even the instrumental can’t be a saving grace to this one which is a really disappointing finale to the album and I fear it’ll bring the overall rating down heavily just from a smattering of laziness on this, the last song.

Overall – 7.5/10
If the album was of the quality of the first four songs all the way through it’d be the best album released in the past two or three years, but sadly it tailed off towards the end and it does make me wonder if he has purposely placed his best songs at the start to make it all better. Regardless, those songs are fantastic and I really mean that, The Love We’re Hoping For could well be the best song Jake Bugg has ever done and if I’m being honest the filler tracks on here aren’t that bad it’s just in comparison they really do lack something against the others. What’s worth noting is the daring attitude of Jake Bugg to tackle numerous genres in one album, and not just leave himself in one avenue of music. For that he deserves an awful lot of credit because it’s a brave move and it’s one that paid off. This album ranks very nicely alongside his other two and keeps him moving along nicely as he becomes one of Britain’s best solo artists.

Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: Album Review

Radiohead are a world famous rock band from Oxfordshire in England who are still going strong after almost 25 years in professional music. The band were hugely successful in America as well as the United Kingdom due to their incredibly powerful but relatable lyricism. They’ll always be remembered for huge hits such as ‘Creep’ or ‘No Surprises’ as well as their ability to create truly world class albums. Projects such as ‘Kid A’, ‘OK Computer’ and ‘The Bends’ are critically acclaimed works which have been identified as some of the best albums ever produced. After a five year absence they are back with this their ninth studio album and as far as commercialising and selling this album, they haven’t been too involved and seem focuses solely on creating music for their fans to enjoy as opposed to sales figures. Let’s see if ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ can replicate the success of the band’s previous works.

Burn The Witch – 8.5/10
Starts off beautifully with this progressive drum beat and the distortion which is added slowly into the instrumental. Thom Yorke’s voice is as crisp, haunting and mystical as ever in this, the lead single from this album. The build up in the instrumental really leaves you with an anticipation of a Paranoid Android level of heavy drops and shredding guitar chords but we end up getting none of the sorts. The song itself is an old tale of burning a witch at the stake and the impact it has on a medieval village, it’s a great song which has so many brilliant aspects to it. I would describe it as ‘proper Radiohead’ personally. The ending is so distressing as we get this huge build up once again of straining violins, progressive drum beats and electronic waves only for it to abruptly stop at the end, perhaps signifying the death of this witch. Fantastic introduction to the album, if this is anything to go by we will be expecting a stunning melancholy record.

Daydreaming – 8/10
Soft, subtle and so in fitting with the title of the song. It’s a song which will perfectly describe and unravel what it’s like to be in your own little world, away from all the troubles. The lyrics are in agreement to this but are very bleak and sad considering the supposed beauty and relief of daydreaming, as Yorke states “daydreamers, they never learn.” I love the transitional piece after the first verse as that strained electronic wave is introduced again and appears to create an instrumental only chorus which is something that could only really be pulled off on an album like this one. A commercial hit would need lyrics, a catchy hook and a whole host of other factors in a chorus whereas Radiohead have had that, this is purely for the beauty of music. The way to describe this song would be space age; you get eclipsed inside the music and find yourself lost inside your thoughts, it’s simply brilliant and so effective considering the subtleness and the limited use of lyrics. It’s a 6 minute song that I would gladly allow to last for an hour, mesmerising. The last few seconds are a very muffled demon like tone, perhaps trying to unlock itself from your thoughts into the real world, a magical touch.

Decks Dark – 7.5/10
Once again with the space age and wondrous theme, it’s like the last song never ending and just carried on with a slight change up in Thom Yorke’s tone and the beat of the drums. The chorus has a slight addition of life to it and sounds like the soundtrack to the opening of the gates of hell, a faint but still apparent electric guitar riff builds up throughout the song and these chilling choir harmonies become more distinct than ever through the bridge section. The song takes up more of a traditional band sound in the second verse as we start to hear the generic instruments used more clearly and more regularly. The guitar is a key aspect of this song as is the piano which creates a dark subliminal message to this song and it’s subject matter with its mystery. By the end it does seem slightly like a mesh of noise but I don’t think this is an accident, the band appear to have done this to create that head scratching element and it works. For me this song isn’t as brilliant as the first two but it’s still a very good song and fits in brilliantly with this theme of wonder and the Unknown.

Desert Island Disk – 8/10
The title is the name of an incredibly popular game and radio podcast in this country in which people can only choose a certain number of songs to take with them on a desert island to and listen to for the rest of their time. This doesn’t appear to follow suit and instead has a much more stripped back concept, a far more basic style to what we usually expect from Radiohead. Describing his journey as “an open doorway” and using other metaphorical terms such as “a window” or “across the street” to describe the journey of life this song provides the refreshing message of taking life as a blessing. “As I sleep for 1000 years” being a key line to this song as he implies that it’s a long long time once you die so to enjoy life while you’re here is crucial. I did really enjoy the more standardised nature of this song with the acoustic guitar and soft drums so that we could just listen to the lyrics which were stunning. Great song, great message, you don’t get cheery messages from Radiohead often so that’s always a bonus.

Ful Stop – 8.5/10
Why it’s been misspelt I’ll never ever know, all I know is that it’s a complete change of scenery to what we have heard before on this album from Radiohead. The gradual build up of sound wave heavy guitars and rhythmic drum beats along with alarming violins goes on for quite some time and leaves you hanging off a cliff face waiting for what is to come. A more bleak message returns in the lyrics as Thom Yorke states “you really messed up everything” in his first line and then goes on to call it “a foul tasting medicine.” The “medicine” could be the painful moments he’s endured in his life and how he hates having to continually suffer from them. I absolutely love the direction the song goes in when it drops and all the instruments fully kick in with clarity, it sounds like an Alt-J track once it all happens and as before mentioned of this song, it gives us a new flavour to Radiohead and perhaps shows the alternate issue to the subject matter, that the Unknown and all involved with mystery isn’t calm and peaceful. Te harmonies which make up the latter stages of the song are very good and add something different. It’s also worth mentioning that the last 5 seconds sounds like a spaceship getting ready to leave an alien planet, which will further add to the hysteria of Thom Yorke’s mindset for this album. It’s another really good song and a refreshing change up to the album dynamic.

