Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul (2008)

The last Oasis album seems prophetic. Surprisingly for the rock group, there seems to be a big air of sadness and melancholy on this recording. This is reflected in the main singles. From all sides of it, Noel and Liam weren’t getting along either.

The music, therefore, is a mixed bag. It should have been a lot stronger an album. It is not. However, without further delay, let’s dive into the album itself.

The first song, Bag It Up, is obviously a drug referenced title. It shows off surreal lyrics, which hold up the theme of the album. Liam’s voice has seen much better days, but the harmonies on this one are fantastic regardless. Apparently, Liam and Noel have their heebie-jeebies in a little bag, if that is clear.

The follow up The Turning follows with a punchy drum beat and surrealistic psychedelic instrumentation. The choir backing vocals in the chorus are not different to that on the previous album in Oasis’s career Standing On The Shoulder of Giants, but it’s okay but an unsatisfying listen. One feels that Oasis could have done better here.

Waiting For The Rapture follows and Noel rambles on a bit here. It’s nothing special and could be bettered in terms of musicality. One can’t help but think that Noel was directly inspired by some later era material by The Beatles. It’s okay but as mentioned, could be bettered.

The Shock of the Lightning is the best song from this album. It sounds so life inspired and upbeat that it doesn’t really seem part of the album itself. But it’s a great listen, and proof that Noel Gallagher could still make great music. “Love is a litany, a magical mystery,” Mint. There’s a drum solo in it too.

The Liam Gallagher penned I’m Outta Time is rather depressing. It could have and should have, been more upbeat. But it’s not. Still, it’s a good listen, when the mood provides. It’s directly inspired by John Lennon and samples an interview which has John Lennon speaking. It’s okay, just very un-Oasis and melancholy, which is not what Oasis were about.

The following piece (Get Off Your) High Horse Lady is pure rubbish. A moaning vocal, repetitive lyrics and a pseudo-shuffle groove does nothing to lift this piece. It’s great when it’s finished, that’s the best bit about it. The sound of footsteps on gravel by a beachside at the end is also unnecessary.

Falling Down is a much better effort, but still, it’s depressing sounding. Still, it’s a good listen and well-structured song. Noel’s singing is fantastic here, he was well and truly ready for his next step – his solo career. But that’s another story. The song here is good though.

To Be Where There’s Life is a punchy and groovetastic song with some overt Indian influences in it. It’s a very good listen, not dissimilar in many respects to Who Feels Love? by Oasis as well. The only problem is that it is not as good as Who Feels Love? but still, it’s worth your time.

The Fender Telecaster driven piece Ain’t Got Nothin’ sounds much like a jam more than anything, but it’s okay. It’s got some of the old Oasis swagger about it but seems much like the rest of the album: hit and miss. It’s an okay listen nonetheless. It’s nice and short though, mind you.

The follow up The Nature Of Reality begins with some random guitar parts before launching into a beatastic piece with more surreal lyrics. It ponders the existence of life, but there could have been a better musical setting for it. It rocks well though.

Soldier On finishes the album on a bad note. It drags on from the word go, and there’s nothing great or special about it.

This, sadly, was the last Oasis album. After Noel Gallagher left Oasis in 2009, the group began a war with each other. Most picked a side between the Gallagher brothers Noel or Liam, but to do so seems illogical. Both were – and are, great musicians. This was their last joint effort before the chaos to be unleashed later on.

6/10

Layo & Bushwacka! – Night Works (2002)

In the 21st century, musically we have never had it so good. Breakbeat in this century is vibrant and interesting.  Many genres of music go well with a breakbeat style rhythm. The British duo known as Layo & Bushwacka! delivered this album, a great listen in breakbeat from start to finish.

Let’s dive in.

Vinyl begins with some rather unusual sounds, sounding rather dark and foreboding. It’s a short introduction to the record, and a good one too.

Ladies And Gentlemen is next, which is also quite short. It has some interesting sounds in it, and a spoken word part. It’s a good way to kick-start the whole recording, and we enter into this listen with style.

