Archive for the ‘Common’ Category

“Yes We Can”

February 3, 2008


2nd Chance for “I Want You”?

October 22, 2007

Squire: just wondering if the video that comes out this week might change your opinion… it’s just too good of a song for you to sit on the sidelines for much longer.

Congrats to Common…

August 20, 2007

While I was away, Finding Forever found itself #1 on the US Billboard 200! I wonder how much of that was influenced by the huge success of BE; still glad to see it up there.

I tell you one thing, I was itching to hear that album upon my return. “Start The Show” been on my mind’s ear on the regular. I still listen to “I Want You” with indifference, however.

I’ve also had time to read some other reviews now that the albums been out for a few weeks. I haven’t really read anything too surprising – interesting how most reviews seem warm in temperature but all conclude that it’s a dope album. Kyle made a great point regarding its sequencing that definitely works for me, although I didn’t realize it until he mentioned it: the juxtaposition between bangers and more laid-back joints definitely gives the albums sound a distinctive shape; overall, the bangers are minimal, but the sonically, you can hear the change as the album progresses. As Kyle said, you’re kind of lulled by “U, Black Maybe,” then “The Game” hits hard.

I’m currently bumpin’ the itunes (& UK) bonus track, “Play Your Cards Right,” with Bilal. I love the original track, “Under The Street Light” by Joe Bataan, who has made an appearance on TT. In addition to that horn sample, you know Karriem Riggins had to throw that Detroit bang into it.

Common & Patrice Rushen & Joe Henderson

August 20, 2007

  My roomie from college is a jazz man. And as such, he’s been a valuable source of information over the previous few years as I’ve delved deeper into that genre (Went to my first jazz show with him in 1998, Joshua Redman…also went with his then girlfriend and future wife). Anyway, a while back, maybe in 2004, John put me onto Joe Henderson, whose Page One as become one of my favorite albums (“Out Of The Night” is ridiculous).

Fastforward to the other day – I get back from a trip and instead of unpacking, I get caught in one of my zones where I need to research an individual’s discography, including random contributions credited to him or her. Joe Henderson was my target. (I couldn’t get “Blue Bossa” out of my head on the return trip). Lo & behold, my trek some how brought up a familar name: Patrice Rushen. Now honestly, the only thing I really know about her is she is an R&B singer/songwriter, whose credits include 1982’s “Remind Me,” which Ynot sampled for Common’s 1997, “Reminding Me (Of Self).” With me so far?

To my surprise, it turns out that Patrice Rushen broke into the music industry as a jazz musician, handling the piano and keyboards; she put out three albums (all on Prestige) as leader before breaking into R&B/Soul with Elektra.

The tie with Joe Henderson, you may have guessed, is that he was on saxophone for her debut album, Preclusion, in 1974. I’ve yet to get into the album but I’m pretty excited to hear it.

Found “Finding Forever” & Stevie

August 2, 2007

I’d be remissed to let this week pass without dedicating a few thoughts to Common’s Finding Forever, or as I conceptualize it, “Be, the extended version.” (I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner). Really, after listening to this several times through (the beauty of a brief album), it flows from the sound of Be nearly seamlessly. In reading the thoughts of other bloggers, some have intimated that Finding Forever contains throwaway joints from Be; I assume they mean that with a deprecating tinge. I wouldn’t go that far.

The things I love about Finding Forever:

First, I love Common’s optimism. This seems to be a characteristic that’s always been thumping in his chest, but really took off on Like Water For Chocolate – at least in the sense that it was readily tangible to his listeners. Again, I love his optimism. Not only for his perpetuation of love between people, respect for women and children; but also how he lets that conspiculously shine through his music. Secondly, I love Pops. Damn, Pops is always droppin’ knowledge.

I really like “Start the Show.” Are those steal drums?

I love “Break My Heart.” Admittedly, I think “And your clothes are tight, but you don’t seem gay/I said nah, that’s dude from N’Sync-ay” is cheesy…(Did he just call JT out?) But, that sample, as simple as it is, is brilliant. I don’t know its source…anybody? That sample = instant smile. Besides, it reminds of something Michael Jackson would be on.

Finally, I really dig “The People” (We need to get a Dwele post on here) and “Misunderstood.” I am usually skeptical when a producer attempts to sample a song as popular, and classic, as Nina’s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood;” it usually comes off as cheesy or tacky. However, dude does a great job of using that, especially at the end.

Okay, a few points of contention. One, I’m still on the fence with “I Want You.” While the hook is great, the rest of the track nearly bores me, sonically and lyrically. When I see Will.I.Am on a track, I always think “Like That,” which he geeked down…but his stuff is hot and cold for me. This track is warm… Also, I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about “Drivin’ Me Wild.” I really like Lily Allen on the hook. I hear this is set to be the album’s next single, and I think it fulfills the successful single formula. In the end, I’m going to end up liking this song.

Overall, and I’ll keep this short: I really like the album. If you peruse my ‘likes’ versus potential down sides, mathemetically it’s clear that it’s a good album (# of likes > # of points of contention). While it may sound similar to Be, it’s not…it’s Finding Forever. If anything, I interpret the comparison positively. Common & Kanye demonstrate consistency…and in the shoes of such a great album, consistency is an absolute compliment. And let’s be honest, those “points of contention” are minor, and within the context of the entire album, they’re less than conspicuous. They certainly aren’t skipped over…I am easily able to listen go to stop. Like its predecessor, it maintains a continious sound, and it packages it in a succinct, pleasant package to boot. As long as Common keeps producing quality like this, I’ll keep finding him…forever?

Okay, real brief. I listened to Stevie’s Where I’m Coming From today and damn man, “Think of Me As Your Soldier” is killer! Stevie knew how to make a love song! That’s actually a great album, front to back. (See: “If You Really Love Me” & “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer,” nice way to tie this in with Common, no? Check One Day It’ll All Make Sense and it’ll all make sense. If “Think of Me As Your Soldier” renders the heart weightless, “Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer” drops it right back into your stomach like a boulder. Still beautiful).