Saturday, June 7, 2014

Senior Alert

Here we are in June, and I haven’t said word one yet about new (to me) music this year. Leave it to me to blather about outmoded technology link for weeks on end.

I started the year with my shopping cart brimming with mp3s, so there was a chance I’d  drown in music if I wasn’t careful. It’s happened before. I’d get ten records, focus on maybe three and the other seven would sit around lonely. I’d get to them, but not for weeks or even months. Did I need all ten at the time? Obviously not. The problem is it’s hard to know which three I’ll end up loving right away.
Or I could just do my “research”, an activity too nerdy to go into here (but not, apparently, here).
Or go wandering around the web.
For reasons I'd rather not say (the “World History Project” post I haven't written yet) I was considering 16th century classical music. Or Iggy and the Stooges, I couldn’t decide.
But as these thoughts were going through my mind, Mrs. Jaybee got the jump on me with Vampire Weekend, , as did my son Michael, with Oasis.
So if I didn’t get my ass in gear, this year’s theme would turn out to be Rehearsals for Retirement.
Spoiler: It will actually turn out worse than this, of course, as my wanderings will be prove to be less explicable - but eerily similar - to that of an elderly gentleman suffering from dementia riding the subway and being found in the oddest parts of town.
So where did they find me first?
Lauryn Hill.jpg

Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of… (1998)

This record has shown up on so many “Best of” lists I’d be negligent if I didn’t get to it at some point. And as is usual when I use that rationale, I have to prepare myself to be underwhelmed. I tend to hear what everybody is raving about. It's just not what I'd rave about.

So let’s start with what I don’t like about it and get that out of the way:

It’s a Grammy-aiming-crossover record, which is something I typically despise. But because it’s not in a genre I genuinely love, it doesn’t feel watered down. (It probably is. but I wouldn’t notice.)

And Ms. Hill’s self-absorption doesn’t help. When she was with the Fugees at least she was singing about people who are oppressed. Here, it seems she’s the only one being oppressed. 

And likening oneself to Christ (“Forgive Them Father”) doesn’t do anything for me, either. Nor does her complete  absence of a sense of humor.

On the plus side, the songs are pretty tuneful. She sings very well and brings a lot of passion, as she should since it’s all about her anyway. And for something that runs nearly eighty minutes, I’m with her most of the way.
So when I get past all the annoyances, I have to admit it somebody's Album of the Year. Just not mine.

But sometimes it's perfectly lovely, and putting it on again isn’t a chore at all. B+

"Tell Him"

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