Overly Bold Musical Pronouncement of the Day

In ten or twenty years, people will look back at Tha Carter III as the definitive 2000s album, the same way we think of Rumours as the definitive ’70s album, 1984 as the definitive ’80s album, and Nevermind as the definitive ’90s album. It won’t be seen as the best album (that’d be Arular), though it’s certainly up there, but it does summarize and epitomize the genre of rap and of pop music more generally that has characterized and thrived during the ’00s. The only possible alternative for the role I can think of is Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and that’s far too idiosyncratic. Not that Lil Wayne is normal, but the album is more of a piece with its time than Speakerboxxx.
Anyway, separate from its historical significance, Tha Carter III is a very, very, very good album, with several killer singles and next-to-no filler. I even like “A Milli”, the track that’s come in for the most hating. That said, I have to echo the critical consensus and name “Mr. Carter”, in which Sean (aka Jay-Z) passes his crown to Dwayne (aka Lil Wayne), as the best song:
http://media.imeem.com/m/2gfJfcNSe_/aus=false/

13 thoughts on “Overly Bold Musical Pronouncement of the Day

  1. I’ll grant that “She was a really good kisser and she wasn’t all that strict of a Christian / She was a damn good dancer but she wasn’t all that great of a girlfriend” is the best couplet of the decade. But go back and listen to Arular. It’s shockingly consistent. Not everything is as transcendent as “Fire Fire”, “Galang” or her self-titled track, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a bad song there. If not that, then Kid A, Turn On the Bright Lights or Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – but I think it holds up better than any of them.
    And for the record, Maya’s taken. Not that I care, but you probably do.

  2. In ten or twenty years, people will look back at Tha Carter III as the definitive 2000s album, the same way we think of Rumours as the definitive ’70s album, 1984 as the definitive ’80s album, and Nevermind as the definitive ’90s album.
    I’m not sure exactly what it means for an album to be “definitive”, but certainly there are ’70s albums that a lot of people like better than Rumours. For instance, Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin IV, and Breakfast in America. I mean, Rumours isn’t a bad album; I guess it’s even a good album. But definitive? Okay, it helped define the semi-Muzak ’70s style that was also pursued by Abba, for instance. In that sense it was definitive.
    I haven’t heard the album 1984. I suppose that
    you mean the one by the Eurythmics. Since there were four albums from the ’80s with that title, then maybe the album is definitive if you mean all four of them. Or, maybe the one by Van Halen is definitive in the sense that there were a lot of popular heavy metal groups in the ’80s. (Although heavy metal as a genre was arguably defined by Led Zeppelin in the ’70s.)
    Again, definitive or not, a lot of people really like some other ’80s albums. To name two, So and Graceland.
    I know nothing at all about Nevermind, but I am tempted to heed the title. Likewise the title of another famous album by Michael Jackson, Bad, seemed to me to be a signal. Why resort to titles like this if the music is good?
    Anyway yesterday and today I listed to another definitive musical work of the ’80s, that is, the 1780s. The piece is the Twinkle, Twinkle Variations by Mozart. I don’t know much about music, but I can understand the melody of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, for one reason because it only has 42 notes. What Mozart did with it is amazing. He also used only one instrument in this composition, the piano. Mozart was also the same age when he wrote it as Lil Wayne was when he rapped “Tha Carter III”. I challenge you to write something about it.

  3. I’m not sure exactly what it means for an album to be “definitive”, but certainly there are ’70s albums that a lot of people like better than Rumours. For instance, Dark Side of the Moon, Led Zeppelin IV, and Breakfast in America.
    Oh, those are definitely better albums. By “definitive” I meant “defining the type of music that was dominant in the given decade”. Rumours defined soft-rock pitch-perfectly, whereas Zeppelin IV and Dark Side were pretty sui generis.
    I haven’t heard the album 1984. I suppose that
    you mean the one by the Eurythmics. Since there were four albums from the ’80s with that title, then maybe the album is definitive if you mean all four of them. Or, maybe the one by Van Halen is definitive in the sense that there were a lot of popular heavy metal groups in the ’80s

