1.30.2009

fripodding and heavy rotating: the best of the best

So I didn't think I'd make it in time to do the final countdown in the Heavy Rotation series. But here it is, the best of the best, and it wasn't easy because I feel down deep in my stick recuperating bones that I've slighted somebody. Once again, I'm judging these albums based on listenability--listening to an album from beginning to end without skipping songs.

Through this journey, I sadly had to leave out some albums. I have to set some limits for myself ya know. I actually let myself go last week and stretched a supposed top 10 list to a top 15 with special exceptions. In this case, it will be a straight top 15 and a few notes about the album. Before I begin, let me name a few artists who did not make the list, or any lists I've made so far but I do have complete albums and truly enjoy: Gavin DeGraw, The Fugees, Sara Barellis, Talib Kweli, Will Smith, matchbox 20 and Gnarles Barkley. Perhaps in friPod posts to come, I'll shine some light on what I like about these artists and/or particular albums.

I'd consider those to be honorable mentions, but I didn't name their respective albums. I think it's safe to say that those artists are also on my trust list, that if they came out with an album tomorrow, I would buy it knowing I'd enjoy. It's always tough making these lists because I really have to consider what I really love about each album. Some of it is lyrical. Some of it is composition. Some is beats and production. Performance. Length. And of course, all of these together, it makes it difficult. But without further procrastination, here's my final list, last edited about 37 minutes ago according to my feelings towards them.


15. John Mayer--Continuum - I was never really a fan of this guy, but some struck a chord between his voice and lyrics and I became a follower. Plus he's from Connecticut so I gotta support.


14. Deitrick Haddon--Crossroads - It'd be criminal of me not to include at least one gospel album, and I almost went with Kirk Franklin. But over the years, I've come to listen to this guy a bit more also because of his voice, storytelling lyrics which are sometimes straight out of the Bible.


13. Daft Punk--Discovery - A musical journey through remixes, guitar riffs and computerized beats... and if you've seen the movie version, then you can see the music and it's brilliance. Is it safe to say they have a style all their own? And that I love it? I'll say it. I love it.


12. Panic! at the Disco--A Fever You Can't Sweat Out - I'll be honest, when I first heard this album, all the songs sounded the same. But after really listening, I was entranced by the lyrics and their energy. I still couldn't tell you the titles of the songs, but I know the song when I hear it.


11. The Roots--Rising Down - I started following The Roots a few years ago, and I still haven't heard everything they have done. I know they don't seem very high on my list, but I couldn't leave them out, and I really love this album for their hard hitting, painfully honest piece of work. Again, much love to production by ?uestlove and the genius rhymes of Black Thought (and friends).


10. Fall Out Boy--Infinity On High - I've recently been a converted fan, but these guys do play some great music. I may not understand what all the songs mean, but if it means having a good time, doesn't it really matter? Truly enjoyable music to listen to at high volume and on repeat.


9. Prince--Purple Rain - I mention Prince before, suggesting I'd be better off with a "best of" album but I don't have one that includes all my favorites, and this is the only album that seems to have most of them at once. Perhaps one day I'll list all my favorite Prince hits, but so far, this is one of the top albums and top musical movies... even if it wasn't that good of a movie.


8. Mos Def--Black on Both Sides - I really wanted to get Mos Def on this list, especially this album which I love listening to. Another dude with great wordplay and bringing on social awareness. What this album is, I wish so many more albums were like: full.


7. Raphael Saadiq--The Way I See It - Yeah, you already know. I won't repost the link again, but just know that this guy is also musically genius and this album has such an awesome retro style that it hurts. I mean that in a good way. Like when your face starts frowning up because it feels so good. Yeah, that's how I felt.


6. Joss Stone--Introducing... - One of my favorite soul singers on the planet. And both beautiful physically and vocally. Saadiq helped make this album as awesome as it is, but Joss brought it with her voice and lyrics. This also has a retro feel that I love. And Joss beat Saadiq because she's a girl and I like girls.


5. John Legend--Get Lifted - I love all John's albums, but I guess sometimes it's best to start with the first. I remember when I first heard this album, it gave me comfort that there were some people who actually still sang from the heart and had some real soul in their voice. Everyone sounded the same to me, then the Legend hit the radio waves and I'd like to think that things haven't been the same since.


4. Kanye West--Graduation - Just like John Legend, I enjoyed his previous albums. As much as I enjoyed the first album, I'd have to go with this one (which I explained in the last list).


3. OutKast--Speakerboxxx/The Love Below - More geniuses here. I had yet another hard time picking which album to list, so I applied the "island" rule: if you could only listen to one album forever on an album, which would it be? Well here is a double album. Overall, the best of both worlds and something different the world wasn't ready for.


2. Lauryn Hill--The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - I knew without a doubt that she needed to be on this list. It just made sense that she be #2, but besides the number, she is just awesome. Both a singer and a rapper, with great messages in her songs and some really great wordplay, I just hope she takes the world by storm again soon. Only she can followup greatness with more greatness.


1. Sam Cooke--One Night Stand! - Who else did you think would get my #1 spot?

1.29.2009

how i spent my 23rd

Thanks to a heavy dose of my favorite alcoholic beverage, NyQuil, I arose bright and early and well rested at exactly 5:50 AM. Not by my own sheer will, of course. This is due to my cell phone's Monday thru Friday alarm set that remarkable sounds different each time I hit snooze. I think there's a conspiracy behind that.

Compared to the past 48 hours up to that point, I have no choice but to agree that I was feeling 90% better. Now the only health issues I had no choice but to deal with was the remnants of either a cold or what might have been the flu, or [shudders] a fever. I don't even know what the symptoms of a fever are, but all the while as I rested in bed, I began to ponder if I was supposed to sweat out the flu or feed a cold. Then I considered how some of those old time remedies have since been disproved. Example, candy and sweets won't necessarily make your children more overactive than they already are. I'd cite the source... but I assume we are all connected to the Internet one way or another.

I make my way down to my desk to start what hopefully turns out to be a full and productive day, despite it being a day most people take off from work to celebrate by doing who knows what. Technically, I'm behind a day and half. But I think all will be worked out. In my half the day the night before, I would equate my productivity to that of a Grand Slam... twice... with the Denny's meal afterwards. It certainly wasn't my intention to be ill. Who ever wants to be? Oh wait! I know! Test subjects who get paid at universities to take on bacterias and viruses for the sake of science and hopefully a decent check. I'd almost ask to sign me up. But I've never enjoyed feeling extremely frigid body chills, then feeling extreme heat all over sweating in places I never knew possible, a blazing flaming throat, a non-stop leaky nose, delusional and completely weirded out dreams (while sometimes still awake), no interest in food (with my stomach later agreed with the disinterested by violently repelling soon after), and of course... just all around miserableness. That was mostly Tuesday, and I didn't want to give in to too many graphic details, but it just wasn't pleasant.

