Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 33

Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 33 is taking on a Welsh singer songwriter from across the pond who seems have enough talent, musical creativity and overall wham bam charisma to shake up the entire pop-rap-dance establishment or tear it all down and set it ablaze!  We stay in a similar community with an artist that is ever-changing and digging deeper into the personae rap for another challenging listen. Then we shift to a band of beautiful seemingly outcastical alternative rockers led by a dynamic, engaging voice that are completely familiar with setting the music guidelines of their categorical genre ablaze, too!  How they all do it, what to expect from your listen, and how I feel about these lies ahead on Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 33!

No YouTube Show this week due to scheduling. Catch “Album Listen Challenge” Best of 2023 –  Sick Boi coming in two weeks!

RenSick Boi

I could certainly stay in comfortable genres doing these reviews.  There are plenty of easily reviewable albums that come out weekly that I can pop on and just listen to and get it, feel it, and write about it.  But, that would be going against everything we built Beyond Your Radio on (as you would also hear from our YouTube Channel if you’re checking that out, too).  Today’s Sick Boi record is prime example of being committed to stepping out and giving all kinds of opportunities!  And, what a wonderful, bitter, yet utterly entertaining and thought provoking album surprise this is!  Before I go into the record, I want to thank Mary Spencer for her YouTube appreciation for Ren that drew my attention (as her and her professional channel always does).

Here’s the thing about albums like this; they have to be fully committed from the first seconds of the first track and all-in on handling the drive and life of it until the last song fades or drops out.  There’s no question that Ren (Ren Gill of Wales) is the unbelievable emotional and talented force that has a story to tell, a voice to do so, and the overall love of music in all its forms to give it all the proper, exacerbated tone, melody and rhythm to make every moment an attention grabbing audio experience.  That’s just the easy part, as you would have to be completely ignorant and unacceptably musically impaired to not realize the musician-ism and lyrical ecstasy of this beast.  While it falls into a category, the pursuit is merciless and the minute you enter Money Game, Pt 3 and the grand piano comes in you realize the depth of his soul while you feel the bitterness of his reality and those of people that don’t even have a platform like this.  I can get political or social economical, but that’s not something this album is looking to solve — it’s looking to point out a lot of society’s misconceptions, misappropriations and dismissals of family, career, and what deserve truly means.  Ren does this in how he sings, raps, talks, and even breathes on this very rich album.

Yes, there are rappers that have come before him that have certainly laid a foundation, but this is not a person doing this for shock or utilizing a personality disorder (whether real or not) to bring out songs or milk a moment.  This is very real, intelligently so.   Not just that, but Ren is paying very close attention to the music, too, as it evens sounds like his struggle (truly amazing).  Piano, Violin, guitar, bass (oh yeah bass, he hits it with ‘What You Want’ you will recognize when it happens) and rhythms, as well the production additions.  It’s got your Eminem, Dre, Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, and integrated club and EDM as well.

I make no mistake that he’s angry, and it’s probably the life force at this point, but he’s true enough to realize that he’s not the only one struggling, angry, and that he still has to march forward.  Remarkably…he has done all of this, basically, by himself (creator, producer, and more) while understanding, dealing and fighting with his chronic illness and what it has brought upon him. What he does next will be super important, but I want everyone to listen and live in this real hip-hop evolutionary moment for a bit, as it’s a very interesting and intelligent listen on a lot of scales.

PS:  Yes, you should watch the video(s) as he did these, too, and they’re — oh just go watch!

Sick Boi Tracklisting

  1. Seven Sins
  2. Sick Boi
  3. Animal Flow
  4. Money Game, Pt. 3
  5. Lost All Faith
  6. Genesis
  7. Murderer
  8. Suic*de
  9. Illest of Our Time
  10. Love Music, Pt. 4
  11. Uninvited
  12. What You Want
  13. The Hunger
  14. Down on the Beat
  15. Masochist
  16. Loco
  17. Wicked Ways
  18. Sick Boi, Pt. 2

 

Casisdead – Famous Last Words

“Do you trust me?”  This is how the album opens, as if you are watching somehow a scene in the rain where danger must lurk, but really what it’s doing is telling you that there is hesitance in this experience — at least for my ear.  Sorry (I do not get that this is some Blade Runner concept just because it’s raining and voices are actorian).  What comes next is going to be important because I’m already leary. So, in comes ‘A Spark’ – a track you’ve heard before delivered in a 50 Cent piece with a slow groove catch that is deliberately setting a better stage than the skit prior.  I’m hopeful, hesitant, and hoping that this will lead to an engaging experience.

