Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes pulled off an impressive feat back in 2008. They debuted with a self-titled album that notably put folk music on the map, and by “on the map,” I’m referring to the fact that the album was sold in retail giants such as Target and Wal-Mart. With their debut came a strong sense of nostalgia and innocence, but it was at a distance. There were narratives, locales, and characters, but none of it came off as personal. Their new album Helplessness Blues, changes that in the first line of the opening track where Robin Pecknold (the band’s leader) sings: “So now I am older than my mother and father when they had their daughter / Now what does that say about me?” From there the album takes off and never touches ground until the exhilarating closer “Grown Ocean.” With deeply personal lyrics, an expanded musical repertory, and the same folk influences from the last album; Fleet Foxes have overcome the “sophomore slump” with a “sophomore jump.”
Hot Sauce Committee Part Two by Beastie Boys
If the definition of “classic” is standing the test of time, then the Beastie Boys’ first two albums are nothing short of classic. Despite having been released before I was born, they have been in my iPod’s regular rotation since I first discovered them. Finally returning to the music scene after a 7 year hiatus, these fortysomething rappers prove that there is still some gas left in the tank. While certainly not nearly as fresh as their first four outings, this album’s beats and rhymes should put a stop to all the doubting. (See what I did there?). In “Make Some Noise” Mike D raps: “The roaches check in, but they never check out / I set the record straight, no doubt” displaying the same wit that propelled them to stardom, even if it’s a little seasoned in its old age. Their glory days might be behind them, but this album is still worth a listen.