Then we have the brilliantly good Shining Through. This piece has bongos galore, a great breakbeat rhythm and some Asian style sounds. It’s a fantastic track, and received much airplay in the EDM scene at the time. It is really that good, worth listening. You can dance to this piece as well, if you wish to. It’s a classic piece.

A very short piece with a middle eastern melody, Sahara, is next. It’s tripped out, and is proof of the mixing abilities of the duo.

We Meet At Last comes next. It has some dark sounds to boot and takes a while to really kick off. It’s not as good as the previous tracks, some of the sounds here are poor choice in the mix. But still, it’s a good effort from Layo & Bushwacka!

Mainlining follows and has a semi psychedelic feel to it. It has some plucked guitar parts, before seguing into the next piece.

The piece that comes next is Let The Good Times Roll. It has some African like melodic singing in it, possibly blues influenced, before hitting us with some good beats to spare. It’s an unusual piece, but given breakbeat’s huge ability to cross into almost any genre, is very good to hear. It’s rather melancholic in its melodies too.

The next arrival is All Night Long, sounding very quiet at the beginning. It flows into pseudo techno beats, and is a good piece to hear. It has some catchy vocal melodies in it as well, reminiscent of Scatman. This is a standout effort on the album, it should be listened to.

Strike is a seven second warping transition into the next piece. Nothing much to say about it given its length.

Sleepy Language arrives next, and boy! It is an awesome 21st century piece. It’s a good listen for when the mood strikes, featuring a great range of samples and ingenious production by the duo. Great work here. Perfect for late night listening.

The following piece, Blind Tiger, is a laidback piece sampling a blues singer and is just chilled as a listen. Good use of delay based sound effects are here. A chugging piano and great saxophone is in the middle here, followed up with a descending bass line. It’s an interesting listen for sure.

The interlinking piece Automatic sounds very machine like. It has some psychedelic sounds which are interesting, before launching into the next piece.

Love Story is a quiet but melodic piece indicating the emotion at hand. It has techno beats in it as well. It’s a good instrumental that is reminiscent of Underworld. Not bad at all. It has an odd midsection to it, before bouncing back to the beats.

2mrw starts off with digitally enhanced beats and sounds IDM like. It jumps into a computerised and futuristic style of song that is fresh and interesting.

The remix entitled Love Story (vs. Finally) (Bushwacka! bootleg version) is very simple and catchy. It’s a good bonus addition, and a subtle, funky listen. The vocal piece in the centre is brilliant.

Following is It’s Up To You (Shining Through) (Radio Mix) which is a great remix of Shining Through with great vocals added. It’s good to hear such variety here, and goes well on this place of the album.

Let The Good Times Roll (Reworked) is another short remix, but a very good one, bringing in more catchy elements to the music at hand. It’s punchy and danceable. Very good effort.

Where Did We Go Wrong? seems to sound just awful. Good thing it is at the end of the album and that most of the rest of the album is listenable. Let’s pretend that this cut did not exist for the most part, it’s ordinary. Even the vocals on this are bad per se. And once this awful track is over, we conclude our journey.

This album is a decent listen overall. For those who love atmospheric sounds and mixed in with breakbeats, be sure to check out this album. You may enjoy it immensly.

7/10

Blink-182 – Blink-182 (2003)

/All the successes of Blink-182 had come to fruition. Despite this, the band went very serious on this recording in comparison to previous efforts. Prior to this, the music of Blink-182 was not very serious at all. This one is. It is the last album to feature guitarist and singing Tom Delonge. It is also their best effort musically.

We begin with pounding drums and lead into Feeling This. It’s a good song about desire, perhaps with an air of melancholy about it. It’s a good song to begin with, and sounds like definitive Blink-182. A great way to start the album.

The grunge like guitars and message of Obvious arrive next. It’s about being cheated on, not at all a comfortable subject to hear. And just when you thought the song was over, bam! It starts again. A good and obvious surprise. Nice.

I Miss You is Blink-182’s most popular song ever. It is a sad ballad about missing someone you love. It is nothing at all like earlier Blink-182 efforts. “Don’t waste your time on me, you’re already the voice inside my head. I miss you.” It’s a very sad song. But so good that it’s worth listening to when the mood demands it.

