Last 7 Days is a returning series here on The Metronome that uses last.fm to chronicle the artists and albums that have made up the last week’s worth of listening for one of our staff members. This week, Eric Arredondo shares the listening habits that made up his week.
Now, its my first time back to California in months, and my favorite thing to do is drive through the streets of LA listening to music. Preferably, with a burned CD in the car stereo, no skips allowed (hence my low play count this week). Lately, there’s no one better for such a thing than Frank Ocean. From the infectious bass line of “Songs for Women” to the quiet guitar on “Pink Matter,” Ocean’s skilled songwriting matched with his strong voice provides the perfect summer soundtrack. I’ve had Channel Orange on repeat since it debuted, and Nostalgia, Ultra is a modern classic in my opinion. But Frank Ocean still has room to grow, and we should all be excited for what that means for R&B music.
I’ll admit that I came very late to Shabazz Palaces. I’d seen them mentioned across the internet, my friends and fellow BPM writers raving about them, but I just never sought out any of their material. But when I finally did, boy did I binge listen. The kind of sounds that Shabazz Palaces creates on Black Up are staggering and hypnotizing. I can listen to them rap over space-like beats for hours, and not even realize it.
Man, I miss Cudi. There was a time when I would not hesitate to declare Kid Cudi as my favorite rapper. His catchy hooks and melodic rapping struck a chord with me like no other hip-hop was at the time. But as Cudi grew as an artist, he pulled away from the fun sound that originally drew me to him. This past week I’ve been blasting some old favorites like “Make Her Say” and “Day N Nite,” along with some greatness off of his mixtape, sush as “Cudi Get” and “”Save My Soul.”
There is nothing like an “almost-there” album to get you to listen to a great one. This year’s Looking 4 Myself was by no means a bad album, and “Climax” is easily one of my favorite songs of the year, but Usher’s latest offering was unable to overcome the hurdle of surpassing Confessions. I listen to Confessions, and I have a nostalgic connection with almost each song: it’s the album that made me love R&B music. But no matter what, Usher has been creating quality R&B for quite sometimes, and all his albums demand some playtime (unless you’re counting the 2 albums immediately after Confessions, which I try my best not to).
It’s a shame that last.fm can’t scrobble directly from my car stereo, because ‘4 plays’ does not do justice in any way to how much Danny Brown I listened to this week. Often, I would finish listening (read as: obnoxiously screaming along) to “Grown Up,” only to hit repeat immediately. With his distinct drawl and unabashedly honest lyrics, Danny Brown represents some of the weirder sides of modern hip-hop. But he’d be the first to tell you that he is a freaky dude, which makes him all the more entertaining to listen to.
Its hard to find music as simple and simultaneously complex as Balam Acab’s production, from his haunting remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games” to his full length Wander/Wonder. Mixing in traditional sounds with samples of splashing water, Balam Acab creates outside of the clichéd norm, and is worth a listen from everyone for simply that.
Few hip-hop albums grabbed my attention in the past year more so than A$AP Rocky’s LiveLoveA$AP. With a sound crafted by Clams Casino, A$AP Rocky raps amongst the best of them, over a slew of amazing beats that transcend normal rap intrumentals. Clams Casino’s production is top notch, so much so that he could probably release his instrumentals as their own albums… wait, he did (twice).
Domo Genesis x Alchemist
The latest release from Odd Future, Domo Genesis and the Alchemist’s No Idols, is easily one of the strongest albums to come out of the LA collective. Once again, The Alchemist proves that he is the best at what he does, and these beats are amazing: the horn intro that fades into the steady riding piano sample in “The Daily News” is subtle and yet shifts the song in a startling way. Domo Genesis is good overall with some clever wordplay, but in the end he doesn’t live up to the promise of Alchemist’s production.