My guess is I may have caught whatever yuckiness my parents (specifically my mother) had, or someone I gave a ride home from church. Or [gasp] both!

Whatever the case, I think my body is now immune to whatever it was that attacked me. It still hurts when I sneeze, but it's much better than before. During my lunch, I journey out of the house for the first time since Sunday to greet my best friend. All I desired was hot lemon tea. I took a trip to the Mart to pick up some much needed supplies. Tissues and toilet tissues. I guess there's a first time to be out of all of that stuff at once, right? I'm not a fan of public bathrooms either, so it was a dire need and couldn't wait to get home to clear out my system and all it's ailments.

Considering the quarantine had been lifted from the house, some family members stopped by to give gifts. I was allowed to miss choir rehearsal even though I would've went. There was talk of cancelling due to weather problems. The weather wreaked havoc yesterday and the city has remained a skating rink. Unfortunately, skating isn't one of my many talents, so this gives me another reason to stay indoors, especially at night. When it's disgustingly colder. At least it's not as bad as the week before, or whenever it hit "BONE CHILLING" on the thermometer.

Anyway, there are plans to probably go out to dinner at a nice eatery like IHOP or Red Lobster or Custy's or IHOP. Bowling has also been discussed. A past time I do indoob enjoy. I also enjoy mini golf, but it's winter and 95% of the places I know are currently closed. There is an indoor mini golf, but I don't feel like making the drive or remembering how to get there. Shame on me for denying myself a good time.

Overall, I can't complain. It's been fun. I'm horrendously behind on many other blog posts I love reading, but I'll catch up soon enough. It's not a landmark year, but I'm hoping one of these days, Oprah and I can party together.

1.26.2009

a poem: "heartbreak hangover"

No, I'm not fine,
I am not okay.
There's nothing you can do or say.
But thanks for asking anyway.

They don't make pills for this kind of pain.
My heart can't stay dry from this kind of rain.
Only time heals a heartbreak hangover.
And my heart won't truly get over
knowing it won't be the same.

Unless you were her
and came back to stay,
there's not much else you can do today.
But thank you for trying anyway.

1.23.2009

fripodding and heavy rotating: top 15 of 2008

This post is all about last year. When I tell you it took me forever to write this, I mean it took about three weeks... including right up until Saturday, which means I technically missed Friday. Hey, I've been busy not-working so cut me some slack. Heh...

I kept revising this list because I only wanted albums that were released in the past two years, and not so new that I wouldn't have enough time to legitimize it's Heavy Rotations status. Then I decide, bump my own rules! I'll do it how I wanna do. So I changed the list to be the top 10(+) albums I listened to during 2008. I did draw some lines: the album has to fairly recent, say January 2007 until about mid December 2008. This means I had to exclude OutKast (as a group), Lauryn Hill, Mos Def and probably a few others I can't think of right now because I had to make up and rewrite so many freakin' lists. I made a few rare occasions: let's call them "double albums" where I combine both their recent album, and one a bit older. I include it because a lot of the time, iSaac may be set on "Artist" and will play all the songs by that artist. Sometimes, said artist may only have two albums OR I only have/like two. Okay?

Again, what I look for in an album is LISTENABILITY--being able to listen to the majority of the album with little or no skipping. I think it's also fair to say, that any artist I list here is on the "trust" list. This means, if they released an album tomorrow, I could buy it and find at least half or a third of the album enjoyable. And if you're like me, albums tend to grow on you after time and you might end up liking more or all of it. With the exception of the #1 on this list, whom I have yet to sit down and listen from track 1 to the end, but we'll get to that later. On with the list!

15. Justice - Cross
I ran into this album for a couple reasons--a friend of mine posted a video, DVNO and it eventually led me to D.A.N.C.E. Before long, I just took a chance and ordered the album. With these guys being fans of both Michael Jackson and Daft Punk, could I really go wrong? The album has been a fixture for my office work life, not only for me, but my mom too. And it's interesting to pick out Justice's songs from TV commercials. It's a great album to get the energies moving, and a great album to drive too... which is probably why it's used for commercials. This is an album that's meant to be played beginning to end, it fades into the next track. It's bittersweet when sometimes all you really wanna hear is DVNO and you are used to the song playing before it. Meshes so nicely.


14. Alicia Keys - As I Am
I won never really a huge Keys fan, but I loved her talent and I was always a bit attracted to her. And then, she stopped the corn rows and started showing some skin! But this is about her music and this album in particular. What turned me on to it was reading an article (I forget where) about the making of this album, and how personal it was, and is, to her. Once I read about that and got to hear it for myself, I could truly feel the passion she felt in many of the songs. I'm sure everyone got tired of No One real quick, unless you didn't listen to the radio like me. But I'm sure after a year or so, you can remember why it was such a hit. This is one of those songs you felt the passion. But it was also the beat. Other passionate songs I really felt: Lesson Learned, Tell You Something, Superwoman and although not as passionate I Need You and Where Do We Go From Here which are just fun songs I really like.


13. Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
This was going to be a "double album" including Songs About Jane, but I had to be honest with myself... After the newer album, I didn't listen to Jane as much. Oh, I still did listen to it and I think it's proven to be a Heavy Rotator. But let's just say starting this year, they have been getting equal time so far. What I liked about Before Long was that it felt different, but yet the same. If that makes any sense. Every so often, I just crave something new and unique-sounding, and fortunately, I stumbled upon this album just in time. Unfortunately, I get a bit upset when certain songs feel a bit too short. A Little Of Your Time for example. I mean, maybe that's the point, for it to be a short song, and only taking a little of your time to hear it. I did like the entire album and I don't want to go through picking each one. But Infatuation stuck with me the most. It might not be on all the albums, but it was on mine and I'm infatuated with it.


