Pop: ALBUM REVIEWS
Saturday 27 November 1999
On what is probably the most outstanding hip-hop album of the year, this Cali duo use all 20 skit-free tracks to full effect, mixing a musical palette of B-boy dub, jazz-laden Afrocentricity and rare groove with upfront storytelling, conventional song-based numbers and witty lyricism such as the excellently-titled "Smitzonian Institute of Rhyme". HHHHH
Beck 'Midnight Vultures' (Geffen)
With delightfully skittish and sleazy lyrics, Beck embarks on a journey through down'n'dirty R&B, super-sexy vintage Prince sounds and hard-nosed funk as well as the staples of chemical country and streetwise beats. Beck blurs the genres ever more successfully on his finest album yet. HHHHH
Low 'Christmas' (Tugboat)
The Minnesota trio continue to conjure up a desolate sound with a warm underbelly on this seasonal mini-album. As well as four of their own songs, there are beautifully understated covers of "Little Drummer Boy" and "Blue Christmas" that come over as less-syrupy Cowboy Junkies. HHHH
Rakim 'The Master' (Universal)
The first full-length album in five years from the legendary MC sees him team up with a series of producers, including DJ Clark Kent and DJ Premier, who keep the beats to an acceptable standard. But, once again, it's his hypnotic lyricism and choice of words that make the album title true to its claim. HHHH
Fun Lovin' Criminals 'Mimosa' (Chrysalis)
Although this collection of B-sides, loungey remixes and covers settles into an acceptably smooth groove, there is nowhere near the level of ideas at work here as compared to, say, Beck's latest album. One for fans only. HH
SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Kneehigh 'Introducing Elvis' (Clear)
This new band from Liverpool on a new Manchester indie label, bear echoes of Joy Division with a measure of early Nineties Chapel Hill slacker cool (Small-23 to be precise). While the A-side is packed with memorable riffs and lyrics, the B-side sounds like a louder, abrasive version of Wheat. HHH
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 3 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 4 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
- 5 Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants kill 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Beyoncé '7/11' music video: Star bounces on bed in low-fi homage to viral video
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Lana Del Rey rape video: Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track