Glass Eyes – 6.5/10
The piano bit at the start sounds like the ending to Tuscan Leather by Drake (listen to it) which made me laugh if I’m honest. They fade slowly and take a back seat as Thom Yorke provides a soft, mellow tone with his voice. The instruments soon pick up and work hand in hand with his voice, particularly the violins which are heart wrenching and ever the more emotional with every chord. The shortest song on the album and seems slightly like a snippet for something else in comparison to the mammoth tracks we’ve heard before it on the album. Despite this it is still a calming sound and a decent song but it could be seen as one you forget quicker than the rest. It’s also quite difficult to make out what Thom Yorke sings at times even with all he onus on his voice, his elongation just seems to make some words unidentifiable.

Identikit – 6/10
The instruments on this song are the standout feature, particularly the staggered drum beat which work brilliantly with the flow of the song. At around 30 seconds we hear the first example of actual lead singing on this song by Thom Yorke and the wobble on his voice makes him sound like he’s singing a Bollywood hit at the beginning. He does sort his vocals out eventually, however and adds more variety to the tone of his voice. The chorus of the song is pretty dull in all honesty, even with the choir sound backing vocals and it’s a relief to hear it end and move into another verse. The second verse paves the way for a brilliant electric guitar riff which just gets better and better as it goes on and eventually turns into a solo as the verse finishes and the song cuts and descends to nothingness. It’s such an abrupt ending to the song it almost shocks you back into action after a drowsy few minutes listening to that song. It’s okay but nothing more than that, the score would be lower if not for the drums and guitar chords.

The Numbers – 7/10
Sounds like a noise Windy Miller would make at the start before beginning to take shape about 20-30 seconds in and having a conventional sound with the drums and guitar. Listen to this song and tell me the guitar riff isn’t remotely similar to that of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway To Heaven? It’s almost identical! That is making me downgrade it already because it’s all I think of now whenever I hear the song, regardless of how good it could be. It’s a refreshing change to the song at about 3 minutes after what felt like the longest verse in the history of mankind. This change does provide a more mysterious and haunting element again which is what this album has strived for throughout. The introduction of the violins again is a bold and effective move as we get a completely fresh approach to the song itself and it makes the whole thing all the more enjoyable. It gets better the further the song goes on which is a great habit to have of course and as the basic music structure stops with around 30 seconds to go we have the album theme reappear once again with this muffled laughter, perhaps being aimed at the person whose thoughts it is in a mocking and belittling way. It’s another great touch and ends the song with you asking yourself all sorts of questions regarding what it could all mean.

Present Tense – 7/10
The acoustic guitar from the offset sets the scene of this song along with the harmonic background vocals. It could also be the first time I’ve ever heard a rattle used on a professional music piece and not in a secondary school classroom to the tune of Yellow Submarine. I have to say it is great though and becomes the centre piece of the song for a while as its sweeping sound adds to the bizarre element of the song. The whole thing comes together brilliantly once Thom Yorke starts to sing and uses his lyricism to sing about conflict and how he often reacts to it. As the song moves more subtly and bright in the middle section with higher key guitar playing and harmonies we hear a new element of the song and a concept of trying to rise above all the issues you suffer from in life. The song does eventually unfold into a nice love song but with a harsh undertone of things not quite working out in the long run. It’s another good song without a doubt and again has many many layers both musically and lyrically.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief – 5/10
Hands down the most bizarre name to a song you’re ever likely to see and quite frankly I just don’t see the point of it as a title. I mean sure, it’s memorable for how long it is but nobody will be able to name if fully without practice, it’s almost as annoying as the 1975’s latest album title which I’m sure you all know. Anyway, onto the song itself I guess. I absolutely love the muffle on the drum beat which sounds like crashing waves, it creates such a satisfying sound. It’s again a simple structure with the piano keys which are slow and emotive, allowing for Yorke to sing exactly what’s going through his mind. This song is, however, his worst vocal performance on the album in my opinion. There are just too many sections where he sounds crackly and really shows signs of age because we have to remember his voice is so unorthodox and for it to be strained like that for over 20 years there’s always going to be issues as the years go by. Well I never thought I’d say this given the title, but it’s a highly forgettable song, it just passes you by without much trace of it demonstrating any of what has been sang about before it on this album. This time the last moments of the song just seem pointless and forced whereas elsewhere in the album the spaceship sounds or mysterious whistles have been put there for a reason, this seems needless. Found it hard to enjoy this song but can sort of see why it’s included in the album.

True Love Waits – 9/10
From the first key you just know this song is going to rip out your heart and soul and make you reevaluate your whole life. It’s a chillingly beautiful song about love and the desperation to stay with someone you care about so dearly. An explanation of all the things he will do to make things work, information on how much he needs her. The description of her portrays her as a far from perfect woman as he talks about her “crazy” smile or her “swollen” feet which on the surface may seem odd but at the same time does hold massive importance and meaning. He loves her imperfections and wouldn’t change her at all, it’s also his way of saying people can’t chase perfection because it doesn’t exist, a harsh reality but a lesson almost all of us could learn from. This really is a song which could make anyone crumble, a soul crushing, heart breaking, emotionally fuelled ballad. It’s Radiohead’s way of writing a love song which I absolutely love. A colossal way to end any album.

Overall – 8.5/10
This is an album for the ages. It’s not one you’ll see selling out at HMV, it’s not one you’ll hear on Radio One, it’s not even one you’ll listen to casually. It’s an album you must be emotionally, mentally and socially prepared for. It’s not often in modern music you listen to an album which isn’t just songs the artist thinks are good, this album has been crafted like a sculpture with the intention of unraveling a story at the end, making those who listen to it think about the themes of wonder, mystery, the Unknown, imperfections, conflict and longevity. It’s one hell of a journey listening to this album, from the space age beauty of Daydreaming to the gut wrenching pain of True Love Waits, it’s an absolute whirlwind of emotion and my word do I respect it for that. As a music album, it’s close for my album of the year so far. As a creative project, nothing will come near it. So you can add this to the growing list of truly remarkable Radiohead albums, a band not for everyone’s taste, but boy can they release some top draw albums.

ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP: Album Review

ScHoolyboy Q is a German born rapper who has spent the past 5 years building his reputation as one of the world’s biggest rap names. He is a part of the California rap group known as ‘Black Hippy’ which involves such rappers as Ab-Soul, Jay Rock and, most famously of all, Kendrick Lamar. At the young age of 29 years old he has already had a largely successful career which is only due to get better, and after the huge commercial success of his last album ‘Oxymoron’ which featured huge hits such as ‘Man Of The Year’ and ‘Collard Greens’ there has been a huge amount of hype around this album. I for one, can’t wait to review this album and see what direction Q decided to go in now. Blank Face LP.

TorcH – 6.5/10
Song starts with repetition of about 10 people saying ‘Blank Face’ which is the theme of the album as a whole. We then begin to hear a faded jazz instrumental and a cameo line from Kendrick Lamar, a fellow member of rap group Black Hippy and his influence really is felt not only on this song but on the album as a whole. The dynamic of the song then changed with a gradually built up electric guitar chord which begins to take over the track until Q wrestles it into place and begins his opening verse. The song struggles to find any form of rhythm or flow until the actual beat is brought in about a minute in and once that happens we see the song take a bit more of a place. This doesn’t mean the whole thing isn’t just pure insanity, it leaves you scratching your head as to what you had actually just heard. It’s full of distorted tones, voices and harmonies but somehow it works well, it’s just ScHoolboy Q and if you don’t get that then you won’t like him or his music. It’s an okay start to the album but it just lacks that spark, hopefully he finds it later on.

Lord Have Mercy – 7/10
Groovy little interlude section into the next song which has real soul and attitude mixed in together, it’s a fantastic beat with those glorious backing vocal harmonies along with the strategic and astute snares which mould the song into the best possible form. A religious aspect to Q which we haven’t seen before and the title would suggest him asking for forgiveness for not only things he’s already done, but for things he’s going to do in the future so the seriousness of the statement really is questionable considering what we already know about ScHoolboy Q and how he acts. Irregardless, this is a good addition and can offer a decent set up to the next song.

THat Part – 8.5/10
This is a crack den of a song. An absolutely disgustingly hard beat which is absolutely impossible to not bounce to and hit a trustworthy dab. It is, for me, an outstanding track and a proper ScHoolboy Q song with all the correct ingredients which have made him successful before: energy and aggression with a slightly twisted and sadistic undertone. I’m going to amaze you all here, there is one thing which ruins this song for me, and it’s name is Kanye West. He hands down quite possibly the biggest heap of trash I’ve heard all year from a rapper on this verse, and I’ve listened to Desiigner’s mixtape and the bars on that are still better than this out of sync, out of touch and quite frankly out of depth verse. Saying “ok” 6 times isn’t going to set the tone for the verse, especially not when the next line involves the word “chipotle”. Other than that, the song is fantastic, Q’s verses are on the mark and the beat as I’ve said is as filthy and hard as you can get.

Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane – 9/10
This is a song everyone who listens to Q has already heard for quite a while and it gets better every time you hear it. Aggression, arrogance, violent, harsh, you name it this song has it. I love the way this song feels like it’s about to go too far with Q’s lyrics and the delivery getting sharper and then he snaps back into action with either a rendition of the line “blank face” or by perhaps elongating a tone and starting from scratch. This is a strategy which works very well on this song and gives Q numerous opportunities to showcase his fantastic rapping talent. It’s the song where this idea of “Blank Face” becomes all the more apparent as the theme of gang violence, gun crime and murder in rough areas come into prominence and the “Blank Face” is in fact somebody disguised while partaking in these crimes, to increase the intimidation factor. The transition from Groovy Tony to Eddie Kane is just brilliant as its almost at the snap of a finger and we have a new beat and new bars to follow suit. It really follows the stereotype of driving down a gang fuelled area with the car stereo blasting to a song like this. That doesn’t take anything away from the quality of the flow and the lyrics, which highlight his rise to fame and how people have gone a different way to him and so he brags about his fame.

Kno Ya Wrong – 8/10
Love the teasing out of sync piano at the start, it just gives you a flavour of what the song is going to be like. It’s not your every day Q track, if anything it sounds like a Tyler, The Creator ballad with Q’s occasional flow. This doesn’t mean it’s bad at all, it’s a really cool and funky beat with those horns and the smooth piano, the switch once again halfway through the song is an absolute blessing and adds yet another dimension to an already highly experimental song. It drags a little bit but its impact on the album as a whole doesn’t go unnoticed, great song. Once again seems like a drug influenced song and that gives it extra flavour and sound.

Ride Out – 5.5/10
And we are back to the ScHoolboy Q we know. Hard snare heavy beat but not to the extent where it sounds like a Future song or like it’s been given Metro Boomin’s treatment, this is more well thought out and has far more depth to it. It also sets up the flow brilliantly, especially in the chorus which is decent but really not worth shouting about which is a shame really. Verses are strong though and do everything they can to save the song. Unfortunately it is very easy to grow tired of this song and that’s what happened in my case, okay song but the worst on the album so far. Not even Vince Staples can save this.

WHateva U Want – 5/10
Swayed beat which rolls fully out with attitude and one hell of an ego, one of my favourite beats on this album but it does get ruined for me by Q adding more and more to it and eventually drowning out the better part of the song. Catchy chorus though with the lyrics such as “Dolla Dolla bill yo” used regularly in a high key. The song loses my respect when it starts tempting itself into more of a trap/house beat after the chorus is done and it seems to just get lost and stand out as an irritating part of the song. By the end it left me angry, it sounds like Skrillex has gone in and had his awful way with this originally fantastic beat and tried adding all this electronic bass heavy tone to it and it doesn’t work. The backing vocal is creepy at best, especially at the end but I think by the end that’s what it’s going for.

By Any Means – 5/10
Underground vibe and a little help from his friends. Kendrick shows up again on the hook which is always nice to hear but again it’s hardly memorable, would rather he sack it all off and give us one verse on a song rather than all this teasing. In fact Q, put Kendrick’s black hippy remix verse of THat Part on the album instead of Kanye’s piece of agony. Anyway, back to this song, that just about sums it up, not a lot to it and it passes you by very very quickly. For me, the highlight is the deep tones of the man who’s name I’ll never know, but he shows up on songs from A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar regularly, and here he provides the “By Any Means” line for us. The fact that guy is on this song is good enough for me but as mentioned, him being the highlight says it all.

