Monday, July 08, 2013

Counting Nickels and Dimes With Jay-Z

A lot of the critical backlash directed at Jay-Z's Magna Carta... Holy Grail is undeserved.  Many critics are feigning surprise at the rapper's gloating.  They're  shocked (shocked!) that a hip-hop album would include such content.  Magna Carta... Holy Grail sounds like a million bucks to me. 

I don't begrudge Jay-Z his success.  He earned the right to brag about buying museum-quality art.  My idea of wealth revolves around the ability to buy ten-dollar beers at concerts and sporting events without flinching.  (I'm a long way from achieving that level of financial security.)

The uproar over Jay-Z's so-called excesses parallels one of my pet peeves.  A lot of people conflate artist's personas with the quality of their music.  That's ridiculous.  Just as horrible people make great music, nice people regularly produce inferior sounds.  I don't want or expect Jay-Z to be my friend.  As he suggests of "Nickels and Dimes", the relationship couldn't possibly be healthy anyway.

For that matter, I don't really have any interest hanging out with musicians.  I expect a lot- everything, really- from music.  I don't expect or demand any personal connection with the people who produce those sounds.

That said, I'd be willing to throw back a Guinness or two with Ian McLagan.  I reviewed his appearance at Danny's in Lenexa on Saturday night.

The video for Trampled Under Foot's "Bad Bad Feeling" looks great.  The band's Badlands album is released on July 9.

All the cool kids are raving about Laura Mvula.  I remain unconvinced.

Reminder- Plastic Sax is my other music blog.

I covet the new The Chicago Blues Box: The MCM Records Story.

I'm looking forward to hearing this week's new releases by Ciara, Donell Jones, King Tuff, Omar and the Howlers, Robert Pollard, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Thundercat and Chucho Valdes.  First, however, I expect to be enlightened by In Search of the Miraculous.

Kansas City Click: Deafheaven hit the RecordBar on Monday.

Mindless Behavior appear Tuesday at the Midland.

Marcia Ball returns to Knuckleheads on Wednesday.

Big B opens for the Dirty Heads at the Midland on Thursday.

Take Five Coffee + Bar hosts Todd Strait on Friday.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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