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I Am the West
I Am the West
Price: $13.99
40 used & new from $4.28

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's Just Not Going To Be Any More Classics..., February 28, 2011
This review is from: I Am the West (Audio CD)
I remember, years ago -- the early 90s, I think -- reading a review of a Paul McCartney or George Harrison cd. And the writer started off with this: "Every couple of years, another ex-Beatle releases a new solo album. And for fans of the Beatles our feelings take that same roller coaster ride: First, there's the anticipation (which is the best part), then there comes that first track on the album or cd which is usually quite good, and then the inevitable disappointment upon listening to the rest of the disc, followed by the sad realization that this is it. There will be no return to Strawberry Fields or Penny Lane."

I feel the same way about 90s hip-hop. That incredible era from 1988-1993 (Cube, 2Pac, Onyx, Boss, Snoop, Cypress, EPMD, KRS-One, Ice-T, Tribe, Too Short and the mighty PE) gave us a high-water mark that has not been touched by rap since, and probably never will. But we are now almost 20 years removed from that day and age.
Every time a new album arrives from one of those hip-hop heavyweights I just mentioned I think the same thing. There's usually a few good bangers on each cd but otherwise, it's just not the same.

I feel the same way about I Am The West. It's OK, but it lacks the urgency of Cube's best. And it's not his fault - how can we expect him or anyone else to ever top that incredible run he had in the early 90s with Straight Outta Compton, Amerikkka's Most Wanted, Death Certificate and the Predator ? Any one of those discs is enough to catapault a rapper into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame. Thrown in Guerrillas in the Mist, the Kill At Will EP and the inconsistent Lethal Injection and you have one arguably the greatest discographies in rap.

But it's not 1992 anymore. Cube is a multi-millionaire several times over and there's a Black President in the White House. The anger that fueled those albums just can't be conjured up so easily anymore.

To his credit he's not phoning his performance in. ('**cough, coughJIGGAcough*) ) He's still a lion on the mic, but there's nothing very compelling here other than partying and celebrating living in California.

Buy it and enjoy it on it's own terms, but don't pretend that it's a regurgitation of 1992, because it's not. The only way to really relive those days is to pop The Chronic in your cd player and let it roll.


Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans
Pitchforks and Torches: The Worst of the Worst, from Beck, Bill, and Bush to Palin and Other Posturing Republicans
by Keith Olbermann
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.46
207 used & new from $0.01

13 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So pleased to hear from all the Keith Haters, January 25, 2011
...let's face it, all/most of the negative reviews here are from the Fixed Noise Sheep. Ignore them. Now if you honestly don't feel you need Keith's Spec. Comments collected in one place (hey, they're pretty easy to find in video or text form) then, no, you may not need this. I didn't but I bought a few of them anyway, one for me and some for friends for Xmas. Keith was, quite simply the smartest man on television for the past eight years. He held the torch for Truth when no one else did. He took on the Bu$h Administration when no one else dared to. He will be missed but hopefully not for long. He will undoubtedly write more books if nothing else, until he gets another show.
Can't wait.


Go Cut Creator Go
Go Cut Creator Go
Price: $0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars LL Cool J IS HOT AS...!, December 26, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Go Cut Creator Go (MP3 Music)
One of the best and earliest Rock/Rap Hybrids. LL hijacks "Rock Around The Clock" and "Johnny B. Goode" and mixes them in a cauldron of jagged guitars, cannon blasts and wicked DJ scratches. Run DMC have only got a couple of songs better than this... that's how hot this track is!


The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy
The War for Late Night: When Leno Went Early and Television Went Crazy
by Bill Carter
Edition: Hardcover
120 used & new from $0.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great!, December 26, 2010
Carter's last book "Desparate Networks" was a huge disappointment as all it was a rote-blah-blah-blah look at the changing face of TV from 2004-up. But with "The War For Late Night" he's back in his zone, baby!

Carter of course wrote THE definitive book on the first Late Night War in the 90s. He couldn't have imagined that he'd get an even juicier sequel. ("The War For Late Night" could well be the media equivalent of "The Godfather Part II")

Late Night is Carter's element, it's his beat; he's got the facts, the history, the unimpeachable sources and he does his research. If you were at all emotionally invested in the drama of January - February 2010, trust me, you want this book!


The Hits Collection, Vol. 1
The Hits Collection, Vol. 1
Price: $11.88
46 used & new from $3.89

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yawn. This one's for the Mall Rats., November 28, 2010
This is the radio-friendly Sean Carter here. And I'm not knocking it -- all his TRUE fans already own every cd in it's entirety anyway.


Pink Friday
Pink Friday
Price: $12.58
72 used & new from $1.48

140 of 152 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very, Very Pop, November 25, 2010
This review is from: Pink Friday (Audio CD)
Really Quick Review : If you like the singles "Right Thru Me" "Check it Out" and "Your Love" than you will LOVE Pink Friday.

OK, the rest of it:
Just about every song here is made for Top 40 radio and there a number of well-known stars here whose purpose is to maximize hit potential. "Fly" has Rihanna, "Moment 4 Life" has Drake "Last Chance" has ...Natasha Bedingfield??

The trouble with this Black-Eyed-Appease-radio-friendly-appeal-to-every-demographic approach is that Nicki has superlative MC skills and a Missy-Gaga-like eccentricity and pairing her up with these poppy, sanitized tracks is akin to watching a former NFL linebacker compete on that Dancing Stars show. It's a round peg into a square hole.
Is Nicki an able MC? Of course she is -- you've heard her on "Lil Freak", the "Hello Good Morning" remix and, above all her verse on "Monster" which, as far I'm concerned, is reminiscent of Busta Rhymes on Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" where he slaughtered everyone else on that track and set the foundation for his own solo stardom.