11. Panic(!) at the Disco - Pretty. Odd./A Fever You Can't Sweat Out
So this would be the first double album pick. As you can see, I skipped a number. This is an example of having both albums of the same artists and just letting them run into each other on the playlist, getting used to it and liking it. I know I listened to Fever a lot more that Pretty. Odd. but when it comes to last year? I think I wore them out pretty equally. I love their style. I like Urie's voice. And I love the lyrics. And yes, I'm even a fan of the titles on the first album. In case you didn't know, they came from movie/book quotes from Closer, Fight Club, and I think Choke... just to name a few. I don't know, use Wikipedia. Anyway, since I'm naming both albums, I don't think I can pick any particular track I really like. The singles, those are givens. It's probably why they are the singles. And I'll be honest with you, I don't know any of the songs on the first album by their titles, HOWEVER, I do have an understanding as to what each title means knowing where they got the title from. But since Pretty. Odd. is the newer album, I'll pick two non-singles: Folkin' Around and She Had The World. Both are great songs with beautiful lyrics that inspired poetry of my own. Both album are unique all their own too. I guess you either love it or just don't care.


10. Raphael Saadiq - The Way I See It


I'm going to cheat here. I already wrote about this album a few months ago on another friPod post. But check it out again!


9. John Legend - Evolver


Yep, the same goes for this guy too. I'm not being lazy. I just don't want to be redundant. Is that a crime?


8. Common - Finding Forever
Wow, my man Common has been doing big things. I don't know how many movies he's done (I do, I'm just making a point) and his music has grown to new heights and even Grammy status levels! Now I'll say this now, I haven't heard his newest effort. Honestly, I haven't heard a lot about it other than it not being his best work, possibly due to his verses not being as socially conscious... but who knows? I'm all for artists trying out new styles, new music. This album, however, was a great follow up to Be. I would've made it a double album, but for me, that album didn't quite pass the listenability test. Don't get me wrong, it's a hot album. Both of them are. But I tend to find myself skipping to the songs I like better. Unlike Finding Forever, I'm just enjoying the current track, itching for the next one. Each song brought me somewhere different. But I think one of the tracks I liked the most was Southside with Kanye West. I love when rappers trade verses like they do in this song. And even in the chorus, it's good to have a friend to sing with because one person takes "south" and the other takes "side" until the next verse start. You have to hear it to understand. Anyway, besides the wordplay, one thing I love about Common and this album, is the storytelling. And honest storytelling at that. Too many titles to choose from, but how about Drivin' Me Wild? No really, drive me wild. I jest.


7. Joss Stone - Introducing...
To me, she needs no introduction. Excuse me a moment whilst I drool. I apologize, I just enjoy a great looking woman with a great voice. Truth be told, I fell in love with her voice first. But let's move on to the album. I sprung for the deluxe version and got a DVD with a music video and other nifty things. I do listen to the entire album, but I'm usually stuck on a couple songs like Baby, Baby, Baby because I think I'm in love with the drums on that track (along with her voice). Put Your Hands Me is also a treasure. And so is Arms Of My Baby. You know what? I think it's all because of the drums and just the funky-ness of the music. I admire the singer-songwriters, like Joss, and the producer Raphael Saadiq. She does make an appearance on his album, just like he's all over this one. Lauryn Hill is here too, sharing a love affair with Music. Common is on this too with probably my other favorite track called Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now.


5. Daft Punk - Alive 2007/Discovery

Another double album here. I think to fully appreciate Alive 2007, you need to hear all their albums. From Homework to Human After All. The live album mixes all their songs beautifully together. And I saw some YouTube videos about this. It looked fun. Very effing fun. I wanted to be there. Now I will say this about the live album, spring for the deluxe edition or whatever version has the encore. It's worth it. But again, to fully enjoy an album like that, you need to go back to the roots. My favorite Daft Punk album is probably Discovery. I say probably because I don't actually own the other two... yet. But what I liked on Discovery are tracks like Face to Face and Digital Love. And I have no problem admitting, the reason I got into Daft Punk is because of Kanye West's Stronger. And the original is just as good as well. Now if you dig Discovery, then I suggest you look into the movie version of the album. As I mentioned early, these guys influenced Justice, so this is why these two albums also can be played from beginning to end. They do have moments to breathe, that's always nice.


3. Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High/Folie à Deux

Yep, another double album. I kept hearing about this band Fall Out Boy for a while but never got around to taking a listen. Then I caught a remixed track from Mr. West for the song This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race and grew interested. I told my friend Dearest about it and she gave me a few songs to which I ended up buying Infinity on High and liking it so much more. This time yet again, there are too many songs for me to name that I really really like. And again, the titles I looked up on Wikipedia to get a better understanding. And some of the lyrics are still confusing to me... but they are still beautiful to my ear. And the sound of the music? Awesome. They've come a long way. I included their newest album which was the second to last album I bought last year. I love it just as much if not a wee bit more. Again, too many songs too name. This is a very good thing because it's exactly what I want when I but an album. I don't want to skip any songs if I can help it. If anything, I'll skip a song just to get to another on the playlist faster, then go back and listen to the ones I've skipped! I'm odd. But these two albums are great.

2. The Roots - Game Theory

This almost made it as a double album. But golly... which album would I choose? To narrow the list, it'd be a fight between The Tipping Point and Rising Down which was the last album I bought last year. It didn't make the list because I didn't start listening to it until a couple days before the year is out. But hey! It's a great contender for this year. Anyway, Game Theory isn't full of happy songs by no means. Then again, when I think of The Roots, "happy" isn't a word that comes up anyway. "Lyrical" and "genius" are more likely. This album, where do I start? They say it's one of the darker albums (with Rising Down being the darkest), and dark means that it's deep with social commentary and how bad the world is. I'm not really giving it justice, but then again, that's one of the points... the justice system not working correctly. But Black Thought's words are... wow. And ?uestlove's beats and production? Outstanding. A song that keeps popping up that I love is called Here I Come. Oh, let me also throw in that their albums are also built in such a way, that it's meant to be listened to beginning to end. I mean all their album track numbers continue from the previous album. I won't get into that right now though. But the first three songs are awesome, False Media, Game Theory, and Don't Feel Right. I'll also admit, listening to this album for too long might cause dread that something bad is going to happen, but it also wakes you up that not everything is as good as it looks. Again, great album with little to no skipping.