    I meant Van Halen; I didn’t realize there were multiple ones 🙂 1984 in particular sticks out for how it blended synth-pop and hair metal, which were to the ’80s what soft-rock was to the ’70s, what grunge was to the ’90s, and hip-pop is to the ’00s.
    Again, definitive or not, a lot of people really like some other ’80s albums. To name two, So and Graceland.
    So is overrated; I can only really listen to “Sledgehammer”. “In Your Eyes” just brings to mind John Cusack with a boombox. Graceland, by contrast, deserves every nice word it’s ever gotten.
    I know nothing at all about Nevermind, but I am tempted to heed the title. Likewise the title of another famous album by Michael Jackson, Bad, seemed to me to be a signal. Why resort to titles like this if the music is good?
    To be fair, “Smooth Criminal’ was awesome. But yes, it was much worse than Thriller or Off the Wall. And if you haven’t heard Nevermind? Seriously? No “Lithium” or “In Bloom” or “Come As You Are”? No “Smells Like Teen @#$%ing Spirit”? You’re really missing out. That’s quality music right there.
    Anyway yesterday and today I listed to another definitive musical work of the ’80s, that is, the 1780s. The piece is the Twinkle, Twinkle Variations by Mozart. I don’t know much about music, but I can understand the melody of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, for one reason because it only has 42 notes. What Mozart did with it is amazing. He also used only one instrument in this composition, the piano. Mozart was also the same age when he wrote it as Lil Wayne was when he rapped “Tha Carter III”. I challenge you to write something about it.
    I really don’t think anyone’s comparing Lil Wayne to Mozart, Greg. Except maybe him. Man’s got a lot of hubris about him.

  4. Graceland certainly had the most effect on me of any album; it’s the one that turned me on to African music (along with some of Peter Gabriel’s music like “Biko” & “Shaking the Tree”).
    For the 90s, my pick is “Neon Bible”.

  5. I guess your intended meaning of “definitive” is actually similar to my snarky version.
    I am not sure that Van Halen is truly definitive of the 80s. To some extent, yes. In fact, when I lived in the (early) 80s, I had a lot of interest in then-current popular music. Most of it was more danceable than Van Halen. Arguably Thriller is as definitive (and then-popular) as anything else in the 80s.
    I am also not sure that any popular music in this decade is truly definitive. If anything is, it would be hip-hop, because (a) it’s new, and (b) it’s a coherent plurality, so it dominates the charts. But a plurality is not a majority — this is what has changed. The majority, I suspect, is happy enough with decades-old styles.
    It’s like what happened with fast food. In the 1950s, fast food was a new thing and it was all the rage. For the next few decades they experimented with trends and styles. But eventually they simply had popular tastes figured out, so that now, there isn’t much reason to innovate. The system can’t compete with its own past.
    I really don’t think anyone’s comparing Lil Wayne to Mozart, Greg.
    Fair enough. I meant it more as an invitation. You’ve had a lot of rock music reviews on this blog. What about classical music? Granted, an interesting review of a lot of classical music would be a formidable task. But who can’t review a variation of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star? (It’s actually 12 variations, but still.)

  6. OK, the best album of the 2000s is Funeral*, that’s not even a question. But yes, Tha Carter III is tight…and I even reviewed it three weeks ago! I think you, me, Jamelle and Spackerman could form “Liberal Bloggers for Lil Wayne.” If only we could convince him that the world isn’t going to end in 2012…
    *Although Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Stankonia are close, close seconds.

  7. “1984” as the definitive album?
    As someone who was alive for most of the 80s (though can only remember 1985 on) and actually likes some of that music I ask: What about “Thriller” or (showing more of my personal taste than actual influence) “Synchronicity”?

  8. thanke you dylan mattheww for this astoundin g revaealing looki at gracelands homage to “arular”. populare music never got so summarrizable than in 2008 with “This Carter III” and o8nly one minute left until the real detonation, whnen Big Daddy Kanes fifteenth rebirth albume plumes smoke into the rap world and we all listen to Arular with New Ears. thanke you and goodnight with best wishes for the blogyear.
    namaste
    doctore friendsley (“p.. r… a..n)
    new rothschild “tyler maue” memorial fitness cenetere ’11

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