What a dreary time of year. Day after day of cold temperatures, lack of sunshine and still several decades until retirement, right? No, that's not what I was referring to- I love winter and hanging out in Arizona sounds boring! I was referring to the lack of new music. Apparently the record companies are not compelled to release new albums on the eve of the Grammy Awards in case everyone forgets about them before it's time to nominate the 2013 group (I plan to have a word with the record companies, and Exhibit A will be Adele's "21", which was released last February).
It's just that blah time of year, and the ho-hum music doesn't help. Sure, Train and Maroon 5 are pleasant enough, and who isn't on the edge of their seat for the 47th song from Katy Perry's album? But in case you're experiencing a mid-season crisis, the cure is simple. Don't rush out and get a divorce or a red Camaro. Just look to some different music to awaken your brain. My suggestion is Common: "The Dreamer, The Believer".
Common is more than a word that means ordinary; it's also a person- a rapper, to be exact (and one from Chicago, as a bonus). If you're afraid of rap, thinking that you might become inexplicably drawn to gang life, fear not. I thought Common was pretty gangster, and I was feeling very badass to buy "The Dreamer, The Believer" ...until I found out that his mom is a PhD and he himself went to college for a couple years. So much for that. In fact, Maya Angelou reads a poem on the very first track.
But don't be fooled into thinking that Common falls into the Rap Lite genre; be assured that the album is peppered with the f-word and the n-word and many other letters of the alphabet. In fact, Ms. (Dr.) Angelou reportedly regretted lending her voice to "The Dreamer, The Believer" because of the use of the n-word within (I guess she didn't review a copy of the lyrics in advance). That being said, many of the lyrics are clever and intelligent, and the music itself is appealing. Of course, I'm also partial to any album that contains a little John Legend.
I sometimes think a rapper such as Common might want to pay a middle aged, white suburban mother of four NOT to recommend their albums (and I would be totally open to that)- I probably dilute their demographic and impair their credibility. In the meantime, if you're up for something a little different and you can relax the impulse to impose a punishment every time you hear a bit of profanity, you might just like Common's "The Dreamer, The Believer."
To get you started, here is the video for "Blue Sky," one of the tracks on "The Dreamer, The Believer." Enjoy!
Filed under: Album Reviews