1. Kanye West - Graduation


Remember the big competition when this album was released the same day as 50 Cent? Oh, that was good stuff. I'm not a big fan of him, so why bother talking about it. This album was awesome. I almost want to call this a masterpiece. Almost, because I'm sure he's hard at work cooking up more fabulous music. I can already hear the questions now, what about Heartbreak and 808s? Remember earlier I said I liked artists trying new things? I'm not so fond of this new style. BUT, I will listen to the album at some point. But we aren't talking about that album right now anyway. What I liked about this album was that it felt like he had graduated. I know from what to where, but it just sounded advanced in a way than his previous works. I mean each of his albums did have it's own personality to it. I would've included a double album for him, but I really liked and listened to this album a lot. At work, in my car, at the gym, and just everywhere. It's not secret, especially not here, one of my favorite songs is Champion. With that same energy, I'd like to also recommend The Glory. I do have a bone to pick with Mr. West. The song Homecoming I've heard before on a mix tape, but with a different melody and guest singer--John Legend! I love that version so much more... but, I understand you like to work with others. And I'm still pissed I never made it to any of those crazy insane concerts. I heard they were awesome. Don't rub it in.

So that's my list. Next week, my top 10 albums of all time. I'm still changing my mind about it as we speak. For the sake of saving space and time, I will refer back to this list or a previous one should any album appear that has already appeared. Deal?

1.22.2009

happy birthday mr. soul

I couldn't let the clock hit midnight without giving it up to the one and only Sam Cooke. So I will post a tweet I wrote earlier tonight.

I almost forgot today is Sam Cooke's birthday. He'd be 78 today, and he
would've seen that change certainly came and took office 2 days ago.


I don't remember how I remembered or what made me think of it, but at least I remembered.

And it's been an interesting day that I might talk about on another day. I rather not go into great detail about it, but instead I can rewrite it as a little fictional piece inspired by a true story. It would consist of being distracted all day, an overflowing toilet with "products that weren't friends of mine" and dealing with something I won't go into detail with, but will hyperlink with two words: tonsil stones. If you know what those are, then you already know. If not, click at your own risk.

Now I must work on some other blog related things. Yay for me!

place your bets

It's that time of year again. No, not to exchange that last unwanted Christmas gift or to start looking for possible Valentine mates or to pick the color to repaint your house/room (although not bad ideas), it's Oscar season! For the past few years, I sit--sometimes crouch--patiently waiting for the biggest movie awards show. Sure, the Globes are nice, but it's not the Oscars. It's practically the only award show that I'll stay home for although I've been known to leave a couple times, or miss out on an hour due to birthday parties or visiting chums at The Mart that I worked with on third shift. Other times I attended Oscar parties (at Purchase) or had friends at my house who kept me busy.

I'm not aware of any such distractions--I mean occurrences this time around. All that's missing is my Entertainment Weekly which has an impressive track record of predicting who is going to win. I can't recall too many wrong answers, but I'm sure there were a couple. But I've been following along for the past few years as well as adding my own "I hope they win" picks. I'll probably do a more in depth post later about who my picks are, as well as who will probably win. Then after the show I'll post a recap as to who actually won. I didn't do it for the Globes since I usually don't watch the Globes (but I watched a little this year). Anyway, if you haven't seen the nominees for all the categories, here they are on IMDb.

Can we talk about snubs for a moment? Just in case you aren't hip to the award-show lingo, a snub is basically being passed over and completely left out. People have assumptions or high expectations that they'd get nominated for certain films or roles and then find out they don't... ouch. EW.com does ask the question, and I'm inclined to agree with some of the choices that should've at least been nominated, even if I haven't seen all of the movies. And trust me, I haven't... which makes my "I hope they win" picks a little difficult.

I don't gamble, but it is a fun game to play guessing who gets the gold. As my subject line suggests, place your bets.

1.20.2009

so it begins...

We've waited for this moment for a long time, and it's become something of a sweet anticipation. I know I've been waiting for close to a year for this to happen waiting for the day, down to the hour, and now its here. History in the making. I know people who were there since the beginning, and people who are on the way. And now, the time has come. Change will happen. Today... the new IHOP is open!

Oh yeah, and today, Barack Obama will stop using the "President-Elect" and will be officially sworn in as "President of the United States of America." Like many of my family members, specifically the older/elderly ones, I didn't think I'd see this day. Actually, I didn't think I'd see it so soon. And I think it's like summer vacation, where it doesn't really hit me until a few days later, "Hey, I'm on vacation!" So from election day to even later today, it'll just hit me again, "Hey, a black dude named Obama is my president!" I'd like to note, I'm going to miss the Bushisms.

I wasn't planning on being in DC whatsoever, regardless if I thought I could make it there or not. I'm a CNN junkie. Plus it's winter and there's a wave of disgustingly bitter coldness. So excuse me whilest I stay indoors. But it's amazing to see the footage of the millions people all over the Capitol city. It gives me flashbacks of the footage I saw when MLK marched in Washington about 50 years ago for this very reason. It's like history comes full circle. It's been an amazing weekend for America. And it can't be coincidence that yesterday was King Day.

So, I'm speaking for myself here, but it's great to be alive and American (and Black) today, because I'm witnessing history and going to IHOP sometime later.

1.16.2009

fripodding and heavy roation: the top 5 five

Last friDay, in the first of my Heavy Rotation series, I shared my top ten favorite albums that came out before I was born. Prince seemed to be a favorite, and it almost didn't make it on the list being so close to T-Day. Anyway, I will show you 5 top album in 5 selected categories. Since this will be a list of 25 albums, I won't comment as to why I think the albums are on top, and I will also hold back from sharing album cover art. If you want specifics as to why I listed what I listed, you know where the comment button is.

I rate these based on their listenability - listening to an entire, or most of the album without much skipping. These are albums I bought or acquired, whereas I may not listen to every track. My rule is I have to like at least 3 songs to buy the whole thing. Well, back before iTunes and file sharing existed. I still buy a disc every once in a while. Also bear with me, it's not easy rating these in my own liking. I keep switching who's at #1 depending on my mood at the time. And I sadly had to take some albums out because they didn't rate well with the listenability meter. Shucks. Nevertheless, if you don't have any of these albums, I highly recommend you invest!

TOP 5 GOSPEL ALBUMS
I must be honest, I leave out a lot of gospel music on my playlist and even here with the friPods. And it is indeed a music genre I enjoy, and sing practically every Sunday, or every other Friday, and occasionally on Thursday...