Violence starts off with some great percussion based sounds, before leading into a fast paced track which is disturbing lyrically. It’s not specifically about violence, but being killed emotionally by a partner. Makes sense if you ever feel this way. It’s just so well done, despite the fact it is a depressing listen. A good job regardless.

The quick and bitter Stockholm Syndrome Interlude comes next. It’s a painful observation with a female voice-over observing a terrible relationship based situation at hand. By now, this could be considered a postmodern breakup concept album of sorts.

It segues into Stockholm Syndrome which is a bitter reflection of the past. It’s effective on many musical and emotional levels. In other words, it is a really good medley of sorts with the previous song.

Down is the next piece. It’s less intense than the previous songs to listen to, but just as good. It’s still about failed relationships though. Who knew what was running through the band’s mind at this point? It’s a good song anyway.

The Fallen Interlude is a mostly instrumental piece that has some minor key melodies in it. It’s a good change from continuous songs. Some great drum work is here as well.

The short and rather disturbing Go arrives next. It is about parents who fight with one another, perhaps verbally or physically and the flow on effects of this. Uncomfortable listening, but fortunately a short listen.

After that, we segue into the rather ordinary Asthenia. It’s not as good as the other songs on this album, but it is still okay to listen to. It could have been bettered though. It seems to refer a lot of classic songs though, which is interesting.

Always is truly a great song. It is just perfectly done for the mood at hand. It’s about still loving someone, even after being rejected in a relationship. It’s something you’d play to someone if you feel that your relationship is on the rocks. Awesome listening.

Easy Target is a short and hateful sounding song. It’s not clear what the subject matter is about, but it fortunately is short for such a track. It has a reoccurring riff throughout that segues into the next song.

The following piece, All Of This, features Robert Smith of The Cure on vocals. It’s a slow paced song with Nine Inch Nails style drums, but it makes a big impact on the listener. Ironic choice for a guest vocalist on a Blink-182 song though. Decent enough anyway.

The short Here’s Your Letter is about being distressed thinking about a girl in one’s life. It explains a series of events, which is quite unusual in modern music. It’s a good listen to hear on the album though.

I’m Lost Without You is the last main song on the album. It’s a very sad piece about the loss of love. The instrumentation and arrangements support the lyrics perfectly. The lyrics sound very deep too, a perfect match for the song. It’s a great epic work. The drumming outro is superb.

Anthem Part Two – Live in Chicago is added to the album’s end. It starts off with a great joke, before heading into a decent live version of said song, which is on the previous Blink-182 album Take Off Your Pants And Jacket. It’s a nice version of the song.

This album is an emotional ride. It’s a postmodern breakup album. Perhaps this was what Tom Delonge had going through his mind at this point, and left Blink-182 after this effort to spend time with his family. Still, the music here is fantastic when the mood desires it. Sadly, Blink-182 were never the same again after Delonge’s departure.

9/10

Horsepower Productions – To The Rescue (2004)

It is very rare to hear such a great and inspired album by any EDM act, even in the 21st century. This album is as good as it gets in the genre of Breakbeat. We have your classic Breakbeat sound, mixed with some Asian style influences for the most part. This could be considered a subgenre of Breakbeat. But even so, it is really just a great listen. Let’s dive in.

Golden Nugget samples an old cowboy film and is brilliantly effective for listening. It is simple, yet catchy. The bass riff and sounds on this one are headbanging for sure. Could you say the same about many musical acts today? The logical answer seems to be no. But this piece is fun and entertaining too. A nice, fresh start to the record.

Synbad follows, and sounds rather James Bond like in the intro. It has a very middle eastern melody throughout, along with some beats that are delicious. This is seriously great music, so fresh and inspired all the way through.

The atmospheric Voodoo Spell arrives afterwards and is rather dark and dense listening. It’s not dull though. It’s psychedelic and interesting nonetheless. Good stuff. It has a sitar in it too.

The following track Marseilles Connection is a great head rush sort of piece. It bursts into multitracked beats, subtle flute like sounds and shifts into differently organised sections. It’s really good to hear this sort of thing. It’s a great musically accomplished piece. It goes well over six minutes, but is just the right length for listening to.