Well, after that song, the album is an up and down affair between some sort of progressive synth pop hip-hop programming with guests and over-flavored music (generated or studio musician I can’t be sure — hell it could be AI), and electronica beat-groove that seem to be the only music that matches and showcases the lyrical guise and stories being flung and flipped. There are interludes that are probably pointed, but for me they are pointlessly addressing the original error of the first track/skit.  I don’t care.  I want music, flow and great delivery.  Creativity we will talk about in a minute. This is a hip-hop or rap record trying to masquerade as something deeper.  I hear the shoegaze, poor attempts at R&B inclusion, and most attempts fall a “few sandwiches short” (not my quote — it’s in the album) as does all the name dropping that seems to have very little power or statement, although I guess if you’re talking Marilyn, as in Monroe, it could be a famous last word.

Creativity — it is there. When it is just the vocal and the electronica track and groove it works very well.  The track names hint at things, but they don’t really deliver any sense of flow or themes from my perspective. ‘Sarah Connor’ is it from Terminator because there is movie name dropping within?  I really don’t know and don’t cared to prove it (because the record should have done that).  What they seemed committed to is the production of all the background effects or rain, coughing, and small crafty things.  All of which do not make the statement that should be made — because it’s the name of the album — Famous Last Words.  There’s not a single great, fantastic or memorable keeper from this album, so inappropriately titled for what I think it is, but I am not the demographic.  I tried to trust — but not today – not this album.  The final song ‘Skydive’ does a very good job at making a strong, fitting impression, while making some famous last words and utilizes Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys to bring it all together.

The Band

  • Casisdead – Rap, style/production
  • Neil Tennant – Guest vocal
  • Desire – Guest vocal
  • Connie Constance – Guest vocal
  • Kamino – Guest vocal
  • LATER – Guest vocals and synthasizer

Famous Last Words Tracklisting

  1. Do You Trust Me?
  2. A Spark
  3. Loosin’
  4. Steptronic
  5. Deadcorp
  6. Pineapple Juice (feat. Kamino)
  7. I Wanna Go Home
  8. Actin’ Up (feat. Desire)
  9. Sarah Connor
  10. Do You Remember What It Was Like?
  11. Marilyn (feat. Connie Constance)
  12. Aghast 6
  13. Boys Will Be Boys
  14. Venom
  15. Traction Control
  16. The Ants
  17. Matte Grey Wrap (feat. Desire)
  18. Pat Earrings
  19. Before This (feat. LATER)
  20. Jane
  21. Sugar Free
  22. Access Denied
  23. Skydive (feat. Neil Tennant)

 

The Kills – God Games

This duo knows how to throwdown an envelope-pushing alternative rock record, funk’in defy the norm, and press you up against that wall and give your audio a full cavity search!  Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince have been letting their yeah yeahs out in their awesomely named The Kills for many years now, and each album seems to present a uniqueness that leaves you feeling like they brought everything they had in their bag of tricks.  In God Games, they’ve not only learned a few new tricks but they decided that they’d raise their genre’s game while they were at it.

If this is what ‘New York’ tastes like (title track) from the lick, the big band horn-like synth bass, and the punked up vocals, I’d bust my ears on this!  This is going to be one hell of ride!  Pray for me, as there is no further choice but to follow the duo into God Games willingly!  They take it all on in every track, layering a down tempo groove while they slip into Heaven in a salty yet sultry move, and then take on the hex of Los Angeles in Prince like nature.  And, while three songs in, I’m feeling fortunate, endulgent and eager for more!  Maybe it’s not prayers I need?  Yep, I know what I really need!  Let’s crank up the stereo and feel the sonic that’s starting to build and amp because you have to feel it’s not just going to linger.

I want to keep going track by track, but the surprises, the vocal depth and sonic impressions left are meant to be experienced in real time, and on that stereo of yours that’s been probably been suffering from some neglect!  There’s a lot of pop sensibility, but it’s beautifully pinched and crushed with rock guitar riffs that are short, elegant, distorted and woven so well (like in ‘103’).  It has a playful taunt that you do start to pick up on, and then I’m finally reminded of the cover.  Yes, you kind of tease the bull right?  Ok, so we’re being teased and Matadored — until…well until it ends.

Good news.  You’re not dead like the bull, so you can just put this back on — and have another round!  These grooves, slick attitude, sexy rhythm, wicked guitaring and rich female rock vocal will make you love the dance that got you to the end.  So, go at it, again!  Take the God Games by the horn, grab your best red cape, and sway, dance and repeat!

The Band

  • Alison Mosshart – Vocals, Guitar, Synth
  • Jamie Hince – Guitars
  • Paul Epworth – Production

God Games Tracklisting

  1. New York
  2. Going to Heaven
  3. LA Hex
  4. Love and Tenderness
  5. 103
  6. My Girls My Girls
  7. Wasterpiece
  8. Kingdom Come
  9. God Games
  10. Blank
  11. Bullet Sound
  12. Better Days
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