The Lunchtime Listening Sessions #5

Mariah Carey

A little late on #5, I know. Better late than never though right? This week we’ve got new music from Kid Cudi, Arctic Monkeys, Dizzee Rascal and Mariah Carey. Don’t hesitate.

Kid Cudi – Heart Of A Lion

Man on the Moon Cover

Man On The Moon: The End of Day (2009)

There’s something that shines through on every song on Cudi’s debut album. It’s not immediately apparent but beyond the stoner talk there’s a sense of struggle, similar to what I talked about here. Kid Cudi doesn’t fit into any stereotypes of hip-hop artists. He doesn’t have the most succinct flow and in some cases he can spoil it completely by throwing in ridiculous lines e.g. “I control my own life, Charles was never in charge.” But when he came out to perform ‘Already Home’ with Jay-Z at Madison Square Garden a couple weeks back, it was obvious that he was able to show another aspect of his repertoire; in that case it was his blessed ability at being able to craft perfect hooks that begin to sound bigger every time you hear them. In the case of ‘Heart of a Lion,’ Cudi eases off on the hook and saves the best part for the coda. The great thing about it is that there is nothing to it. It’s simply a repetitive “no, no, no, no, no yeah” line but the delivery is so perfect that the context of the song still comes into play no matter what he says. Don’t expect the song to make it as a single but don’t let that put you off.

Arctic Moneys – Cornerstone

Arctic Moneys Humbug CoverHumbug (2009)

‘Cornerstone’ is one of the Arctic Monkeys more subdued albums and the placement of the song three-quarters of the way through ‘Humbug’ works perfectly. The song itself picks up where songs like ‘Despair In The Departure Lounge’ left off. There’s a whole lot of ambiguity floating around here as well. Alex Turner describes trying to find somebody he misses but only coming up with the second best everytime. But like most of his songwriting, there are little secrets hiding out in the details. In this case, we get cleverly formed lines about going home the long way in cabs and smelling somebody’s scent on the seatbelt of the car. It’s something that is unique yet somehow universal when it comes to love. Reminds me of shit.

Dizzee Rascal – Freaky Freaky

Dizzee Rascal Tongue N' Cheek

Tongue N’ Cheek (2009)

Dizzee Rascal’s new album is in some ways a departure from the sound that made him famous in the first place. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. On ‘Tongue N Cheek,’ Dizzee tackles songs produced by Calvin Harris and Armand Van Helden, showing that he can run the charts with the big boys. On ‘Freaky Freaky’ we get a few stories of Dizzee getting “nasty, nasty, nasty.” The second verse here is my favourite if only for the hilarious reminisces of getting head, especially the memorable moment he describes of watching a Jamie Foxx movie at the cinemas. It doesn’t push the limits like Ghostface in ‘Gihad’ but the song is filled with tightly packed couplets and it makes for a perfect moment in the first half of the album.

Mariah Carey – H.A.T.E.U

Memoirs of an Imperfect AngelMemoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (2009)

I’ll definitely be writing a whole lot more on ‘Memoirs’ when I get a chance but in the meantime lets focus on this for a minute. It seems I’m one of the only people that actually like ‘Obsessed.’ I guess it’s because I’ll listen to anything by The-Dream, who wrote the song and despite his ridiculous wordplay that sometimes goes way over the top (“seeing right through you like you’re bathing in Windex”) we get some really great moments that sound even better coming from Mariah. Especially that “I’m up in the A” line and the delivery of “napoleon complex” in the chorus. On The-Dream written H.A.T.E.U, Carey tones it right down and it makes for a nice ballad. The beat takes almost a minute to come in but when it finally drops, it reminds me of the last 30 seconds of The-Dream’s ‘Fancy.’ Only in this case it’s almost drugged out and there’s a whole lot more going on in the background that begins to rise to the surface with every listen.

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