The next piece, Special 131 follows and it is a futuristic instrumental piece. It’s a little dull to be fair and drags on a bit. But it is still fitting the album well, signalling a cohesive album regardless. It does have some good melodies though.

Galaxian follows, which is an improvement on the last piece. It’s quite catchy, in fact. The sample of a crying lady is somewhat annoying though. It’s still a good effort. One can’t help but think that this is EDM for home listening, not for partying.

Hand Of Death is fantastic. It samples some commentary about Chinese history to begin with, along with chanting and other great samples of fighting as well. It is a brilliant mixture of western music and Asian music. More pieces like these should be done in music history, it fits the early 21st century perfectly.

Up next is Classic Deluxe – Part II , and what a lush piece this is. It samples nature sounds, has brilliant melodies and bongo beats to match. It’s a really nice piece, worth the 11 minutes of listening that it goes on for. It’s epic.

The next piece up is totally brilliant. Sholay – Epic Mix by guest musicians High Plains Drifter and Goldspot Productions is just pure awesomeness. It is based on the Indian Bollywood film of the same name. The melody is so moving. By this point, this album is one of the best representations of the 21st century. This piece in particular is majestic.

On Tha Run – Horsepower Productions Remix is a good remix to finish the album off. It has some interesting sounds within this track, and ends the album nicely.

Not everybody digs Breakbeat or EDM. But, if you are looking for a new way to kick off the 21st century, give this a shot for musical taste. It is a true representation of what music nowadays should be about. An epic listen indeed.

8/10

Coldplay – X & Y (2005)

Coldplay had released two era-defining albums in the early 2000s, Parachutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head. Both were postmodern masterpieces in rock and pop culture. They spent a little longer developing this album, X & Y.

For a start, this album is generally seen as a disappointment compared to the first two Coldplay albums. But hold it right there – the music here is still excellent. Let’s observe the album, track by track. The album borrows a lot of influences from Radiohead and U2. It’s a cool album. Let’s dive in.

Square One begins this album with its awesome keyboard/organ and Chris Martin stating: “You’re in control, is there anywhere you wanna go?” It bursts into a decent mid-tempo rocker. It has a great midsection riff in it, too. A good start by the group.

What If follows and it is a more melancholy piece, as you’d expect from Coldplay themselves. It talks about the ifs and buts of life. The lyrics and melody of this song really are wonderful. Nice job there.

For those of you who dig the surreal and perhaps melancholy side of Coldplay mixed together, White Shadows is a U2 like piece. Even though it’s not their best song, how can this be any worse than what was to be offered on Paracutes and A Rush Of Blood To The Head? It’s a solid song.

The next piece Fix You is a great song by Coldplay. It proves that Coldplay were leaders, not followers, despite the fact they wished to be an Oasis/Radiohead sonic hybrid as a band. This is a wonderful and beautiful song. Give it a listen. The guitar riff in the middle of the song is top.

Talk sounds like a continuation of the previous song. Perhaps it was intended to be, although this is not a concept album. It has a bunch of awesome sounds for us to hear, which are very difficult to hear in other places musically. Chris Martin reassures us throughout, this is a decent Coldplay song.

X & Y, the title track is a lot weaker than the previous songs. It’s not outright bad, but it has no really hook or riff in it to make it memorable. Still, the production and some of the sounds are really very good here, so it’s not all bad. A nice string section at the end is there though.

The radio ready Speed Of Sound kicks off with a great piano riff and lyrics that are solid about giving life a go. It seems to be a lyrical theme of this album. The chorus will just lift your soul up into happiness. Not many songs made in the 21st century do that, but this one certainly does. A good effort.

Probably the best love song Chris Martin ever wrote is this song. A Message is something Kurt Cobain should have heard to prevent his suicide, even though he did that way back in 1994. It’s such a simple and beautiful song and hits the spot powerfully. Underrated and epic.

Low, perhaps devoted to David Bowie, is a very weak track. It is backed up by a surrealistic keyboard sound and structure, but seriously, this one isn’t really that wow, unlike other Coldplay songs. It drags on a bit too.

The Hardest Part is a much better song, and Coldplay sound back on form here. It’s really beautiful, and reminiscent of earlier Coldplay songs. Chris Martin sounds much better with his singing here, and this song is a great one.

