I took $12 of my tips the other day and bought Kanye West's new album, Graduation. Unfortunately, I bought it at Wal-Mart, where I also bought a watch and some protein shakes (can't get either cheaper anywhere), and upon listening to it over the next couple of days, it's clear that I got the "clean" version. I checked the packaging again, and nowhere does it say this anywhere, so I'm a bit pissed off, but I figure that's my punishment for buying a CD from Wal-Mart. I got what I deserved, I guess.
But now I'm left in a quandary: should I buy the CD again, perhaps selling the original to Soundgarden? Or should I just stick with what I have? I don't buy myself pleasures very often, and I certainly can't afford to throw any money away.
In addition, it appears to be West's least satisfying CD so far. I do believe that Kanye West is the most talented and revolutionary music artist to emerge in the last decade, and that he has contributed more to the music culture than just about anyone in that time, but nothing is grabbing me like his epic "Spaceship" or "Jesus Walks" or "Never Let Me Down" from College Dropout, nor his "Goldigger," "Roses," or "Addiction" from his second album. There just doesn't seem to be a lot of soul there. I must say, though, that "Stronger" is right up there with his best tracks ever. Unfortunately, the bleeping of a curse word in it makes the song lost some power for me.
Speaking of albums, I was totally ready to declare Common's Finding Forever as the best album of the year, but I think I was entranced by its production more than its lyrics. The production is some of the best I've ever heard, and, at times, the lyrics matches its power. But not all the time. It's a 4-star album, not a 5-star album. West's is a 3-star right now, after a 5-star and a 4.5-star album before that.
Next, I'd really like to get Ben Harper's new album, plus Sinead O'Connor's and Suzanne Vega's. I'm holding myself back, though, for now. Sinead O'Connor is actually coming into the area at the end of October, and I think I might go. Like Suzanne Vega last month, I've been a fan of Sinead's for twenty years. I think she's the most misunderstood artist in American music during that time, and that she's produced some of the most daring, insightful, powerful, and influential music during that time. I'm not so much into reggae Sinead, though, nor into Sinead singing traditional Irish songs nor Gershwin songs. But according to some blog posts I've read, she's going all the way back to The Lion and the Cobra in her set lists, playing "Mandinka" and "Nothing Compares 2 U" and "Black Boys on Mopeds" and this song, my favorite of Sinead's:
Colbert Bait - Wait for it:
6 minutes ago