Dope Dealer – 5.5/10
Oh hi, Metro Boomin, I was just talking about you. In fairness, this beat is twisted and brilliant, it has so many layers to it and can forgive some of the pretty poor lyrics. Love the feature of E-40 though he has a great verse and shines through an otherwise questionable vocal performance. The chorus is draining and the fact he says “dope dealer” around 574 times is slightly irritating to say the least. Annoying because I really like the beat and it deserves so much more than what was given in my opinion but the lyrics have let it down massively.

JoHn Muir – 8.5/10
This is some 90s gangsta rap type track and my god I love it. The beat is once again unique and groovy, which seems to be the word to epitomise this album and the lyrics are hardcore with a mix of arrogance. The chorus is as cool as anything you’ll hear in the next couple of months and it clicks straight back into a powerful and quite frankly top quality verse. I live for the addition of what I’m going to call ‘The Kendrick horn’ in the bridge as it gives the song even more than it already has. Well done Q, very very well done.

Big Body – 3/10
What in god’s name is this? It fully sounds like something you’ll hear in a Super Nintendo game from 1994 or in some 20 year old arcade game. I just don’t get it, sorry for this but I’m so confused at this song, I just don’t know what it’s trying to do. It genuinely sounds like he isn’t taking it seriously, like he’s going to record this for a laugh and then bin it after, but somehow it’s made it on the album. Saying people aren’t hot or cold all the way through the chorus is just awful, it’s not how a good song will go. Speechless, and not in a good way, more a how the hell has somebody allowed this onto the album kind of speechless. Ah well, moving swiftly on…

Neva CHange – 6/10
I had to listen to this one a couple more times to give it a proper rating and here’s why, it’s another cool and smooth beat and that’s all well and good but look who’s rapping over it, ScHoolboy Q. This is a rapper who is renowned for his aggressive and deep toned voice so his area of expertise is high octane hype beats, not ride out funk vibes. Nevertheless it’s still a good song and it’s apparent to see Q has calmed it down with the anger on this song but with that comes highly passionate and angry lyrics regarding child support, police brutality and gang violence which are all extremely serious issues over a beat like this? It all seems odd. I quite like the song but it’s not one I’ll be saving onto my phone for future listens unfortunately, much like the rest of this album, it’s good but lacks something and I don’t know what.

Str8 Ballin – 5.5/10
Stuttered beat with much more of a hype feel to it, the way he moves onto this song as if the last couple didn’t even happen really is baffling. Ignoring that, it’s what we’ve all come to expect from Q nowadays and it is ok but it won’t be one of his classics, the song loses its way completely in the chorus and sticks out like a sore thumb until the second verse kicks in and it’s very hard to ignore that part. It passes you by very quickly with very little to say about it other than really the meaning of the lyrics in which Q explains why he lives this lavish lifestyle, mainly down to him coming from nothing and so he wants to enjoy this fame and level of wealth as it is something he never thought he’d achieve. That much is admirable but he only really touches upon it as subject matter once or twice throughout the song which is a shame really. Meh.

Black THougHts – 8.5/10
Starts off with a phone call in which one of his friends speaks about the issues of black culture at the moment, much in fitting with the title of the song. It moves into another drug infused slow jam which sounds like a B-side to A$AP Rocky’s last album but is used to maximum effect by Q as he does a much better job here. I love the change of pace on this song as Q takes his time with his bars and makes it seem like he’s speaking to you rather than rapping at you. It really does seem like a monologue of thoughts that have been running through his head and that much is fantastic. He doesn’t shy away from matters that could offend, such as drugs, sex and racism. A late return to form on this album perhaps? Either way this is the most inventive thing I’ve heard from Q in a while, certainly on this album and I really like it.

Blank Face – 7/10
That bass guitar is as funky as it gets, I love it. The whole atmosphere of the song is beautiful and makes you want to snap your fingers and sway your head from side to side, imagining you are floating on a cloud without a care in the world. However, it does just seem like a 3 minute introduction in some sense, you’re sat waiting for something to happen that’ll blow your mind and it never really makes it. Despite this its a cool track with impeccable use of instrumentals and backing vocals, of which there are many. I had to chuckle at the 25 mini ScHoolboy Q voices saying ‘Blank Face’ too, that was brilliantly satirical. Yeah, I’m not mad at this song but it did feel slightly along the lines of an interlude sometimes.

Overtime – 5/10
Anderson .Paak does a great job on this song with his soulful R&B sound on the chorus and hook. This is a very sexually driven track but to be honest the lyrics are very very boring and have a smattering of dull arrogance and rapping about sex for the sake of it. The chorus is unoriginal and a repetition of a weird and quite frankly big headed line. It also drags on unnecessarily longer than it needs to. The song is borderline futile lyrically but the hook and the beat boost the rating slightly.

Tookie Knows II – 7.5/10
The piano works a treat on this the album closer and gives it a really fruitful and inventive sound which is great to hear from Q as I was really starting to lose faith in him here. The beat is simple but wonderfully effective and again allows the song as a whole to challenge cultural issues, predominantly gang violence in which the catchy and worthwhile lines “me might die for this shit” and “we might go down for this shit” are repeated and of high importance for subject matter. The features are good and add something new to the song but Q stands out with his verse as the best, it’s not often he does get outdone in all honesty and it’s no different here. Good ending to a head scratching album.

Overall – 6.5/10
This really is an irritating yet enjoyable listen. As a ScHoolboy Q fan you’ll listen to this and enjoy it for numerous reasons, many of which involve his daring attitude to persist with music which he seems good rather than what the mainstream public deem good and that in itself is admirable. Not only that but he has stuck to his ways in some songs which is great but also shown his variety and his softer side, opening up to his thoughts and his more emotional attitudes to cultural appreciation. With all this in mind, it’s an okay/good album but the reason it isn’t great will remain a mystery. It’s missing something, that something was on his previous album ‘Oxymoron’ which many believed was one of the best albums of that year (2013). We don’t know what it is that’s missing but it’s something, that spark which makes a good album a great project. Either way I enjoyed it but will feel a bit downhearted that it hasn’t smashed all expectations due to the quality of hip hop already this year.