The follow up, Swallowed In The Sea is a calm ballad about taking the blame in respect to a relationship. It evolves into a love based song that just flows well. Not bad for a downtempo number, usually these sorts of numbers by a band such as Coldplay are dull. Not this one.

Next up, Twisted Logic is just that. It talks about the future, but it is not really a good song. It sounds off-key and dirge like. This could have been scrapped or redone easily. But considering the quality of this album, it’s not that bad.

‘Til Kingdom Come was a last minute effort. It’s an acoustic song devoted to the late Johnny Cash. But it’s a great listen all the same. The song is great, and is basically Coldplay meets country music. Nice. R.I.P. Johnny Cash. 

X & Y is definitely better than what critics assumed of it the first time that they listened to it. It’s almost as good as the first two Coldplay albums, but is variable and cohesive enough to show Coldplay as a great band and is worth a listen.

8/10

DJ Icey – DJ Icey Presents Y4K (2006)

DJs are not to be underestimated in the 21st century. Their ability to hone a decent mix and utilize their own craft is something special, and something that has not been done so before much in the history of music.

This mix is a good one. It’s filled with awesome tracks to sink your teeth into. If you love the sound of breakbeats, or just new something cool for a change, no doubt here is a good place to begin,

We begin with Merka’s I’ll Be Here. It’s a simple and minimalist track which leads into the mix in general. It’s nothing special, but a good start to the mix.

Following up is a rather deep and meaningful track. IIs’s Loving You (Atomic Hooligan Remix) is a good example of vocals, breaks, and beats mixed together into a good piece. It’s sonically reassuring, given the piece itself. Worth listening to.

Plodout by Vlad follows, and it’s just that, but never gets dull to listen to. It combines some beats and some basic electronic sounds to boot. It’s a good one.

Feelin’ Kinda Strange (Bass Kleph & Nick Thayer Remix) by the Drummatic Twins arrives, and this mix really kicks off. It’s so catchy you’ll be dancing for days to it. It has a bunch of killer sounds and samples, with a climax that is euphoric. Killer.

After that, we have This Feelin’ (Boy 8-bits Grindhouse Mix) by AB/DC and it has some warm sounds throughout. It’s an okay track but serves as an anticlimax after the previous tracks, which is a little disappointing.

The next track is a highlight. Like This (Main Mix) by Artcrime samples John Lennon screaming and has a bunch of interesting sounds, samples, and breakdowns to keep one interesting whilst listening. It’s awesome.

Never Gonna Stop The Show by General Midi is a good rap/breaks piece. It is direct and to the point, and just fits in well with the rest of the mix here. It’s good to hear some decent rap for a change.

Come Closer by DJ Icey himself is theatrical, and brilliant. It samples a lady asking for some, and has some great acid like sounds in it. It’s a great touch to the mix.

The following piece, The Ride by Move Ya! and Steve Lavers is a futuristic romp through music. It’s awesome no doubt, but also by this point in the mix, we can recognise the greatness of the overall mix. Just fantastic.

The next one is acid galore. Everybody Get Up (Circuit Breaker Remix) by Transformer Man has a bunch of great rhythms to boot as well. It fits into the mix nicely.

San Pedro by DJ Icey is a much more chillax sort of vibe by DJ Icey himself. It settles down the party like atmosphere after the previous few tracks. DJ Icey is an accomplished musician, by all means.

All Your Love (Deekline & Wizard Club Mix) by Deekline is a strange one, with pounding beats and cut up vocals that make no sense whatsoever. It fits the bill nicely, however.

If there is one track to dislike on this mix, it is likely this one. Grizzle (Vlad & Ardisson Remix) by Smithmonger & Kobi is dull and drags on quite a bit. Still, it has its place here on the mix.

We end the DJ mix with DJ Icey’s Nikita. It’s okay but sounds as though the mix is a little burned out at this point. We conclude it after 5 minutes of solid listening.

For anybody who is a fan of EDM or similar types of electronic music, this compilation is worth tracking down. It is much better than you’d expect from a Breakbeat artist, and it is a good solid hour or so of listening. If you love breaks and beats, look no further. DJ Icey does very well here.