5. BBJay - Universal Concussion
4. Detrick Haddon - Chainbreaker
3. Helen Baylor - The Live Experience
2. Detrick Haddon - Crossroads
1. Kirk Franklin - The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin

TOP 5 LIVE ALBUMS
I was actually working on making a LIVE playlist taking all the live songs I had, and well... ya know... one playlist. But I realized I have a decent collection of live albums. There are certain elements you just don't get with studio albums. Crowd screaming for one thing. And then it makes you wish you were there when you hear them react to something as if the performer did something or maybe it's a surprise guest! Finally, this massive party is also a compilation of some of your favorite songs, sometimes extend or mixed into a medley with something else. Just pure awesomeness all around and your ticket is about $15 for the CD.

5. Curtis Mayfield - Live 1971
4. John Legend - Live From Philadelphia
3. Kirk Franklin - The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin
2. Daft Punk - Alive 2007
1. Sam Cooke - Live from the Harlem Club Square

TOP 5 SOULFUL LADY ALBUMS
I could just knock off the soulful part so I could include Sara Barellis. I also had to draw a line and take out Lauryn Hill who'd no doubt stick out at #1. And Alicia Keys I left out for the simple fact that I wanted some newcomers to get a little bit of shine. So here are some of my favorite leading ladies... and if any of these beautiful singers are reading, please give me a call so we can hang out some time.

5. Corrine Bailey Rae - Corrine Bailey Rae
4. Chrisette Michele - I Am
3. Solange Knowles - Sol-Angel & The Hadley St. Dreams
2. Leela James - A Change Is Gonna Come
1. Joss Stone - Introducing...

TOP 5 90's ALBUMS
LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR: this is a list of albums I owned then. And I'm also basing this list on how often I listened to them back then. I'm fudging #5 by including 2, only because I really didn't own the album but borrowed it several times.

5. P. Diddy & the Bad Boy Family - No Way Out/Will Smith - Big Willy Style
4. Santana - Supernatural
3. Wyclef Jean - The Carnival
2. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
1. K-Ci & JoJo - Love Always

TOP 5 SOUNDTRACKS
Let's face it, some movies wouldn't be what they are today if it wasn't for an awesome soundtrack backing it up. Or in some cases, it's what drives it. I also cheated on this list for the #1 slot putting 2 albums together... but it's not really cheating. The majority of both albums were composed by the same person. I would've included a 3rd album with the other 2, but I don't own it yet. I'd also like to note that Idlewild from Outkast would be on this list, except that technically, they consider the album as just that, an album, not a soundtrack to the movie. Yes, songs from the movie are included on it, but you'll also find a chunk of the songs from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Anyway, check out the movies that these soundtracks belong too as well as their awesome musical ventures.

5. Dreamgirls (Deluxe edition)
4. Superbad
3. Black Snake Moan
2. Purple Rain
1. Ocean's Eleven/Ocean's Thirteen

Yes, yes y'all!

1.14.2009

secret office secrets to successful office success

So my higher-ups told me I'm doing really well, and I'm in for a bit of a raise due to some impressive yearly reviews. I figured, why not share a few of my secrets of success. (That sorta goes out to Friar whom I've told I will only give out my secrets for a fee, or in a book... or something.) But these are my secrets at how to do an office job like mine and be successful. They don't work for everyone, and at the same time, some of these secrets contradict or conflict with others. So if any of these can apply to your job, go for it. But there's no money back guarantee, since it's free, so if you get fired, I can't help you whatsoever.

*When there is a quota per day/week, or some kind of tracking of work per time ratio involved.
- Eat a great but non-filling but delicious breakfast. (Doesn't have to be healthy, you just don't want to feel sleepy when you're done.)

- Work like you owe somebody money.

- Caffeine pills sometimes work better than coffee. But take it before noon unless you work really late.

- Slack off early until you get bored of slacking, this motivates someone to work harder later to make up for any lost time.*

- Work like there's a chance you might be fired tomorrow.

- Pee often or not at all.

- Do as much work as you can Monday thru Wednesday, so Thursday (or Friday if you work the 5 day week) you can window shop on the online shops.*

- Lollipops.

- Set slack off times (aka "break time") every hour or so... whenever really.

- Work at home.

- Make hotel reservations for a weekend getaway a month from now, make sure mini golf is involved, work hard towards this date.

- Make sure you have access to at least 1,000 songs that you like.

- Set a reward in place to help motivate you until quittin' time, i.e. order pizza @ 6.

- If you have no more drive in your stride, call it quits as long as it's not Thursday (or Friday if you are a loser).*

- Do your stretches and spin in your chair... it helps to get blood flowing and feeling like you are doing something physical.

- Recline whenever possible. It's like stretching.

- When the computer is on, you are getting paid. And just because you're at your desk, doesn't mean you have to be actually working.

- Time yourself and know how long the average time is for you to do your tasks, then plan a crunch time where you work double time non-stop, immediately followed with a break, or calling it quits.*

- Start a blog.

a wonder (and) full weekend

Last week was pretty busy and a little on the rough side for not only me, but my family, church and a few friends. I don't normally get into the person aspects of my life, but I do see the Indoob as somewhat of a documentation. But in retrospect, I must say that some positive things came out of such a long week, and I felt the need to recognize them.

For most of the week, I've been doing some much needed work on my church's website. You can check it out if you want, but as you'll see, I haven't updated it in a long time. It hopefully will be fully updated by Thursday, or Friday. And I'm no pro at web design, I just know the basics and that's all that is. Besides, I'm the only one my dad knows that is capable and I currently work for free.

Thursday, my friend whom I shall codename as "Kitten" (although she probably wouldn't mind if I used her real name) dropped off a gift of appreciation for just being her friend. Internally, I felt like weeping, but really I just don't know how to handle unexpected niceness like that. I think it's a guy thing. Pineapple is my favorite fruit... so...


My first chocolate covered fruit!



And check out this sentimental special note that almost surely brought the tears.

In case you are struggling to make out the words, it says "Thank you for being there for me. You really are the best friend anyone could ever have." She's awesome.

Friday night, the Kitten and I met up with my other best friend whom I've affectionately dubbed "Dearest" and had dinner at a buffet that Kitten and I actually ate at for lunch. So yes, I went to the same buffet twice in the same day. No judging, thanks. Anyway, we met Dearest's boyfriend whom I heard so much about, and now I can officially approve. But the highlight for me was to have two awesome, beautiful women who happen to be the best friends I've had for some time, share a table with me. Another minor note, we seem to share a love for discussing poop. Buy that book, it'd be awesome to see that on a best seller's list. You know you're curious. Anyway, the Dearest mailed me a letter I recieved possibly a couple days late, also telling me how great of a friend I am. Look at the time she put into writing me! This is what I love about my friends... the time they take to show me that care is worth so much more than what money could buy.