She's obviously influenced by off-kilter MC's like ODB and Missy, but someone (management, the record company?) is keeping her muzzled here with both the accents the "freaky" persona. And no doubt, you don't want her to get gimmicky, but that *is* a wide part of her appeal.

There's no "street" on this CD, no New York grit and grime, no real torque just a glossy sheen. And while she may not appreciate comparisons to Lil Kim or Foxy Brown, their first cds were triumphantly New York with rollicking, bouncy riddims and fat soulful beats.

I give this three stars, because even though it's not *my* taste, it is a professionally crafted cd. Hopefully her next cd is a little more freewheeling and lets more of her personality shine through.
Comment Comments (14) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 29, 2012 3:40 AM PST


Born Gangstaz
Born Gangstaz
Price: $8.99
43 used & new from $2.19

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Those were the days, October 16, 2010
This review is from: Born Gangstaz (Audio CD)
Boss, Onyx, EPMD, Cypress Hill, 3rd Bass, Tribe, BDP, Ice-T, Too Short...Kids, this is REAL RAP. 1990-1994 were probably the best for hip-hop, and Boss' Born Gangstaz was one of that era's true classics.


The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks
The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies, and a Company Called DreamWorks
by Nicole Laporte
Edition: Hardcover
136 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars I liked Daniel Kimmel's book better..., August 29, 2010
...but don't get me wrong, this is still a good read. (I would really give it 3 1/2 stars) One of the things that's somewhat special about following the DreamWorks story is that this is not a studio founded in the 20s and 30s. If you are in your 30s or even late 20s you may have seen many of the events chronicled here unfold in real time. We are not hearing anecdotes from a generation ago, we're hearing from sources who probably had people like LaPorte and Vanity Fair writers on speed dial. I for one, am certainly old enough to remember the hype that surrounded these guys in 1994, even that TIME cover with them looking like the Beatles.

But through this book we see that, well, Geffen and Spielberg weren't 100% invested in this project, which was going to be a mandatory for a successful run. There's a staggering amount of lack of attention to detail or quality control and oversight in dealing with the myriad departments they started. For example, [...] was indeed a good idea, as evidenced by [...]. Their idea for a "lifestyle" video game was also ahead of it's time as The Sims or Farmville will show. But without the courage of their convictions, there was no putting money where the mouths were.

It's telling that Jeff Katzenberg's project, the animation studio is the one part of DW that has had lasting, sustained success. He was the one with the chip on his shoulder, the one with something to prove. All other projects were discontinued and/or sold off. (The failure of the music division is not their fault though, they had the rotten luck to start a record company just as the Napster-Era was beginning. )

Animation aside, DW was another big, fancy Hollywood production company that had great letterhead, and all the associated accouterments' but was lacking where it counted most.

Also worth reading (books that will put the DreamWorks story in context: Hit and Run by Kim Masters, DisneyWar by James Stewar, The Fourth Network by Dan Kimmel, and Fools Rush In (the story of AOL Time Warner) by Nina Munk.


KISS Gene Simmons
KISS Gene Simmons
Price: $7.01
62 used & new from $0.56

4.0 out of 5 stars Strange...but in a good way!, August 18, 2010
This review is from: KISS Gene Simmons (Audio CD)
I bought this album when I was 8, because it was Kiss, and I bought everything that was Kiss. However, over the years I kept finding mysself drawn back to various tunes because they kept running through my head.
Now, at 40, I can honestly say that this is one of those "ahead of its time" albums.

"Radioactive" has that really weird beginning of mysterious voices and what sounds like a UFO landing. This is one of the songs that sounds closest to Kiss. The rest of the album veers between light rock/funk and disturbingly sweet ballads that work better than the ones on Paul Stanley's or Peter Criss' solos.

"Living In Sin" -- if it had been made by any other artist -- in particular, could have been a hit in the 70s, with it's Village-People-like-chorus, and a breakdown featuring Cher on the phone. It's a lot of fun. "True Confessions" is in the same vein.

Songs like "Tunnel of Love" "See You in Your Dreams" "See You Tonite" -- any of these, again, could have been hits if done by one of the singer-songwriters of the era.

Part confessional, part classic AM-radio cheese, part rock and roll...It's all Gene. The second-best Kiss solo album -- Ace's is the best -- it deserves a second listen.


The Boys, Vol. 5: Herogasm
The Boys, Vol. 5: Herogasm
by Garth Ennis
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.41
87 used & new from $5.62

2.0 out of 5 stars Garth, It's Getting Time You Wrapped This Thing Up, July 31, 2010
The first couple of volumes of The Boys were critically hailed and rightfully so. Nasty, sardonic, ocassionally brilliant stuff.

But now three years and five TPs in, Ennis' book has become the one thing a critic could say that would anger him:

BORING.

By now the story arcs for the Boys are as predictable as anything you'd see in your average sitcom. You know there's going to be a case where the Boys encounter some group of "Supes" ostensibly modeled after some archetype from DC or Marvel, there's going to be sex and gross out stuff, some detective work, and finally, a huge battle that ends with everyone except the Boys dead.

Yawn. It's becoming as rote as the comics Garth is taking aim at!

Garth, I know this is a finite series with the ending already planned, so let's get there sooner rather than later.


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