My attraction to this disc of mostly hip-hop and indie rock tracks is the same as what attracts me to the HBO series Entourage – a fascinating, fun look at a lifestyle that I would not want for my own but enjoy immersing myself in for an hour at a time. Although the music absolutely inspires dancing or at the very least foot tapping and head nodding, I can only take the glorification of spousal abuse, drug use, misogyny, vulgarity, oh – and guns, in short doses. Prude I am not, but still.
Putting those reservations aside, this is a very good compilation album. I had been familiar with a few artists on the CD. Gnarls Barkley (their St. Elsewhere CD has been in frequent rotation in my player); Kanye West – the name is always in the news; and of course, Saigon. “Sai” (born Brian Daniel Carenard) is the embedded rapper of Entourage’s Season Three. The disc also has several Lollapalooza alumni: TV on the Radio; Cold War Kids; Gnarls Barkley; Common; and West. Some tracks of note are:
You Know What it Is – T.I.
For reggae fans, this will satisfy. For those who eschew violence, well…it begins “Hey boy, don’t spit in my drink, boy…” accompanied by the clear sound of a gun being cocked. Just sayin’…
Salvador – Jamie T.
Hard to define this song, even harder to pin down the artist. An indie pop rocker, Jamie T.’s vocals on “Salvador” are strangely reminiscent of AC/DC’s Bon Scott’s crooning of “Big Balls.” A very fun sound, nonetheless.
Southside – Common; Kanye West
Not my favorite despite the inclusion of the almighty West. However it can boast “Best use of Back to the Future’s ‘McFly’ reference.”
Weekend Jumpoff – Kevin Michael, Saigon
A nice sexy R&B/Reggae track about gettin’ some on the side.
Alsatian – White Rose Movement
The opening chords are intriguing, giving way to an infectious beat, but the filtered vocals are almost a disappointment.
Staring at the Sun – TV on the Radio
Such texture, beginning with Tunde Adebimpe’s and Kyp Malone’s a cappella voices harmonizing over the sounds of Spanish radio. Then the doo-wop effect is interrupted by an insistent throbbing synth pulse which gives way to vocals that invoke, oddly enough, a new-wave, Peter Gabriel feel. The lyrics then bring it all together:
Cross the street from your storefront cemetery
hear me hailing from inside and realize
I am the conscience clear
in pain or ecstasy
and we were all weaned my dear
upon the same fatigue
Throw Some D’s (Travis Barker Remix) – Rich Boy
From Alabama rapper, Rich Boy, “Throw some D’s” is a fun, bouncy anthem of excess. The beat is more than infectious, like some other tracks on this album; it’s mesmerizing.
One track is sorely missed, Entourage’s theme song, “Superhero” by Jane’s Addiction really should have been included. But over all, if great rhythms, rich interplay of rap, ska, R&B, and indie sensibilities (and somewhat dodgy lyrics) appeal to you, check out the Entourage soundtrack.