Saturday I watched an awesome movie called The Notorious Bettie Page. I knew very little about the real life person, and Jaden at ScreenwritingforHollywood indirectly recommended I look into it. I fell in love with the way the movie was shot, that's the first thing. Secondly, between the actress playing her and Ms. Page herself? Absolutely beautiful. Before the movie was even over I was at my laptop writing up a draft of a treatment to a brand new story this movie inspired. The interesting this it has nothing to do with Betty, pin-up models, or anything that movie dealt with. It really doesn't have a title, but it's about a young man who moves from the city to an old southern country town and converts a run down barn into a makeshift movie theater. I was going to use this set up as a way to showcase several short films that I, or others have written and filmed. But the concept took on a life of it's own as I started fleshing out who this guy was and why he was there and things like that. Honestly, that's my favorite part about storytelling.

I finished with great timing... Kitten wanted to go out to dinner as well as test her car in the snow. I live on a hill so she had trouble getting to my house, but she made it just as I wrote the ending sentence. We ventured out to Friendly's which closed early. Too bad for them.

During service on Sunday, I was happy to see some people hadn't seen in a while. That's always nice. It also struck me, while someone was talking, not to hold grudges which apparently I think I may be doing. So later today, I will fix that error. Nobody's perfect, but if there is something wrong with ourselves that we are aware of, why not get it right?

Afterwards the entire family went out to the Olive Garden--where everyone is family. Good times. Dame (my brother-in-law) told me about an idea that he (and my sister, his wife) had been thinking of for sometime. Basically, he'd like to start a production company with me, mostly to help out around the church but to eventually branch out and help others. I'd take video and graphics duties, while he did mostly audio work like recording and sound production. He's the church's keyboardist and wrote a few songs. So we'd be a dangerous combination. So we chatted about that later that night while also discussing some recently favorited songs, or styles of songs. I'm currently getting into Go-Go music, similar to this:


The night got better with a phone call from not just a best friend, but one I consider a brother-from-another-mother. We chatted for a while, and for once, about me and my life. It was nice to get some of my own drama out even if I hate admitting I have it. But even while I was telling him my story, it came out as a comedy because it made him laugh. Imagine that.

Lastly, one of my newest friends who doesn't have a nickname yet, I chatted with online as we watched the last hour of the Golden Globes. Woot woot for 30 Rock and Tina Fey. I've been strongly recommended to see Slumdog Millionaire and have even been given a website to watch it for free. But I have morals. And if the movie business is something I want to get into, then it's like robbing from myself. It'd be different if it were a legit site, like, Netflix, Hulu or something. But 'twasn't. Yet I do want to see this movie really bad.

Oh, and now Sam is back and fully functional. There's a picture of him being towed away, but I'm too tired to do that right now. There's more than enough links and pictures to make this a fully interactive post, no?

So, my lesson to all is that although things may look bad, they could always be worse. Appreciate everything and reflect on the positive because who wants to sit around being sad and depressed?

1.09.2009

fripodding and heavy rotation: vol. 1 - pre-me

So this is the first of a few of what I call "Heavy Rotation" which in radio land means songs that are played frequently... since back in the day, radio stations used records which rotate! (There you go, you learned something today!) The term can still apply since a lot of us still use CDs, even though those are slowly becoming obsolete and now we rotate our fingers around our iPods' wheel.

Anyway, I compiled a list of top albums I truly love and can have the title of being in Heavy Rotation when it comes to being played on my late stereos (may they rest in piece, collecting dust), car and computer CD players alike, and of course iSaac and other MP3 playing devices.

This list feature albums that came out before my time. Since we live in an age of countless "best of" albums, a majority of this list features those compilation albums or collections. However, I will provide the title of the album I actually own, just so you know I'm not making it up. So here are my favorite albums of my past. And by past, I mean before I was around in the later 80's.

The Best of Earth, Wind & Fire, Vol.1
10. Earth Wind & Fire - Greatest Hits: Vol. 1 - This album only has 10 tracks on it, and this was the 3rd CD I ever owned I bought when I began my music listening career. Songs like Singasong, September and Getaway among countless others are always great songs to fall back on when I need to get out of a bad or gloomy mood.

9. The Jacksons - I don't really have a specific album to cite here, but their music played a vital role while I was growing up. Yeah, I grew up in the late 80's early 90's, but this was the only music I was exposed to (besides Christmas songs and Disney tunes). Needless to say, I grew up listening to Michael's entire catalogue and I have my reasons for not having the songs (not albums) Bad orThriller in iSaac's memory. (Long story short, overplayed.)

It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers
8. The Isley Brothers -It's Your Thing: The Story of the Isley Brothers - I found a 3 disc, "best of" collection. I love how half the songs can be upbeat and semi-partyish songs, especially a song like Shout, while others are for those making love songs like Don't Say Goodnight. And hey, we all need a little romance in our lives sometimes. Even if there isn't anyone around to romance with... as a writer, it puts me in the mood to pen something that needs that slow burn of seduction the Isleys easily churn out. Especially when such songs have their longer versions... and we can take a guess as to why they would make an extended version... Anyway, notable songs I love: Summer Breeze, This Old Heart of Mine, Love the One You're With, Footsteps in the Dark, Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight, and my all time favorite For the Love of You.

Let's Get It on
7. Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On - I would choose again a "best of" collection for this guy, but I can't find one that has ALL my favorites. So instead I'll just pick the one that has the most, or at least one I actually own which features one of his most popular songs. This album is pretty much a baby-making album. Anytime you hear those beginning guitar wah-wahs, you know what time it is. But once I heard the EXTENDED version, I was like... I gotta own this. Little did I know that what I heard was someone who mixed Let's Get It On with another track on the album called Keep Gettin' it On. I don't really need to explain what the song is about, do I? Anyway, there are some other lovely tracks. But by no means is that all of the Marvin Gaye songs I like.

'Music
6. Prince - Purple Rain - Thanks to some proofreading, scrolling through iSaac's library, and some second and third glances, I realized I forgot to include Prince. There's still so much more music I need to hear from this genius, but if I had to choose an album, it would be this one. I was going to include one of his many "greatest hits" albums, but c'mon now... Purple Rain! Plus this one qualifies to be on this list being released before I was born. The movie might be lacking in some respect, but the music is awesome, and for that I say it's worth watching, especially when the title song is performed. When it comes to my iPod, this album is joined by many other Prince hits--past and present.

