Friday, September 26, 2003
I was hoping I'd be able to post something before I go away for a week, but it was not meant to be. I've got a post lined up in my head though.

PS. A new Missy album already? I liked Under Construction heaps but this feels too soon, and I can't help but expect disappointment, which the grainy preview of "Pass The Dutch" can't dispell. That said This Is Not A Test is a promisingly bombastic title. If nothing else we'll get a whole new persona, as we've come to expect by now.

Friday, September 19, 2003
Where have I been? Y'all just missed out on reading a long thingy on the R&B ballad which I deleted 'cos it was crap - moral of the story was that I love love love Mis-Teeq's "Strawberrez" and "Home Tonight" despite (or because of?) the fact that they're insipid generic ballads etc. etc. Mushy pre- and post-coital bliss ahoy! (and incidentally Eye Candy is still in my top ten for 03, maybe top five)

Otherwise another piece on Luomo that you'll probably get to see eventually, essays for uni, lots of paid work (not writing though! Selling cinema tickets of course) and ILX-procrastinating have contributed to a big fat zero Skykicking posts.

Motivation for this post: I'd forgotten how much I absolutely adore Clipse's "Ego" - that chorus, the rhymes ("So sad but we won't think twice/we're rich, we get the best judicial advice"), the manna-from-heaven groove... Could it be, straight up and down, The Neptunes best groove ever? I'm sure I'm in the minority here, as at first glance it's such a generic-seeming tune, but really hasn't The Neptunes' entire career-path been about stripping away the surface level stuff that characterised their early work and honing in on the generic magic of their synthetic funk?

More and more I think that Lord Willin' may be the Neptunes' best album of grooves (although Kaleidoscope possibly trumps it). Certainly better than the hella patchy Clones, on which the best track apart from ODB's is Clipse's anyway. I tend to find though that I shy away from Neptunes-produced tracks which too obviously foreground the duo's role as auteur producers, and while I'm sure Clones is supposed to demonstrate the duo's range all I can spot are the similarities from track to track.

By contrast, having the same MCs on every track makes the grooves on Lord Willin' sound much more wide-ranging and imaginative, and much more unself-conscious about being so as well, which results in me enjoying it a fair bit more than In Search Of.... Don't know why on that last point, cos In Search Of is a great record - maybe Lord Willin just sounds more physically impacting, more inspired and imaginative at the rhythm engine level rather than just dressed up with a few real instruments.

Then again, the popular conception amongst even many people I trust that N.E.R.D. represents The Neptunes' best work is one of those ideas that I accept maybe I'm wrong in disbelieving so vehemently - file it next to the accepted truths that Basement Jaxx's "All I Know" is a filler track, that Daft Punk's "Too Long" is too long, that The Present Lover is disappointing...


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