Top 10 Oasis songs

Oasis. One of the most iconic British bands of all time and true pioneers of the Manchester music culture which has dominated the industry for decades. Formed in 1993 by brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, their impressive yet turbulent career lasted 15 years professionally where they played live to millions of adoring fans. They also think an awful lot of themselves, claiming to be “the best band in the f*****g” world on about 5 billion different occasions before being modest and admitting they’re “only the 4th best band ever” in the words of Noel himself. They influenced a generation with their stripped back, britpop style and rock and roll culture, just lads from working class backgrounds who fought off the dole and took over the world. It’s almost unfair to give them a top 10 on their songs because they had so many songs which truly defined and hallmarked their generation of music but I’ll give it my best shot.

10. Songbird
Without a shadow of a doubt this is Oasis’ most underrated and under-appreciated song. Who cares if Liam wrote it? It’s a blinding song at the end of the day and what a modern day Beatles hit would sound like. It’s also a very impressive vocal performance from Liam himself who is very proud of this song as it gave him his platform to prove his worth as a songwriter and in my opinion at least, he didn’t disappoint. The only issue with it is that it’s two minutes long, it leaves you wishing there was another verse just so we could hear those beautiful backing keys in that chorus or the subtly melodic two chord guitar playing. Liam Gallagher describes himself as “the perfect mix between John Lennon and John Lydon” in his vocals and his Lennon-ness is on display here, a highlight off the 2002 number one album Heathen Chemistry.

9. Fuckin’ In The Bushes
One of the greatest intro tracks on an album there has been and ever will be, it’s an absolute explosion of genius and sheer talent from the off with the crisp and heavy drum beats before the now iconic guitar riff provided by Noel Gallagher. It’s the perfect intro and has opened all their gigs ever since its release as the opener on Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants, the band’s 2000 release and their fourth studio album. Sampling the 1970 film Message To Love – Isle Of Wight, it’s aggressive yet fairly motivational lyrics are understated and overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the instrumental. The song has also been used on the climatic scene of iconic Hollywood film Snatch and was used by Bowling For Soup as their opener for the Get Happy tour. It’s influence has been felt all over the world and proves that incredible instrumentation can rival any lyricism.

8. Wonderwall
I’m not a massive fan of this song, but how could you possibly leave it off the list? Anyone who does it is either a liar or is attempting to be indie and cool. The 1995 hit is basically the national anthem of England and has provided nothing but joy for millions and millions of people. It’s the easiest song in the world to not only remember but also play on guitar and the song in itself has become an Internet meme with the classic “anyway, here’s Wonderwall” line. In the words of Noel Gallagher himself, “I don’t know why it’s so popular, you’ll have to ask someone who likes it” and I think that’s the point, nobody knows why but it just is. Similar to the way Mr Brightside by American rock band The Killers is such an iconic track, Wonderwall has spiralled and become arguably the most famous song of all time. It’s also one of Liam Gallagher’s best vocal performances as basically all of the attention is on him and his voice, just how he likes it. “What the f**k is a Wonderwall?” is another Noel Gallagher quote about his own song but that almost adds to the beauty and the hysteria of the song, it’s a mystery but we will all love and cherish it forever.

7. The Importance Of Being Idle
The most unique and original sounding song Oasis have ever released. It sounds like something out of a 50s Western film and has been embraced and welcomed as one of Oasis’ best post millennium tracks. A modern classic in its style and approach as the lyrics speak of laziness but welcoming that laziness and being happy with who you are, no matter how bad other people think it may be. Noel’s vocals fit the song much better than Liam’s would have due to his more stateside sounding voice than the ‘I’ve never ventured out of Manchester’ tones of his younger brother. The structure of the song is made almost to be like a story, the tale of a man who began to lose everything around him. The chorus is a very uplifting and real vision of life and all of its wonder as he questions the expectations set upon everyone and they should instead be happy with “a bed beneath the stars that shine”. It’s without doubt the best song off of an otherwise indifferent 2005 album named Don’t Believe The Truth, which also matches with the message of this song in a way. Some will disagree, but I really think this is an absolute hit and is perhaps Noel’s finest work post 2000.

6. Acquiesce
Translated to accepting something reluctantly but without protest, this song is all about the struggles of a relationship, whether that be in love or in familial terms. Die hard Oasis fans will often say that the song is about the turbulent relationship between Noel and Liam with them both singing on the song and Noel’s brilliant chorus lyrics stating “we need each other, we believe in one another” which have now become a hallmark in Oasis history. It’s the opening song on their 1998 release ‘The Masterplan’ and is what can be described as a ‘proper Oasis tune’ in that it has that infectious rock and roll guitar structure and the raspy and elongated tones of Liam Gallagher’s voice in the verses. It’s an amazing song which has over the years been a smash hit when performed live as it always brings the crowds in. It’s not a particularly stand out vocal performance from either of the Gallagher brothers but what makes this song so great is the stripped back rock and roll sound which we have come accustomed to with Oasis over the years, not to mention that the lyrics in the chorus are memorable and relatable as well as being very very easy to sing along to.

5. Don’t Look Back In Anger
It’s Noel and Liam’s mum’s favourite song and she says as cries every single time she hears it. It’s perhaps the song which should have taken Wonderwall’s place as the most famous Oasis song but that’s not me saying it isn’t big. It’s still a monumental hit and probably their second most famous song but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of Wonderwall in terms of quality. The build up to the chorus and then the belting of “and so Sally can wait” is my favourite 10 seconds in music history and it gives me goosebumps on every listen. Despite very popular belief, ‘Sally’ is not ‘Sally Cinnamon’ which is of course the debut single of fellow Manchester group The Stone Roses, a band which influenced Noel and his song writing greatly. This is a song which carries such a beautiful tone and message with it and is probably one of the greatest showing of lyricism ever from Noel in his emotion and passion placed into the whole song. “Please don’t put your life in the hand of a rock and roll band” is such a poignant line and something that will surely stand with fans for so long in that you need to be yourself (look out for the next song in the list for that reference) and don’t devote yourself to anyone else. Oh, and Liam wrote the Sally line apparently so he’s going down as co-writer for that.