Emperors Of Soul {PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED, PREVIOUSLY UNAVAILABLE ON ALBUM} [110 SONGS - 5 CD SET]
5. The Temptations - Emperors Of Soul - This is a 5 disc collector's set. I begged my mom to loan me $70 at the time (I was 15 and refused to get a paper route). It was also a year or so after their bio-movie was on TV. Let me say this... I haven't listened to the 4th disc of this collection at all. If I can, allow me to rate the discs: 2, 3, 1, 5, 4. Disc 2 contains what you would call "Classic Temptations" which has the legendary line-up including the one and only David Ruffin (My Girl, Losing You, Ain't Too Proud to Beg). There are also a few awesome bonus previously unreleased tracks on that one (I love Heaven on Earth). Disc 3 has their rougher/psychadelic side (Cloud Nine, Can't Get Next To You, Papa Was A Rollin' Stone) , disc 1 has their earliest "hits"... I say that because at that time, they were still struggling. Then disc 5 has their most recent material, and the only song I was familiar with was Treat her Like A Lady.

4. & 3. Definitive Collections - I can't choose between the next two greats. I mean, I had a hard time putting the Tempts in 5th place on this awesome list. And the next few all deserve #2 next to my #1. So without really saying there's a 3rd or 4th, find their defining best of's...
Definitive Greatest Hits
Al Green - I never owned an actual Al Green album, but he recently came out with one last year that he's been nominated for a Grammy. I shall definitely pick it up in the near future. But he's been making hits all his life and idolizes my idol, Sam Cooke. The songs on this best of album, truly hit after hit. Tired of Being Alone, Love and Happiness, L-O-V-E... Those three alone I could set on repeat for an hour. Between the lyrics, the instruments, and the voice only Al Green could sing with... However, thanks to this album I gained some new favorites like Perfect to Me which I swear I'd sing to some lucky girl some day. ;o) I just want to make an honorable mention of Simply Beautiful which isn't on this album, but worth checking out. I wrote it into a scene and I pray whenever I get to make the movie I wrote it into, I get the clearance for it.
Definitive Collection
Stevie Wonder - Another living legend that has a career that puts so many to shame. Well, I don't know who I'm referring to by that... but this double album speaks for itself. I got to be honest (as I usually am) but I seriously forget that this man is blind. And once I take that into account, I just marvel that much more about the wonderful music he has created. However, on this album, one of my favorite songs, As, is the short version. If you can find it, and you upload it to your iPod, make sure you switch it out with the extended version of that song. Other favorite songs of mine: I Wish, Yester-me Yester-You Yesterday, Signed Sealed Delivered and Living For the City. And I guess it's a song that wasn't that well known, but I've grown to love I'm Wondering. Needless to say (yet I'm saying it anyway) there are tons of other greats on here. Me being picky, I shortened this double album to just one... but that's just me.

Curtis/Live!
2. Curtis Mayfield - Live 1971 - I don't really know if that's the name of the album, but it's one of my favorites at the moment. It was hard to choose just one because there's the Superfly soundtrack and yet another collection of his greatest hits when he was solo, and with The Impressions--which by the way are must owns--but I chose this live album because I felt it contained some real soul, groove and funk of his personality and music. It just felt raw and I loved that. And I love hear the audience react to what he was saying and singing. The other thing it did is made me feel like I was there, at that time, and I know a little bit of history so I know what was going on and how Blacks in America were going through. Mayfield knew it to and kept it real with his audience. Besides that album, I highly respect all the music he has made over his impressive career. Notable songs I really enjoy are The Makings of You (this version I think is better than the studio version), I Plan to Stay a Believer, We're a Winner and People Get Ready. A song very few people seem to know about but is supremely awesome and deserves an honorable mention: P.S. I Love You. The album it's on is hard to find, so I suggest picking up the Superbad movie soundtrack. There are a number of other awesome songs on that album, but it doesn't fit this list.

One Night Stand! Sam Cooke Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
1. Sam Cooke - One Night Stand! Live at the Harlem Club Square, 1963 - According to history, this album didn't get it's first release date until about 20 years after it was recorded. Instead, Sam at the Copa was released but compared, this album was much more superior. Similar to the Curtis's live album I mentioned before... it's raw, it's real, it's what soul is all about. This is one album I refuse to listen to any old way--it must be played beginning to end. It's only under 40 minutes, but it's the best 40 minutes I can spend in my life. It's the subject of one of my recent screenplays. And it's the album I say time and time again that if I had to take one CD with me on a deserted album, this is the one I'd bring. There's so much I could say about this but I don't think even I could do it justice... but I'm willing to do my best if I ever get the chance to get that script produced. Now I'm still just talking about the music and emotion that the album sets you in, as a listener. This is the album that made me wish I was alive and able to be at this show. But let's talk about the legend. Mr.. Soul. I've said it countless times before, but he needs his own biopic. Sure, the movies we have so far of Ray Charles, The Temptations, Little Richard and the rumored biopic of Marvin Gaye are all well deserved... but this is the man who started it all! I even have the perfect teaser trailer for it. But more on that later. If you don't know Sam, I suggest you do some homework. Fortunately, the CD people have made it easy and released a 4 disc album with practically every song he's recorded. Almost. They gave his gospel recordings with the Soul Stirrers it's own collection of discs. Surprisingly, I don't own all of these, shame on me. However, any recording of him live? Awe. Some. You want some real singing? Bump American Idol! This is what it's all about. No, A Change is Gonna Come isn't sung live here. According to my research, he didn't record or release it yet. However, what I believe is the highlight is the intro to and the actual song Bring It On Home to Me. To get a taste of what this album is, I suggest checking out the first 10 minutes of the movie Ali starring Will Smith. In fact, this is the very movie that started my fascination with Sam Cooke's music and I was determined to find that song and specifically that version. David Elliot, who starred as Sam, was good and it is on the Ali soundtrack... but it still doesn't compare to the original. And you can believe I nearly exploded once I learned that there even was an original. Since it came in the mail, this has been the #1 album that has the heaviest rotation of all time. Well, with me anyway.

1.07.2009

a drabble about a boy and his dog

A drabble is a story that is exactly 100 words, not one more or one less. It's a challenge, and a fun one. Once again, this is Melissa's fault. I checked out the website that features such a contest and I'm choosing not to participate this time around. I'll possibly write a story for the picture for my own fun, but for now, let's just see what I came up with... and feel free to count the words. For the record, I wrote this in about 5-10 minutes. Let me know what you think.

