Ok, it's obvious I'm biased and do not like 50 Cent but to be fair I spent alot of time listening to "Curtis" to try and be objective. Kanye's "Graduation" is much easier to listen to, as it would be for anyone of us.
Anyway, first "Curtis":
01. Intro-Actually brought me to expect a "Reasonable Doubt" theme from the album just because of the mafia tones...
02. My Gun Go Off- Typical G-Unit with hard guitar and tight strings. Very forgettable.
03. Man Down- Again with the strong G-Unit heavy block-bass with chimes. A little synthesizer and piano. Mentions pergatory but goes nowhere with the story.
04. I'll Still Kill featuring Akon- Extremely hot production. The choppy beat is one of Akon's best. 50 Cent actually flows decently on this. Really powerful stuff. Decent.
05. I Get Money- We've all heard this. Hot production, good choice to follow Akon's best work.
06. Come & Go Feat. Dr. Dre- No real vocals from Dre except "Kick Em Out." This was what 50 referred to as "In Da Club pt. 2"...I can see why. A different feel. Choppy strong, high pitch cord with classic Dre bass-backed piano. Trumpets placed well. Very powerful from 50. Again, a surprise.
07. Ayo Technology Feat. Justin Timberlake- We've all heard this one too. As much as I dislike Timbaland...it's catchy as hell. Timberlake is growing on me just for his work on Kweli's album. Enjoyable flow.
08. Follow My Lead Feat. Robin Thicke- Another song that's a single with music video. Funny to think Will Smith was collaborating with the same artist. Simple production with good flow. Would be classy if not for his male-ego rhymes.
09. Movin On Up- Another G-Unit block-based bass track with metal clang. Forgettable. Really terrible themes regarding people's daughters.
10. Straight to the Bank Feat. Tony Yayo- Old in retrospect. I guess people like it. I never felt the song. We've heard it though.
11. Amusement Park- Failure of a song. Really lazy and thus the reaction this song has recieved.
12. Fully Loaded Clip- Dre saves this track a little with the production. The creativity of this song is along the lines of "Ghetto Quaran" so....it's tolerable.
13. Peep Show Feat. Eminem- 2 chords, one swish sound tied to an 808 drum and one shallow electric guitar set. 50 seems threatened on every track he's on with Eminem. Faster pace than usual...It feels like an Eminem written hook though. Eminem ABSOLUTELY MAILS-IN THE LYRICS. Pointless, idiotic stuff.
14. Fire Feat. Nicole Scherzinger and Young Buck- Feels like a beat that would better suit and young-up-n-coming two-step kid. One line he says is " You can hate it but face it, Tupac and Biggie aint around." Ouch. Nicole is more of an ear-sore than 50 on this song. Young Bucks placement is good.
15. All of Me Feat. Mary J. Blige- Another G-unit block-bass beat. YOU'D THINK 50 would say something creative with Mary J. on the track. Very recycled flow and rhyme.
16. Curtis 187- Feels like a combination of an Eminem-backed beat and a late 80's beat. That's the only real thing to mention. Forgettable except for the minor treat to old school feel.
17. Touch The Sky Feat. Tony Yayo- Initially feels like it could be something special. Nice shout out to Biggie and Pac....but then it's a dance song. Ugh. Yayo makes me have a headache. Talking about myspace pages. WOW.
Album Rating: *1/2 A star for good production on half the album, and a half for an attempt on good flow for a quarter of the album...
Now for the fun:
Kanye West- "Graduation":
01. Gord Morning- Piano plus soothing beat and harmonic strings. Great way to enter the cd. A little too strong on the vocals for such a track. But all in all a great start.
02. Champion- I love the sample from Steeley Dan. A Shoutout to "WILL SMITH AND HIS SON".. :wickedwisdom: Very fun track.
03. Stronger- The DRUMS ARE REDONE BY TIMBALAND...AND SUCK. ALL HE DID WAS COMPLETELY BLOW THE BASS OVERBOARD. IT'S GOING TO KILL MY SPEAKERS. meh
04. I Wonder- MY FAVORITE TRACK This sample is amazing. He didn't mess with it either so it's really great. The violins are a proof that Kanye learned from his co-producer (and composer) of his last album. So soulful....
05. Good Life Feat. T-Pain- I don't like T-Pain. I don't like T-Pain. I don't like T-Pain. I...LOVE...this song. It's true. Perfect use of T-Pain. Shoutout to Philly in this. Just a thankful song mentioning how good life is. A Michael Jackson distorted sample.
06. Can't Tell Me Nothing- It's an anthem that's awesome. I just wish he woulda opted out of the whole Jeezy ad-lib.
07. Barry Bonds Feat. Lil' Wayne- Weakest song on the album. It feels like a really bad throwaway mixtape track. Interesting production...again really thrown together. Lil Wayne is lazy.
08. Drunk and Hot Girls Feat. Mos Def- This song's beat coulda worked for a more gangsta rap artist. But it's creative and dark. I like Kanye on this. Unfortunately, Mos Def doesn't rap...only sings. Creepy track that is growing on me. Theme is weird but I like it.
09. Flashing Lights Feat. Dwele- Wow, what a way to produce a song. Again amazing combination of Hip Hop and composing. Synthesizers are pretty well placed. I like the theme of star-struck, overwhelmed rich women.
10. Everything I Am Feat. DJ Premier- Tight, but simple scratches on point...with distinct piano instrumental and light bass. Very simple yet leaves the door open for Kanye to deliver quality lyrics. And he does. Really introspective.
11. The Glory- Very soulful with a sample that isn't but fooled me as a Jackson 5 sample...again, it isn't. I believe this was supposed to be on Common's Cd but was left off. Fun. Lyrically not too special.
12. Homecoming Feat. Chris Martin- It FEELS soo much like Elton John is on the piano. I SWEAR. Maybe it's me whacked out late in my dorm but my dad's extensive Elton John collection hits me over the head on this song. Martin is subdued. Better, much better than Jay's collab with Martin. Fun track that is just something to play in your house for the next 30 years. Has such a 1970's piano, english-pop feel. I love it. "Do you think about me now and then? Cause I'm coming home again. Baby, do you remember when fireworks at Lake Michigan?" :wiggle: Kanye pays hommage to his home. My second favorite track easily.
13. Big Brother- Kanye makes an emotional song with the sound of another "Encore" feel....and is a song who's theme is dedicated to Jay-Z. Very honest, soul-exposing song. Production-wise, I enjoy Encore and this equally as Kanye's most enjoyable production. Not too much...Not too little.
Album Rating: **** 4 Stars for great production, flow, and themes. Not a five because of the terrible change to a fun "Stronger" and the horrendous "Barry Bonds." Everything else was near-perfect.
I say this year so far, the top albums are:
1. Ear Drum-Talib Kweli
2. Finding Forever- Common
3. Graduation- Kanye West
I hoped you enjoyed the review...