Anthony Fantano hosts The Needle Drop, a web/radio music review show. He examines rock, pop, electronic, metal and hip hop through video and audio reviews.
He rates projects on a scale of 1-10 with the accompanying adjectives “light”, “decent” and “strong”. If an album doesn’t meet his standards, he gives it a rating of “NOT GOOD”.
1. The House Is Burning
The best albums often draw us in from their opening bars, and Isaiah Rashad’s The House Is Burning is no exception. It’s an impressive start to his third record and one that sets him up for future success.
The album appears to be a return to form, with an easygoing vibe that reflects the rapper’s calmer mindset after five years away and substance battles. His life experiences are evident throughout, creating an impressively vulnerable record that helps listeners build an intimate connection with him.
However, The House Is Burning doesn’t boast as much variety as some of his previous work. While there are some standout tracks like “Claymore” featuring Smino, there aren’t many songs that really stand out from the rest of the album.
Overall, the album is a dreamy reimagining of his mid-2010s debut with sun-touched beats and warmly layered vocals. It works mainly as a mood piece, but it’s an impressive entry into this sonic landscape.
TDE should take note of Rashad’s ability to establish himself as a major label artist in this digital era. His lyrical ability has always been impressive, and it shows no signs of diminishing.
His ability to connect with others is an immense asset, making him a key member of TDE’s upcoming class. Breaking into the TDE crew can be daunting, but Rashad’s strong storytelling strategies and connection to his life will keep him in the spotlight for sure.
2. It’s A Beautiful Day
At the height of San Francisco’s psychedelic scene in the late 1960s, It’s A Beautiful Day stood out. Led by David LaFlamme on violin and Linda LaFlamme (now Neska), their sound was both exotic and refined.
The delicate melodies and intricate arrangements on their debut LP, It’s A Beautiful Day, are built upon a foundation of delicate melodies and arrangements that showcase the band’s mastery. The electric violin, an unusual feature in rock music at that time, adds an extra dimension to their songs – as vocalist Neska’s lilting voice perfectly complements this instrumentation. The song “White Bird” serves as a prime example of this harmony perfectly.
By 1968, it became evident to the group that they had an enthusiastic following within the local music scene. On Labor Day weekend of 1968, they were booked at a club in Sultan, Washington – owned by Matthew Katz who had previously collaborated with Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape.
At this stage, It’s a Beautiful Day didn’t have much money but still managed to book some gigs without Katz’s consent. At one such performance, they performed several unrecorded tracks that would later appear on their debut LP: the haunting harpsichord-driven “Girl With No Eyes” and the melancholic yet comforting “Bulgaria.”
Neska recounts the band being forced to record in their bedroom during the spring of 1968. Four demos were cut during these sessions – three of them (Girl With No Eyes, Bulgaria and Changes) would eventually appear on It’s A Beautiful Day’s debut LP.
In 1969, The band released their debut LP “It’s A Beautiful Day”. It reached #47 on Billboard Top Hundred and quickly gained critical acclaim; furthering their meteoric rise to fame as well as providing them with their iconic hit single “White Bird.” This landmark album cemented their place in music history for good across America – it remains a timeless classic to this day.
3. The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is one of the world’s most beloved novels. It has been critically analyzed and discussed for years, garnering popularity due to its insightful depiction of American life. There are a number of important themes within this timeless masterpiece, such as inherited versus self-made wealth, gender inequality, race relations, and environmental concerns.
In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby, a novel about an affluent man who moves into a large home on Long Island during the Roaring Twenties. In an effort to win back his former love Daisy Buchanan, he throws lavish parties for celebrities.
His friends and acquaintances are horrified by his behavior, yet the closer he becomes involved with them, the more his life begins to transform. As he learns more about their lives, Gatsby begins to realize that Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy stemmed from his own personal tragedy. Furthermore, he becomes increasingly aware of the social decay and moral emptiness prevalent among East Coast’s wealthiest individuals.
Gatsby and Daisy’s attempt to join the “distinguished secret society” of the rich and famous ultimately ends in disaster for them both. Director Baz Luhrmann has done an outstanding job at recreating the spirit of the Jazz Age while not losing any of its themes or characters from the original novel.
Although not an exact replica of the book, this adaptation is quite good and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. With stylish visuals, sets, costumes, and performances you’re guaranteed a great time at the movies – certainly an underrated classic that deserves more recognition than it currently receives.
4. Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Tears for Fears’ iconic song, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, is one of their most popular. This new wave and synth-pop track explores human desires for control and power with lyrics that focus on themes surrounding corruption.
Written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes, Songs from the Big Chair was released as Tears for Fears’ third single in 1985 and included Orzabal playing two chords on an acoustic guitar for producer Chris Hughes at the last minute.
Tears for Fears’ new song is a powerful and emotional masterpiece that stands in stark contrast to their previous work. Instead of the soft synth-pop sound of their debut album The Hurting, this track has an uptempo hard rock vibe; its opening guitar curlicue and middle eight could easily have been lifted straight out of Def Leppard.
As a result, it was an enormous hit for the band – reaching number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and enjoying huge success across Europe, Australia and Ireland. Many artists covered the song over time and it became one of their signature tunes.
Songs from the Big Chair’s top-selling track is “Take A Seat,” which peaked at number four on the UK singles chart and reached top 10 status in Canada, Australia, and Ireland.
Ray Wang’s Everybody Wants to Rule the World provides an insightful 360deg perspective of the Digital duopolies era and offers valuable insight into how incumbents can build, partner or survive in this new environment. He outlines how to leverage market shifts from products to services while taking advantage of data, network effects, exponential tech and access to large capital pools in order to grow and succeed.
5. The Sun’s Tirade
Isaiah Rashad made a splash on the rap scene with his TDE debut, The Sun’s Tirade. It was an album of confessional, neurotic hymns built off boom-bap and benzos that garnered critical acclaim and brought on a flood of popular adoration. Unfortunately, however, the Chattanooga, Tennessee emcee struggled with alcohol and Xanax addictions that threatened to end his career before he could repair relationships with his two children, overcome writer’s block, and find peace within.
Since then, Rashad has made significant strides and become a much more credible rapper than before. On The Sun’s Tirade, Rashad tackles the traps of modern rap with unwavering honesty – from re-discovering God to dealing with writer’s block and even eulogizing his grandmother – providing listeners with an insightful journey into their artist’s mind’s labyrinth.
Isaiah Rashad is one of the most captivating and captivating artists in rap right now. His ability to craft lyrics with skill, his knack for vocal harmony, and ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level make his latest album one of the best releases this year. While it may not compare to classic albums from that era, it’s an important addition to Rashad’s growing catalogue that should be explored further.