Free Single Reviews

Free Single Review: Porcelain Black, “This Is What Rock N’ Roll Looks Like”

Let’s consider for a moment what Lil Wayne apparently thinks rock music is.

A few years ago he contributed a guest verse to “Let It Rock,” the debut single from producer-turned-singer Kevin Rudolf. “Let It Rock” isn’t really a “traditional” rock song in any sense; it’s more of a typical club banger that happens to feature power chords. The song itself is okay, but I really bring it up because it seems like the seeds of Weezy’s ill-fated attempts at crossing over were planted within that track. Ever since that song came out, he’s been trying to add rock elements to his usual rap and AutoTune pop and… well, let’s just say it hasn’t really worked out.

In January of 2010 Lil Wayne unleashed Rebirth to a world that had been dreading its arrival since the day it was announced. The album had been delayed so often that by the time it finally came out its lead single “Prom Queen,” which is already a strong contender for worst song of the decade, was all but a distant memory. The critics, of course, completely eviscerated it – and rightfully so; Rebirth was a total disaster.

Rebirth was a rock album made by someone who had no clue how to make rock music – hell, he could barely even play two notes on the guitar – but tried anyway because nobody was going to tell him, “Dude, this is a really bad idea.” It was filled with extremely overproduced guitars, cheesy solos, and quite possibly the worst singing I’ve ever heard from a major-label artist. This is probably an unfair distinction to give it – Lil Wayne was, after all, a rapper using excessive amounts of AutoTune, but it was his idea to let us hear him warbling like a whiny robot and so he must pay the penalty.

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Free Single Review: Mac Miller, “On And On”

There are a lot of cities in America that can closely identify with a specific genre of music. Chicago was where Delta bluesmen began forming bands and plugging in their guitars. Los Angeles had glam rock in the ‘80s and gangsta rap in the ‘90s. Detroit? Motown, baby! Seattle has grunge, Nashville’s got country, Philly’s got soul, and Atlanta’s got “dirty South” hip-hop. New Orleans? They’ve got jazz – or at least they did until the franchise packed up and moved to Utah (*rimshot*). Memphis was one of the birthplaces of rock and roll. DC has a famous punk scene, and Baltimore’s indie rock is only an hour’s drive on I-95 away. And New York… well, they’ve got pretty much everything.

This year has seen the rise of another city that hopes to become a new mecca for hip-hop. That would be the Steel City itself, Pittsburgh, PA. It’s home to six Lombardi Trophies, three rivers, and two colors that all their sports teams wear: black and yell—well, gold, actually. Which of course brings us to Wiz Khalifa, the Pittsburgh rapper whose breakout single “Black And Yellow” has been practically inescapable in 2011. The Steelers adopted the song as their team anthem during their run to Super Bowl XLV this year.

And the rest of America has been remixing it like crazy ever since. Lil Wayne turned it into “Green And Yellow” in honor of the Green Bay Packers. Snoop Dogg did a Lakers version called “Purp And Yellow.” Even Tom Hanks’ son did “White And Purple” for Northwestern University (I swear to God that is NOT a joke). Basically, if your favorite team wears colors, somebody has taken Wiz Khalifa’s song and painted over it with those colors. Brace yourselves, Flyer fans – soon I’ll be set to unleash “Black And Orange” on all y’all. (Oh wait, San Francisco Giants fans beat me to it. DAMN YOU ALL!)

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Free Single Review: Art Of Dying, “Die Trying”

This feature is an idea that I’ve been meaning to try for a while and never really got around to doing. I guess that’s what happens when you take a year off from blogging to look for jobs, but whatever.

Every week, as I’m sure anyone with a computer probably knows, iTunes offers its users a new single from up-and-coming artists completely free of charge. This is a nifty idea that could be used to introduce some truly groundbreaking and exciting artists to a wider audience at no cost to that audience so they don’t have to complain about wasting their hard-earned $1.29 on a song they didn’t like.

Unfortunately they tend to use this promotion on pop-country singers, MTV-friendly rappers, quirky indie-pop (the kind you typically hear in Apple commercials, fittingly enough) and radio-friendly rock bands that don’t sound any different from anything already on MTV or the radio. Sometimes they might offer something genuinely cool, but these are the exceptions… not the rule.

My idea for this feature is to listen to these songs and simply offer my opinion. This week’s single is “Die Trying” by Art Of Dying, and the review is after the jump.

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