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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Top 31 of 2007 - #20

Cale's Pick
Dillinger Escape Plan: Ire Works
Released: November 5, 2007

About a month ago, I was driving with my sister while listening to a little Dillinger. After a few minutes of listening to the thrashing guitars and screaming vocals she turned and said, "I didn't know you were into this kind of music," to which I responded, "I'm not." No, as it turns out, I'm not much of a fan of any sort of metal music, or any "genre" that ends with "-core" (i.e. hardcore,'s all the same thing dammit!). But for some strange reason that I have yet to figure out, I really enjoy Dillinger Escape Plan. Perhaps it's because most metal is repetitive and unoriginal while Dillinger is fresh and uber talented. Just when you think you have one of their songs nailed, they change directions completely and go off on a freeform jazz tangent or to a surprisingly accessible chorus. Their music is an absolute blast to listen to because you literally have no idea what to expect when you go into it for the first time. As for Ire Works, it is definitely their most diverse and solid album to date and I listen to it frequently. If I hadn't solidified my list a few weeks ago, it might have moved up a few spots because I've grown to like it more than I anticipated. But then again, 20 ain't so bad.

For making music that is both interesting and entertaining, Dillinger Escape Plan's Ire Works makes it to #20.

The Top 31 Songs of 2007 - #20
"Werewolf" by Cocorosie, from the album, The Adventures of Ghosthorse and Stillborn.

Jill's Pick
Pharoahe Monch: Desire
Released: June 26, 2007

True story: I was standing in the middle of a Best Buy eavesdropping on this man and his wife, who was surprised that he knew anything at all about Rap music. He was clutching this cd in his hands and looked like he was never going to let it go and he kept telling her that he was so excited about it. "It's been 9 years. 9 years." He mumbled it a few times and held his new found treasure to his chest while his wife decided between a few different classical music selections. "9 years. 9." All this time he was clutching and she was looking (and I was standing there trying to figure out what all the fuss was about) he gave her this brief history of Monch's first album and how he'd never heard anything like it. "I'm not into Rap. You know that. But this is worth it." She finally asked him if he was really going to get this "Rap album no one has ever heard of. I think you're making it up." He clutched it to his chest and turned away from her, this look in his eyes like he was guarding his about-to-be purchase from a really angry flying animal that was going to swoop out with claws and snatch it from him. With a roll of the eyes she turned and walked away in the general direction of the check out area and he followed.

I really hope that man was happy with his purchase because I know I was. Sure, it was a gamble spending money on an album from someone I'd never heard of before and based on the overheard recommendation of someone I'd never met before. I was prompted to purchase thinking that if someone who says they aren't into Rap was so excited about it then there's got to be something to it.

The man has got flow like it's nobody's business. Pharoahe Monch, not the guy at Best Buy. Listening to this album never makes me fail to say "How does he get those words out like that without tripping over them?" because if I tried to Rap, it would be a mess. (No. Really.) It's a little ambitious there with the track "Trilogy" which is this sort of Hip-Hop Opera in several acts about cheating on your spouse. (Only, it's not cheesy funny and easy to mock like R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" series.) It's got down the R&B thing, starts with a Slave song, and "Welcome to the Terrordome" made me pause to make sure I wasn't actually listening to Public Enemy. And there aren't 900 million people on this album, so you can really get a sense of the skills Pharoahe Monch has, which is nice, because lets face it, not many people can do that.

My favorite: "Desire"

Tracks to give a listen to:
--"Hold On"

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