Next Review: Grouplove Never Trust a Happy Song

This Sunday’s review will be of the intercontinental band Grouplove’s album Never Trust a Happy Song. 

Grouplove has an interesting story – they met while at an art collective in Crete. The four members happened to be there at the same time and wrote some songs together. After heading their separate ways to cities across the globe, they realized how much fun they had and got back together to write and record a few more songs.  They’ve been touring since then.

Grouplove
“Colours”
Grouplove EP

Childish Gambino Camp Review

Childish Gambino’s Camp album is overshadowed by Donald Glover’s comedic acting. People will judge it based on his most known performance, a cast member in the sitcom Community. However, the album is something entirely else; while some things are said in jest, the album is an introspective look into Glover’s personal life, race politics and other existential ponderings of people in their early 20s.

Camp‘s sound is minimalist: the beats are bare bones so people can focus on Glover’s lyrics, which are sometimes rapped, sometimes sung, but all done very proficiently. This approach is a good thing – the lyrics are the best part of the album. Glover discusses what it is to be a black person that grew up “white” and how this has ostracized him from “black” community. This is probably the most interesting thing any rapper has covered in years. It’s a cultural shift that merges both cultures, marking an interesting turning point in race relations in the US. Glover, in a way, bridges this gap between worlds.

Other times he talks about his place in this world; struggles growing up as an outcast – being both a nerd and being an atypical black person; what fame has brought; and his hedonistic ways with women. It is reminiscent of Tyler the Creator – there is a lot of honesty and personal reflection.  Also like Tyler, it is how Glover discusses these things, with some disregard for women, that will polarize listeners.

Some people will be offended and others may consider it a looking-glass into how some men of this generation think. It’s both brilliant and offensive.

Asynchronous Party Goer Opinions

Dave: “I really disliked this album.”

Kristy: “I enjoyed this album. His sound gets too R&B singy for me at some points (All the Shine) which is my biggest complaint, but I have a really low tolerance for that. I wanted to listen to it all the way
through because of the variety among his tracks. I liked the ground bass on Backpackers which reminded me of Jay Z (ZZ Top!) 99 problems. Lyrically, he’s just likable and he’s funny. The delivery of the lyrics from aggressive/angry to reflective were cracking me up at the end of [the song] ‘Heartbeat.'”

Bridget: “I like it, it was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be a little more PG but its pretty R rated. I also think he ripped off Kanye a little as it reminds me of “Monster” a lot. I kept thinking he’s a cross between Kanye and Nicki Minaj. But the more I listen the more I really like it.”

Verdict: You’ll either love it or hate it. My guess is that it comes down to how serious you take Glover and the point of your life you are in. Some people will feel his lyrics and attitude are very juvenile. Others will think it’s important to understand how people of this generation think and act. The album doesn’t have any “club bangers” – so it’s not likely that you’ll hear it many places due to its sound and sometimes explicit content.

Videos from the album:
Childish Gambino
“Bonfire”
Camp

Ohio Artist: The Ohio Players

Also from Dayton, Ohio – funk legends The Ohio Players. Other than being fly beyond belief, they inspired the Red Hot Chili Peppers to cover one of their songs for the Beavis and Butt-head feature movie and are frequently sampled by DJs (especially by west coast 90s gangsta rap producers) and mashup artists today.

The Ohio Players
“Love Rollercoaster”
Live on The Midnight Special

“Fire”
Live on The Midnight Special

Bonus:
Red Hot Chili Peppers
“Love Rollercoaster”
Beavis and Butthead Do America Soundtrack

Ohio Artist: The Breeders

From my hometown of Dayton, come the Breeders. They are probably most known for their song “Cannonball.” Two of the members, Kim and Kelley Deal, also toured as members of the Pixies at later points in their careers.

The Breeders
“Cannonball”
Last Splash

And probably my favorite Breeders song –
“No Aloha”
Last Splash

Grouplove Colours

I heard Grouplove’s “Colours” listening on the satellite radio in the rental car I have for the Thanksgiving break. I’m turning this happenstance event into a blog post because I haven’t had the opportunity to find anything new. Hey – I’m on vacation.

It’s a fun song that I can’t stop listening to. Check out of of their other videos as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grouplove
“Colours”
Grouplove EP

The video reminds me of a short story I read in fifth grade, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. It’s about a civil war soldier who is going to be hung, but the rope breaks, he escapes and has a crazy adventure. At the end of the story, you find out all of this happened in his head in his last moments before the rope snapped and broke his neck.

More Grouplove:
“Tongued Tied”
Never Trust a Happy Song

“Itchin on a Photograph”
Grouplove EP

Ohio Artist: Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor, genius behind Nine Inch Nails, started his musical career working at a recording studio in Cleveland.

Nine Inch Nails
“Me, I’m Not”
Performance 2007 Tour

I was lucky enough to see Nine Inch Nails in Columbus, Ohio in 2006. If Reznor ever decides to tour as NIN again, go see them live. It was probably one of the best sounding shows I’ve been to. The lighting didn’t hurt my impression either.