Thursday, January 06, 2005
glistening by the numbers: NINETEEN
Naughty By Nature - "19 Naughty III"
41: Takes a while, a'long'while, but it's not altogether horrible. The fast rapping and break are nice.
Avi: Naughty by Nature put out a couple singles with huge infectious choruses. This is not one of those songs.
Jamie: 1993...see comment for Ratatat about the golf cart. There weren't too many kids at my high school who would have been listening to this, with grunge sweeping the hallways. I'm 10-15 years behind in discovering, and often enjoying, hip-hop/rap acts of the period, starting by going back to the late 70s and moving forward. It's a side effect of a history minor, needing the see the evolution of anything before I start enjoying it.
Rosencrans: This song takes a ridiculously long time to get interesting. Wish the background was thicker and bigger. But my head was bobbing.
David: I haven't heard anything by Naughty by Nature in about ten years. I used to love them, and this kind of reminds me why. I'm going to have to go off and buy a couple of their albums now.
Naughty's mix of feel good party hits and down'n'dirty gully cuts had their first two albums flying out the door like hotcakes but lightning could only strike so many times before the earth was scorched; once they gasped out their last party rocker in '99 (the Spoonie Gee and the Treacherous Three "Yes We Can Can" fueled "Jamboree"), Naughty by Nature became rap grandfathers. Though these days they're best relegated to production, inevitable once-every-four-year vanity projects and "Where Are They Now?" shows, NBN in '93 was a light pointing in the direction of a path where pop and hip hop crossed. Long before Jay Z and Linkin Park, before Nelly slapped on a band-aid, even before Timbaland started sampling the Knight Rider theme, Naughty by Nature had divined the future in power pop rap with street credentials.
Buy "19 Naughty III", NBN's sophomore effort, from Amazon.
STORY THAT DATES ME ALERT: I learned all the lyrics to 'Hip Hop Hooray' with the intention of performing it at my high school talent show but was barred from doing so when I exhibited "lewd and unbecoming behavior" in a prior performance of Faith No More's 'A Small Victory'. Apparently, I screamed too loud and humped the floor too enthusiastically during the guitar solo.
I could still probably toss off most of 'Hip Hop Hooray' today without much prompting...
"Hip hop, hip hip hop, hip hip hop hooray; there's many hungry hip hoppers who raisin' hip hop to tops today; so word ya heard cuz I ain't bailin' no hay; ain't choppin' no crops but still growin' every DAY."
Visit the Naughty official site with clips of NBN's 2002 album gueststarring Lil' Jon, Method and Red and... Pink? How did I miss this?
Watch this promo video with Naughty frontman Treach hyping Empire. This amusing interview in the aftermath of the yearly Source awards dustup (this one in 2000) is worth a peek too.
Muddy Waters - "She's Nineteen Years Old"
A sad reminder that though we keep getting older, the girls keep getting younger.
Or as Clint put it, "A man's got to know his limitations."
Buy The Best of Muddy Waters, Volume Two: 1956-1964" from Amazon.
Vicious stuff, less rootsy than the early material but with a severe rockist bite.
Cook up a mess a fried bologna snacks, just like Muddy likes 'em.
Visit the American Masters Muddy page.
Time for some music from our chief pop rocka, number one chief rocka: Anthony Miccio.
One of the reasons I love music is similar of the antithesis to Malcolm X's famous stance on why he always preferred history over mathematics, that math couldn't be argued. Music can ALWAYS be argued and what you find brilliant, I can find blather. Imagine if our other senses were so capricious; my purple would look like your yellow and your asparagus would taste like my chocolate. Sound is tricky like that.
Anyway. This is just my way of saying that while I'll be damned if I know what Miccio sees in Sugar Ray, I'll defend to the death his right to give them dap.
Wot th' hell: give it a try. Maybe you'll like asparagus this time.
Anthony Miccio is a freelance music critic whose work has appeared in the Village Voice and Blender. He's currently a reviewer for Stylus Magazine and dilligently voicing his opinion once a day at Anthony Is Right, cuz he is.
Sugar Ray - "Just A Little"
Sugar Ray - "Waiting"
There are few 'mainstream' rock bands I love as much as Sugar Ray. Where most aggro bands desperately attempt to reaffirm cred after a fluke pop hit, these rational dudes realized it was the first decent song they'd written, dropped the nu-facade and followed it with an album, 14:59, that was peppered with immortal trifles (including my favorite single of the '90s, "Someday"). They and their alterna-pop peers were often just as diverse in their musical efforts as Beck, their lionized progenitor, but didn't make their stylistic eccentricity a selling point, leading critics to either ignore their talents or write them off as commercial hacks. The 2001 follow-up Sugar Ray was their most assured work and one of the most underrated pop albums of the last five years; maintaining a wistful mood and gorgeous, playful sound throughout. Unfortunately, MTV saw lines under the eyes, the clock read 15:00 and the band was shunted off to adult contemporary and the two hours a day on VH1 where a celebrity (possibly Mark McGrath) isn't incredulously reacting to a fad from 15 years ago.
While 2003's In Pursuit Of Leisure was not without its charms, these guys are too financially shrewd to bother with a solid comeback album and will probably continue their extra-curricular efforts (drummer Stan Frazier produced tracks for Ashlee Simpson, Mark McGrath flapped his arms with Shania Twain on her song "Party For Two" and co-hosts Extra) when not occasionally touring state fairs. Their best of (with new tracks) comes out in May, but SUGAR RAY will remain a worthwhile purchase for albums tracks like the Weezerific ballad "Waiting" and "Just A Little," which can only be described as country-disco (maybe Shania heard it!). If there's any justice these guys will be the Jimmy Buffett of a new generation.
Visit Sugar Ray's official website.
Read this typically bullshit-free interview with Mark McGrath.