One lazy, sunny afternoon, Woofkins the Dog barked eagerly at young Jake to be walked outside for his evening duty. Jake slipped on his sneakers and opened the door as Woofkins bolted out, barely knocking the door off the hinges.

Once outside, and away from all people, Woofkins turned to young Jake and spoke. “First, Jacob, I want to apologize for keeping this secret from you that I can, indeed, speak. I just have one thing to say to you that’s been driving me crazy since I was a pup.”

Jake, stunned, nods his head.

“Please stop calling me Woofkins.”

1.05.2009

can't end a vacation without a good breakfast

It took me about 3 hours to get back in the groove of work. Indoobians... it wasn't easy. First of all, this is New England where I reside. It's chilly outside. Bump chilly... It was frigid. I know when it's frigid because any fragment of moisture that finds it's way on my bedroom windows freeze which disables me from viewing the outside world clearly. Basically I have stained glass frosted windows. And it's horrible. I can make out blobs that appear to be trees or what may be a car or perhaps a moose... but moose aren't common in my area... are they? Well even if they were, I don't live close to any woodland areas unless I have a neighbor that has been housing a moose for a pet. Has anyone else ever wanted to say "mooses" even though it's incorrect?

I got cleansed and dressed and turned all the systems on (lights, computer, oven, stove, Foreman Grill, coffee maker, ACTION!) and forced myself to remember my password to login while I contemplated where I'd get my morning energy from. I chose the usual... scrambled eggs and bacon.

I bought new bacon though! Well, not really... but I was curious how the taste of hickory smoked differed from maple bacon. I also decided to bake a few, and Foreman the other. It could be my imagination... but I think it cancelled out some of the maple's flavor... so my taste comparison had been compromised. I will Foreman both later in the week. I never baked bacon before until I learned that this guy, Greg, did it at our church's New Year's Eve party. And 'twas good! Very crispy indeed. Mine came out crispy but extremely flat. Flatter than usually. Then again, I bought the store brand. What I bought Greg to use was thicker. Sigh, the adventures in breakfast.

While the bacon was doing it's thing, I made my eggs, which I do believe I'm getting to near-expert status (only for scrambled eggs though). How do I know this? Consistent yellow fluffiness of joy. Then I sprinkle more cheese on top (even when cheese has been mixed in) just for drooling points to anyone who catches a glimpse of my delicious meal. I made too much coffee. There's enough for three cups, I had one already and I'm done. And I wasted two pieces of bread for toast which I usually make into a breakfast sandwich, but I wanted a tradition breakfast today. I regret my choice.

The Foreman was the last thing I waited for until I dined, and I managed to seal up any traces of cooking (except for breakfasty aromas). My mother tells me I leave signs, traces and/or trails of where I've been or what I had done... so I'm always doing my best to clean up my tracks so no one would ever know [diabolical laugh].

So after stuffing my face and getting my caffeine kick (and catching up on some blogs, entertainment news, and whatever else that wasn't exactly related to work other than the near 100 emails (half of which are faxes (we are paperless!)) I had waiting for me) I think I'm ready to start the day. I threw on some Daft Punk and I'm using a different set of speakers (I'm missing the nice bass my other system had and I'm pondering the thought of switching again), but if it's one piece of motivation I learned... it's that caffeine and Daft Punk make for a good work drive. It actually makes for a good car drive too at night... but that's another story. So here's to banging out the bulk of my work in a day... or two (some of which has been backed up for the two weeks I've been away), but progression nonetheless! And 'tis a new year. So let's... ya know... work! WOOT!

Just for kicks and giggles, I baked cookies last night. I just felt the need to share. Not the cookies, of course, are you crazy? It takes some effort for me to share a cookie with anyone. Usually, being a female is a good way to start... I'm just saying....

1.02.2009

fripodding and new yearing (yearning?): the roots - rising down

Happy New Year and stuff! I almost let the first friPod of the year slip past me. Last friDay was intentional, I was on vacation. Technically I'm still on vacation, but whatever. 'Twas the Day After Christmas and much celebrating had to be done in the form of playing Wii and eating the still delicious leftover Christmas dinner.

Anyway, for the past few weeks I've been back to back friPodding TWO new albums of 2008, but I couldn't talk about them due to my trailer trash posts... which were so much more fun at the time. Perhaps what I'll due in vain of all the "Best of..." lists we see every year, I'll throw out a Best Trailers list. I know they have their own award show, but I never know when or where I can see such an event. Seriously, if I ever get the chance to work on movie trailers as a profession, I may put film making on pause. But I'll talk about new career plans in a future post, since I actually have post-worthy news.

Back to the new albums! Today, or actually the past two weeks, I've been dissecting the lyrics and music to what can be classified as my favorite hip hop band on the planet. And yes, it is real hip-hop and they are an actual band because they play live instruments. Who am I talking about? Who else? The Roots.

Their newest album is called Rising Down which I haven't completely figured out why... other than the song on the album. But I bought this album via iTunes and read the entire liner notes to understand the process in making this album. And it was indeed a process. Reading such materials makes me appreciate the album as a whole even more. And I'll be honest with you, with the first listen, I wasn't feeling a lot of the music. It had to grow on me. But like ?uestlove says, it's a darker album, perhaps the darkest... and most people know I'm generally a happy, bright person... even if I sometimes have a morbid or sadistic sense of humor. I jest, I don't hurt people intentionally anymore for a laugh. Well, not as much.

For the happier tunes on this album, I recommend getting the iTunes version and checking the last two songs Rising Up and Birthday Girl (which is only found on iTunes) even though Birthday Girl isn't exactly a "happy" song if you listen to the lyrics. Also on that song there's a guest spot by Patrick Stump from another new favorite band of mine, Fall Out Boy. But again, that's what I love about The Roots--the lyrics! Black Thought is like... genius. Even that is an understatement. The wordplay and rhyming... he's a master. And it's weird how there are so many "best rappers alive" battles and no one seems to mention him. Odd. Anyway, I recommend checking out this album. Maybe not everyone since he and the many guest stars do use choice words that many may not like, especially the infamous n-word. But you almost kinda wonder, what Black rapper doesn't?

Regardless, I've been a fan of the Legendary Roots Crew for a number of years now and it's safe to say, they are in a class of few artists on my list that I will buy their album without hearing a single single, and still know it's awesome. Others on my list included John Legend, Outkast and Joss Stone to name a few.

Woot! Watcher