The sceál of 2011 so far has been one of ‘so much great music, so little time’. Managing to listen to so much music can be a daunting task not to mention writing about it. Here’s a quick round-up of albums I have been listening to a lot.
Pharoahe Monch – W.A.R (We Are Renegades)
Pharoahe Monch‘s latest offering is quite simply one of the finest hip-hop records of the past few years, let alone 2011. W.A.R (We Are Renegades) has everything; great rhymes, wordplay and head-nodding beats while lyrically it’s hard-hitting, intelligent and insightful, providing a scathing attack on the industry and society. This is hip-hop with something to say, a welcome relief from the hordes of bling obsessed industry spun celebrity pretenders.
Like his wordplay this one flows effortlessly slinking between the heavy gospel feel of ‘Let My People Go’, old school vibes of ‘Hitman’ and ‘Clap’ and the fiery anger of ‘W.A.R’ and ‘Calculated Amalgamation’. If one line could sum up an album it would be from the later, “No justice, no peace, no settle / We are renegades, fuck your gold medal.”
This is the work of a master, no doubt about, this is a going to be classic.
Pharoahe Monch – Clap (One Day) Ft. Showtyme And DJ Boogie Blind via brooklynvegan
Pharoahe Monch – Evolve via viciosdelaslilas
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
I must admit having consistently ignored and disregarded her output over the years, I am not best placed to write about PJ Harvey. But here I am, prepared to admit how wrong I was and heap praise on her latest album, Let England Shake.
It’s an enthralling collection of brooding and dramatic gothic scores exploring Englishness, perils of colonialism and the ravages of war. While there’s obviously a message here it is not preachy, preferring to explore rather than lecture on these themes of war, death and loss. All of which resonate today.
It’s an album which is both tragic and beautiful, rife with dark and horrific imagery of blood spilt battlefields. It is also one which needs to be listened to in full to be appreciated (that said ‘Let England Shake’, ‘The Last Living Rose’ and ‘The Words That Maketh Murder’ where the ones which sucked me in).
Let England Shake is a creative, emotional and fearless record which is an obvious contender for album of the year.
PJ Harvey – The Words That Maketh Murder via VagrantRecords