4. Supersonic
Oasis’ first single. 1994. The Roses are gone and now there is a convenient hole in the music industry for a proper British band to step in and take over. Enter Oasis. A song about anger, growing up on the dole, living in a poor area yet still loving life and making a great time of it. “You need to be yourself, you can’t be no-one else”, always remember that. It’s just sheer arrogance from start to finish and that’s why so many people love it, it’s the music equivalent of Liam Gallagher strutting into a bar full of the world’s best musicians at that time and punching every last one of them. The guitar playing of Noel Gallagher is also something that deserves an enormous amount of credit as he manages to play an understated yet still shredding solo at the end of the song and also have a quite brilliant riff all the way through. The song which will stand as Oasis’ rock and roll bow and the moment they never looked back.

3. Slide Away
It’s Paul McCartney’s favourite song of all time. PAUL MCCARTNEY. The lead songwriter of the most famous band of all time. That’s how good Slide Away is. The most bizarre thing about this song was that it was never released as a single off the record breaking debut album Definitely Maybe. The reason for this, in the words of Noel himself, is because “you can’t have five [singles] off a debut album, Michael Jackson had five singles on his album and he has a monkey and a jet.” Noel describes it as one of his “biggest regrets” not releasing it as a single because of how incredible a song it really is. There’s no debate about it, this is also Liam’s best vocal performance ever, it’s just so crisp and he never misses a note in a very challenging song to sing. The song is a brilliant rock love song with relatable and memorable lyrics, what more could you want? Oh yeah, a complete fluke of a genius guitar solo. In the ‘Stop The Clocks’ interview of 2005, Noel Gallagher revealed that he had accidentally reversed the tapes and so he heard the guitar riff in reverse and ended up keeping it like that because of how bizarrely it perfectly fit in with the song. It’s one of the longest songs they’ve ever released but nobody will ever tire of it, it’s one of those songs which will never ever age, it has a timeless sound to it and will be remembered and enjoyed for generations on end. If a Beatle is calling it his favourite song ever it’s not bad.

2. Live Forever
The song where it all changed for the band. A song full of beauty and understated arrogance. It’s Liam’s favourite Oasis song and is one he often refers to even to this day, using the song’s title as his acceptance speech for Oasis winning their NME lifetime achievement award. It’s a fairly self explanatory message really, a song about enjoying your life and making it feel like you’re going to live forever, no negative thoughts and no looking back. “Maybe I don’t really wanna know how your garden grows” is a strange lyric in its basic form but I interpret it as being held up and held back by worrying about other people’s problems rather than focusing on your own. That motive in itself is valid reasoning for it to be in the list let alone the brilliance of the song itself. Often described as ‘the indie Oasis fan’s favourite song’ but the reality of it is that it’s truly a captivating and heroic track, one which has influenced so many of the artists of today and has been stamped as the song which began the dizzying soar to fame for this little bunch of ego-maniacs from Manchester. The moment they moved from flat to mansion, from rags to riches.

1. Champagne Supernova
My funeral song, the most beautiful and magnificent song you’ll ever hear from Oasis and yet it’s a song of such simplicity. A tactic which began with the Beatles and moved over the years to Oasis, proving that even the most simple chords and and limited lyrics can make such a passionate and heartfelt song. “How many special people change, how many lives are living strange?” are words that will stay with you for life and can be appreciated by absolutely everyone in the world. Perhaps the greatest feat of this song is how it transitions from slow, acoustic ballad to a loud, raw anthem with the unbelievable electric guitar riff and the almost shouting voice of Liam Gallagher. “Cos you and I we live and die, the world keeps spinning around we don’t know why” is the most truth that has ever been sung in music. When someone you love dies, or even you die, there’s an expectancy that the world just stops and stands in attention, never to recover. Noel’s lyricism of this song uncovers the harsh reality of life, nothing changes if someone dies, it all carries on and that’s a sad fact, a fact which Noel had to write a song about. It’s a song which will stand the test of time, it’s alongside the likes of Stairway To Heaven and Yesterday as an iconic and passionate ballad about life and all of it’s struggles. No single human being will never ever understand my love for this song but I’ve tried my best to explain it to you.
Honourable Mentions:
Cigarettes & Alcohol
She’s Electric
Half The World Away
Go Let It Out
The Masterplan

Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums of all time

Throughout the development of the rap and hip-hop genre we have seen hundreds of truly world class albums from top draw music producers and rappers keen to etch their name in musical folklore. Only a select few of these become recognised as the very best of all time and can be discussed for generations. Nobody truly knows which one is the best of them all, but this is my perspective of it all. These are, in my opinion, the 10 greatest rap albums of all time.

10. Snoop Dogg – Doggystyle:

This is the debut album of loveable Long Beach, California born rapper Snoop Dogg, which was released way back in 1993. It was a real eye opener for fans of the genre as a new hero was about to burst onto the scene with his satirical verses and infectious character. People were aware of Snoop Dogg’s talents when he contributed massively to the work of Dr Dre’s breakout album ‘The Chronic’ (1992) so there was quite a lot of buzz around what Snoop could deliver. The album became recognised as one of the most important and groundbreaking of the 90s as it furthered Snoop’s reputation and brought G-funk into the mainstream audience. It also made the West Coast a dominant force in the early 90s over their Eastern rivals. It debuted straight at the top of the Billboard charts and sold over 800,000 copies in its first week of sales, which was the record until Eminem took it for ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’ in 2000. It has been certified as 4x Platinum and has sold 11 million worldwide copies thanks to huge tracks such as ‘Gin & Juice’, ‘Doggy Dogg World’ and ‘Who Am I?’. It became a stalwart for regular people as Snoop himself mentioned that “I can’t rap about something I don’t know” meaning he stuck true to his hometown and his upbringing and ran with it for this album.

