December Mixtape

Our soundtrack to December:

The Notorious B.I.G & Miley Cyrus – Party And Bullshit In The USA

This ingenious mashup by DJ Hathbanger is insanely catchy and skilfully spliced. Combining one of Biggie’s best with Miley Cyrus’ synth-heavy anthem could have ended really, really badly. However, there’s something about this combination that just works. Guilty pleasure? Most definitely.

Blakroc – Done Did It

Blakroc, if you haven’t heard, is a collaborative project featuring The Black Keys and a bunch of rappers. Sound interesting? If it doesn’t, then you might as well bail right now. The end product sounds pretty much exactly how I expected it to; excellently performed lyrics over simple, raw blues riffs and powerful drums. Done Did It is the final track on the self-titled debut – sweet bass riff, words by frequently featured NOE, great feel, great song. Stay Off The Fucking Flowers (featuring Raekwon) and Ain’t Nothing Like You (featuring Mos Def and Jim Jones) are both worth checking out, too.

Dr. Dre – What’s The Difference

While the ‘serious gangsta’ tone of this 2001 standout might feel a little silly on reflection, Dre’s polished production hasn’t aged one bit. It features one of the best beats/samples in hip hop history – fact. Dre composed and performed some mighty fine rhymes in his day and this is a great example. Dre is ably supported by Xzibit and foul-mouthed protégé Eminem. Take a hit of nostalgia.

Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls

Anyone who has seen horror-comedy Zombieland will have had this song stuck in their head for days, as it features in the super slo-mo credits sequence. And features awesomely. Something about the song is inherently cinematic, and its use in the movie lends subsequent listens a darkly humorous tone. Also, sweet riffs.

Foo Fighters – All My Life

I recently reviewed – for other media commitments – the Foo Fighters’ Greatest Hits. I found myself taking a journey through the Dave Grohl-fronted band’s absolute best. All My Life stood out as unapologetically heavy and extremely well-written. So catchy, so loud, so good.

Wale – Pretty Girls

Beginning with a smoothly sung intro, Pretty Girls is a textured, clever song; hardly a surprise to fans of Washington D.C.-born rapper Wale. The production is slick but not superficial – a statement which applies to the rest of debut album Attention Deficit, on which Pretty Girls appears. Ugly girls be quiet, quiet; pretty girls clap clap like this.

Them Crooked Vultures – Mind Eraser, No Chaser

I somehow missed the build-up to this supergroup’s self-titled album. A little surprising, considering it features Josh Homme, John Paul Jones (former Led Zeppelin bassist and keyboardist) and Dave Grohl. And yeah, if you haven’t head them yet, they are the amazing amalgamation of hard rock that you just imagined. Riff-heavy rock’n’roll with excellent vocals and pop catchiness.

Aretha Franklin – The House That Jack Built

I came across this one on an Aretha Best Of. Classic soul.

Lil Wayne – Run This Town

Lil Wayne remixes and remakes Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 single and shows who really runs rap these days. I’ll let his words speak for themselves: “I’m colder than b r, add another three r’s”. Brrrr.

Chiddy Bang – Danger Zone

These guys are the smartest, most interesting, dynamic young hip hop group out there. They sample brilliantly, featured on All Things Go, Truth and Fresh Like Us, but Danger Zone is structured around original music – crunchy synth, organ and metronomic drums. Their lyrics are fun and their hooks are catchy.

Julian Casablancas – Out of the Blue

On his solo album Phrazes of the Young, Casablancas replicates the electronica-heavy, clean indie style found on First Impressions of Earth but adds the element that FIOE was missing – high quality, well-written songs (You Only Live Once being the exception). Out of the Blue is definitely well-written; great verses coupled with soaring choruses make it a standout on Phrazes and a fun one to listen to in isolation.

Taken By Trees – Sweet Child O’ Mine

An incredible, piano-driven cover of the Guns’N’Roses ballad. Nothing more to say, really. Just amazing.

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