9/10

Kid Rock – Cocky (2001)

After the unexpected success of Devil Without A Cause and The History of Rock, Kid Rock at last had made it. He was working very consistently, and delivered this album after those two, showing he had a great musical talent and lyrical trashing to boot.

This is not Devil Without A Cause #2. It is an interesting and wonderful record to say the least, and confirmed Kid Rock’s staying power and sonic ability to rock your life.

We start off with Trucker Anthem, with its super long intro and musical assault. It sounds different to the last two albums, showing the variety that Kid Rock had in his arsenal. It’s a good intro to a killer album.

Forever follows and is a statement of self purpose by Kid Rock. It sounds so loud, heavy and bluesy that it pales some of his previous work in comparison in this regard. It’s a catchy piece and worth listening to. It also mentions his musical influences in the chorus, which is fascinating.

The follow up is Lay It On Me. It’s a down and dirty tune by Kid Rock about, you-know-what. It’s got a soulful chorus though. Not bad, especially considering the content. There’s a cool piano led outro too.

Cocky is the album’s title track, and has Kid Rock dissing just about everyone over his success. “They say I’m cocky/And I say what?!/It ain’t bragging motherfucker if you back it up.” Sums it up, really. But it’s super catchy, despite the lyrics being how they are.

The following song, What I Learned Out On The Road is a strange tale of travels and pursuits on tour and in general. It’s a good reflective piece on life doing music each night. It’s a well done piece. By this part of the album, we can hear a much wider variety of influences in Kid Rock’s music than ever before, which is a good thing.

I’m Wrong, But You Ain’t Right is an aggressive, metal like piece that has Kid Rock pointing the finger at virtually everyone who attacks him, or giving them the finger. It’s a weaker song, but still very good anyway. The guitar solo breakdown is awesome.

The next song, Lonely Road Of Faith, is so much like a Led Zeppelin piece but it’s about a different sort of topic than what Led Zeppelin would cover. Still, it’s a nice ballad to boot and makes a change from the other songs on the album. It ends with beautiful piano, and sounds mint.

You Never Met A Motherfucker Quite Like Me talks about Kid Rock’s self-importance, yet again. It has some interesting arrangements and instrumentation and the chorus is so uplifting that it’s brilliant. At least Kid Rock has a sense of humour and doesn’t take himself too seriously, as we can hear here.

One of Kid Rock’s best songs, Picture, talks about heartaches involved with romance. It features Sheryl Crow and not for the last time, either. It’s a good piece, and a rare deep and meaningful from Kid Rock. A beautiful piece indeed, only ruined by a horrendous guitar solo in the middle. Fortunately, the rest of the song is great.

I’m A Dog is perhaps referring to Kid Rock’s attitude as he goes out into the world. Note that Kid Rock is very self obsessed. This song continues that trend, but although it is a weaker song, it kicks ass.

The next song, Midnight Train To Memphis is a tale of distress in relationships. It is rather slow to start with, but quickly changes into a rocker. Still, it’s not the best Kid Rock song ever, but it’s an okay listen.

Baby Come Home is a lot better, with a catchy slide guitar riff. It’s so cool, a perfect mixture of blues and country, which is a rare thing despite rock and roll beginning from that fusion. It’s a cool story about chasing a girl and trying to find her in the world. There’s a banjo in there, too.

The last main track on the album, Drunk In The Morning is a multi sectioned piece. It begins as a slow lament, before bursting into a loud and heavy rocker that is just fantastic. It just has the attitude that everyone should feel in their lives. It follows a quiet-loud dynamic, similar to what Nirvana would do.

WCSR is terrible. It is a supposed bonus track which, despite featuring Snoop Dogg and  mentioning an interesting story with Bill Clinton (regardless of whether it is true or not), it is awful. Should not have been put on the record. Avoid this one.

So, at this point, Cocky is a good record, not a great one. It didn’t sell as many copies as Devil Without A Cause. It’s rather patchy at times, but it definitely rocks in many different ways. To own this is a joy though. Kid Rock is still making great music today, unlike many older rock artists. It’s solid enough. The album cover showed that Kid Rock was definitely cocky. What a legend.

8/10