Plug 1 & Plug 2 Present First Serve

Plug 1 & Plug 2, Dave and Posdnuos of De La Soul, present First Serve. For unknown reasons, Maseo, the third member of De La Soul, is absent. What results is an a poppier version of previous De La Soul releases.
Plug 1 & Plug 2 present First Serve

Don’t judge First Serve by its Black-eyed Peas looking cover. It’s better than it looks. Generally, it is positive hip-hop and the lyrics are witty enough to cause one to crack a smile from time to time. The distinct voices of Dave and Posdnuos provide a great balance for the sound of the album as they verbally trade verses.

The absence of Maseo on this release is sure to have people talking about De La Soul breaking up, but there isn’t any evidence on the internet that this is the case. “The Book of Life” has lyrics that suggest there may have been tension in the group. “This is how we is when it comes to the biz. Off point, off centered. When you point it out he gets ill-tempered. The promoter of the show pissed because the the spot had a curfew… We only did four songs, but we were supposed to do more songs, now Ken do is dealing with a riot at the venue…Friends, how many have them? How long before they split like atoms?…I don’t disappear for hoes, unlike you who disappears for days for hoes.” And so forth and so on. Several other songs seem to hint at underlying tensions. But who am I to speculate?

One thing I forget about is that lots of hip-hop albums include skits, which I could do without. In a day of picking which mp3s you want on your iPod, these tracks are unlikely to be loaded. Artist – don’t waste your time writing these things. You’re never as funny or clever as you think.

Generally speaking, I think hip-hop needs something new and exciting to bring people back into the genre. First Serve isn’t it. While there are a couple enjoyable songs on the album, it doesn’t do anything you haven’t heard before. You’re going to forget about this release just like you forgot about DMX until you heard he was releasing a new album. And let’s be honest, you’re not even interested in hearing it.

Party-goer opinions
Jason: “After the first listen I’m not really feeling this album. The track “We Made It” is good, but the rest is meh. Might have to give it another listen.”

Verdict: Worth a spin, but it’s unlikely that First Serve will go into regular rotation.

Prediction: Not a classic. You’ll forget about this album in a few months.

Video from First Serve
De La Soul’s Plug 1 & Plug 2
“Must B The Music”
First Serve

M. Ward A Wasteland Companion Review

M. Ward, indie folk singer, brings us an enjoyable, upbeat album in A Wasteland Companion.

M. Ward A Wasteland Companion

M. Ward is probably best known as the “him” in She and Him. M. Ward is probably the more talented of the duo, but is often overlooked because Zoey Deschanel is way cuter. But don’t think that just because M. Ward is part of a duo that capitalizes on putting a manufactured indie star in the spotlight that he can’t create an enjoyable album by his lonesome. I actually think Ward writes better songs on his own.

As it turns out, A Wasteland Companion may be Ward’s best work yet. Calming and melodic, it is easy to get through in one sitting – something I had trouble doing with his previous albums. The songs, while folksy, each have their own distinct sound. They tend to mix twangy guitars, female backup vocals (sometimes Zoey Dechanel), and piano to give a nice, complete sound. All the songs sound like they’ve had a good amount thought put into the mixing. As for M. Ward’s vocals, sometimes I feel like he sounds like a coherent, actually-trying-to-sing, non-smoking version of Tom Waits. That’s a good thing.

Maybe it’s the music I tend to listen to, but M. Ward’s positive outlook on things is kind of refreshing. It’s great to hear someone sing about how great things are or can be. They are relaxing, uplifting and will put you in a good mood.

There isn’t too much else to say about A Wasteland Companion. It’s something both you and your mom can enjoy together, making it a good Mother’s Day present. And that’s better than giving her the Enya CD she asked for and will force you to listen to at some point in your life.

Verdict: If you like folk music, country music, or a bit of rock, you should check out this album. I only have good things to say about this album and every track on it.

Video from A Wasteland Companion
M. Ward
“The First Time I Ran Away”
A Wasteland Companion