9. OutKast – Speakerboxx/The Love Below:

The only album ever released by a hip-hop act to win the ‘Best Album’ award at the Grammy’s. Not just ‘Best Rap Album’, but the best of them all. That is an achievement which literally no other rap act has achieved and that is why this album proudly sits on this list. OutKast released this double album in 2001 which was a real treat to fans considering the 3 year break they took previously to this project. Following up from their previous album ‘Stankonia’ was always going to be difficult as that was a critically acclaimed record and helped the group receive widespread recognition. But they managed it, they raised the bar and never looked back. 40 songs in one album just seems absurd but this whole album is full of underplayed gems and of course, three of the group’s biggest hits in ‘Roses’, ‘The Way You Move’ and their biggest song ‘Hey Ya’. Any album which features those three is going to be a hit because they were the songs which gave OutKast their image and their sound, a soulful but gritty rap style with iconic choruses. It was clear that frontman Dré’s decision to go by the new identity of André 3000 became a wise move as it seemed to revitalise not only him but the band as a whole in this masterful project. The group would only go on to release one more album after this before splitting and going their separate ways, perhaps recognising not only that their time was up, but also that they would never quite replicate the success of this album.
8. Jay Z – The Blueprint:

This was the sixth studio album by legendary rapper and producer Jay-Z and he wasn’t holding anything back on this one. Released in 2001, it is often regarded not only as Jay’s first huge commercial success on an album, but also as one of the most influential rap albums of the decade due to it paving the way for other New York rappers to go after the South Side rose to dominance around that time in hip hop. The album itself featured the lead single ‘Izzo (H.O.V.A.)’ which was simply brilliant and was a real commercially staggering release. As well as this the quite brilliant ‘Renegade’ came from this album where Jay-Z does perform incredibly well on a very good song but is also allowing the spotlight onto Eminem who’s fantastic verse takes the plaudits. That takes nothing away from the genius of the song, however which provides a crucial role in this album as a whole. This album became commercially successful through its range of synth-rap bangers and the soulful samples used, such as in ‘Hola Hovito’ or ‘That N***a Jigga’ and this gave Jay that platform to run with and create a truly masterful album. Oh yeah, and it’s home to the greatest rap diss track there has ever been with ‘U Don’t Know’, the song of course which is well known as the song that ended Nas’ career.
7. N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton:

Way back in 1988, a little known group of California born rappers released their breakout debut record, they named it Straight Outta Compton and themselves went by the name of N.W.A. It meshed every single musical code the West Coast stood for, gang rhythm, funk and flow, they had it all. Dr Dre, Eazy E, Ice Cube and co. were a force to be reckoned with in an instant with this absolute classic of an album. The lead single itself was named after the album and became a legendary anthem for the group who later had a film dedicated to their incredible rise to fame from the rough streets of Compton, California. It has been ranked as the fourth best rap album of all time by Rolling Stone and also went platinum not only in America but in the United Kingdom as well, which is some fear for anyone to achieve let alone a bunch of young rappers. It’s a youthful vibe of energy and rebellion as these young men released huge tracks that were not only aggressive but also rule bending. ‘F*** The Police’ became a massive hit and was a clear message to all those listening that N.W.A weren’t the biggest fans of the American police departments. Despite this, they also had immense talent, every last member of the group had rhythm, flow and ability to rhyme proficiently and they bounced off of each other so well it was just perfect. ‘Express Yourself’ was an example of that with its funky mix and high responsibility on maintaining flow but they all do that superbly, creating a brilliant song as a result. The album as a whole is a masterclass and as before mentioned, was so good they named a film after it so it must have caused a stir around the world.
6. Dr. Dre – 2001:

Despite the title, this is in fact the album Dre released in 1999 and was his second studio release. When talking about mainstream gangsta rap, this is where you come. The most iconic and well known album of it’s time, it contains 2-3 of the biggest rap songs ever created along with other magnificent tracks. The standouts of this record are, of course, ‘Still D.R.E.’ the lead single of this album which featured close friend and colleague Snoop Dogg, ‘The Next Episode’ again with Snoop alongside him and ‘Forgot About Dre’ which contains an incredible verse from Eminem as well as lively and top notch bars from Dre himself. These three tracks are at the forefront of this record and make it stand tall as a truly iconic piece, something that will never rust and will be listened to and enjoyed for generations on end. The production value demonstrated here epitomises Dre himself, his hard work but also unbridled talent helped create a masterpiece of sound and artistic design. It’s never going to be soft, easy going listening but will be guaranteed to get any party started, if anything just for the legendary Snoop Dogg line in ‘The Next Episode’ (I’m sure you all know what I, talking about). I’m running out of superlatives for this so I’ll say this, the fact I’ve put this in as Dre’s standout project ahead of The Chronic tells you all you need to know about the genius of this release, it’s sublime.
5. 2Pac – All Eyez On Me:

This is the 4th studio album released by the then alive Tupac Shakur, better known as 2Pac. It was released on February 13th 1996 and became known as the most commercially successful album Pac ever released. It was also the first ever double-full-length hip-hop solo album released for mass consumption after being issued on two discs. It contained the most singles of any 2Pac record, those included the track which the album was named after ‘All Eyez On Me’ and the cult classic ‘California Love’ which has gone on to become one of the truly great songs in the history of hip-hop. The album itself has been charted in the Billboard 200 for a total of 105 weeks since its release and was certified platinum a few years ago, showing the impact it has had with the public even today. It was the phenomenal variation of Pac which made this project so special, the ability he had to be a real gangsta rapper and then transform in a second to a soulful and cultural prophet of his time, showing his true genius and weaving his magic on every song he touched. ‘Ambitionz Az A Ridah’ is an example of that gritty, gangsta style which Pac developed after growing up in the streets of Harlem, whereas ‘Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find’, the closer of the album was a much more meaningful piece and showed Pac’s preaching side as he showed throughout his life that he was desperate for humans to be at peace with one another. His legacy, along with this album, will live on forever and with him we remember this fantastic album which has been widely regarded as his greatest work.
4. Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP:

This was Eminem’s 3rd studio album and was released on May 23rd 2000 in Los Angeles, California. It’s as hard hitting and heartbreaking as an album could possibly get and shows the vulnerable side of Eminem along with the fame it has brought him. Nobody had witnessed something quite like it when this was brought along as he didn’t use his rap ability to go on and on about chains, fast cars and models. In actual fact, he made a mockery of that and would write songs in homage to that style almost in a satirical way. That is how ‘The Real Slim Shady’ came about, the lead single off this album and a key cog in the Eminem wheel of songs. This high octane, bouncy sound twinned with a higher keyed than usual Eminem rap vocal made for really brilliant listening and became one of the key songs of that year. What staggered people was how he would go from that style to the depressing, soul crushing path he took during ‘Stan’, perhaps his most emotionally fuelled song. Written by Eminem from the perspective of a fan, it shows us the devotion of some fans and how they can dedicate their lives to one man (Slim Shady in this case) and go to extreme measures to be recognised. It was also seen as a bit of a message to his fans that due to his incredibly busy and hectic lifestyle, he can’t spend as much time as he would like to talking with his fans. This album broke all sorts of records as it became the fastest selling studio album by any solo artist in American history, selling a mind blowing 1.76 million copies in its first week alone. It also won Best Rap Album at the 2001 Grammy’s by an absolute landslide and was nominated for Album Of The Year. The album still maintains a huge feeling with fans to this day, as numbers of sales have now tipped over 32 million worldwide, numbers that were previously unheard of in the rap industry. A guru and role model of his generation, this was the finest work of Eminem’s huge discography and also ranks as one of the best ever albums.
3. Nas – Illmatic:

The 1994 debut album by New York rapper Nas is often referred to as one of the true pioneering greats of rap music. MTV rank it 2nd in their list of all time hip-hop albums and hip-hop connection and their readers voted Illmatic 3rd overall. It’s a masterpiece of public message and concern, a plea to focus more on poverty across the streets of America, the struggles of growing up in Queensbridge with all of its gang violence and desolation of urban areas. It’s such a personal piece yet is so relatable for those living in desperate times and gave them a window of opportunity, a belief that they too could release an album of this magnificence. The truth of the matter was that they couldn’t, simply because Nas was a one of a kind rapper, the kind of talent and genius mind you don’t stumble across every day and he devoted all of that into this album. It eventually went Platinum thanks to the incredible work he put into it and as a result became a global superstar. Hit tracks such as ‘Life’s A Bitch’ or the colossal hit ‘N.Y. State Of Mind’ which blew away the minds of millions who listened to it with his revolutionary and never before heard production value. Not only are his verses red-hot throughout this album, he also had the fantastic talent of finding the perfect beat to match his lyrics. Using ‘One Love’ as an example, he provided a slightly softer element than he would for ‘Life’s A Bitch’ or for ‘Represent’ because he was fully aware of the situation he wanted to paint for the listener. Although Nas did go on to achieve great things in his career, he would never be able to replicate this work again, but that’s one hell of an achievement to aim for given the sheer brilliance of this album.
2. The Notorious B.I.G – Life After Death:

This album is a history maker, it was released posthumously 16 days after his death in March 1997 and became an instant classic. With it only being his second studio album and the follow up to the hugely successful ‘Ready To Die’ album there was anticipation in abundance for the release of it and to see how he would have continued to path his legacy. As a rapper, there is no better in my personal opinion. The fact he released one album while alive and had the second in the pipeline following his death yet still became known as the greatest to ever live suggests and confirms his supremacy in the hip hop genre. This project, along with his debut, revolutionised rap as we knew it back then and became part of a lasting story, almost like a sequel to ‘Ready To Die’. It was a huge discovery into the sub-genre known as mafioso rap, which artists such as Jay-Z, Nas and Raekwon had all attempted before with large success. When Biggie released this, however, they were all pushed to one side and made to witness true history in the making. The track list is perfection, it balances pop and gangsta rap to an absolute T and provides a new kind of sound for avid pop or rap listeners as he mixes the two with incredible proficiency. The iconic singles ‘Hypnotize’ and ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ feature on this blockbuster record which sold a staggering 690,000 copies in it’s first week. Even after death, The Notorious B.I.G was living up to his name, becoming a global icon that would be relevant until the end of time. Many have described this album as the gateway for rappers such as Kanye West, J Cole and Drake to add a pop funk style to gangsta rap, something that without Biggie, nobody would have dared to even consider. Jay-Z and Ice Cube are just two of the huge names influenced so greatly by this album that they dedicated bars or beats from the album to use themselves as a tribute to the great man and his magnificent work on this project. All in all, it’s a phenomenon. An album that will stand the test of time and be judged not only as one of the greatest rap albums of all time, but musicians of all genres stand and notice the wonder of Christopher Wallace and his majestic work on ‘Life After Death’.
1. Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy:

Simply the greatest rap album ever to be crafted. From start to finish it demonstrates a masterful mix of flow, timing, production and most of all, impeccable track listing. It’s perhaps the most underrated element of an album and in this case, the album becomes a motion picture. Starting with ‘Dark Fantasy’ and a harrowing speech from Nicki Minaj who is acting out a role of a princess, this album fades softly and subtly into life with a great intro, only made better by the next songs and their placement. ‘Gorgeous’ which features Kid Cudi, is a funky beat with an electric guitar influence and brilliant rap verses. This moves into quite possibly Kanye’s most influential and inspiring song ever, ‘POWER’. He acknowledges his genius and his talent, growing it all into this public service announcement that he is in fact here to inspire and revolutionise. ‘All Of The Lights’ features just about everyone in music and is a club banger for the ages, a hype track which will live in infamy. It’s a release of passion, aggression and desire as he raps about his girlfriend cheating on him. Following this song is a continued spree of energy with ‘Monster’ which has, for me, the only negative point on the whole album (Jay-Z’s diabolical verse). Despite this it also has the truly magnificent verse from New Yorker Nicki Minaj, who completely slays the competition and announces herself well and truly on the rap scene. ‘Devil In A New Dress’, ‘Runaway’ and ‘Blame Game’ are beautiful and quite remarkable pieces of music which demonstrate the softer and more emotional side of Kanye’s lyrics and songwriting ability, particularly for ‘Runaway’ and ‘Blame Game’ which show an incredibly passionate Kanye rapping and singing over a harmonic and soft piano tune. The speech in ‘Blame Game’ is iconic and brigs back the demons of his past, being cheated on and made to feel irrelevant by a previous partner. It provides a perfect diversity to the previously upbeat songs he had earlier in the album. By ending on the wonderful ‘Lost In The World’ which samples Bon Iver he provides a space age but glorious ending along with the next song which compliments it brilliantly. A technical masterpiece from start to finish and I struggle to believe anything will touch it.