blog:Kanye West, Gabe Marquez review
Kanye West Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella 2005)Welcome back to class Mr. West. Late Registration may be late in some respects but its just in time to reassure people that rap music has the capability to be the most enlightened music out there, when it chooses to be. Kanye West realizes this and chooses wisely when to be, and when not to be. His sophomore follow up to the hugely successful College Dropout, does little less than solidify Kanye as what he himself calls himself, a hip-hop legend. A little cocky for my taste, but then again, whats a rapper if not full of himself? Bringing back comedic genius Bernie Mac, West shows his refined taste and why that automatically makes him better than Nelly. So does the fact that hes from Chicago and not Missouri. The first single from Late Registration is Gold Digger and is a perfect example of Kanyes style. He can move in one song from one point of a view to another while keeping it smooth and believable and he does this perfectly in this. He starts off telling the listener about a girl with lots of money, many kids, lots of rap lovers in the past, and subsequently how much he still loves her and doesnt care about how much he has to spend on her. Then he changes his tone and starts talking about a guy who cant afford her who has that ambition baby, watch his eyes whose gonna change to a Benz from his Datsun. I think Kanye is a little bit of both of these guys, he was the kid who had the ambition and then became the guy who had the money and I think hes a bit lost which personality is his these days.The second single, Heard Em Say is tremendous. It features Adam Levine of Maroon 5 helping out with the chorus over some beautiful pianos and a great bass line. This is just the beginning of showing more of his soul on the album and he does a great job of it here. It is, as usual, not the singles which are the best songs on the album though, they are just the hooks meant to get you to purchase the album and hear what he really has to offer. What he has to offer is song after song of pure genius, musically and lyrically. From the hypnotic rhythm of Drive Slow to the violin enhanced laid back style of Late, Kanye shows how relaxed he is capable of being and how much he can vary his style.There are a few tracks though which would be hits in a just world. Starting off with Roses where Kanye talks about his Aunt being sick and how he and his family deals with pain, very reminiscent of the love he shows for his family on College Dropout and also on this release with Hey Mama. With lyrics like; If Magic Johnson got a cure for AIDS, and all the broke motherf$%^&#s passed away, you telling me if my mommas in the NBA, right now she would be ok?, you have to respect his pure honest feelings and his disgust at life sometimes.Without a doubt though, it is his collaboration with Camron on Gone that makes this album a godsend. The violins and piano flows smoothly over two of the best rappers out there today in this six minute epic showcasing the best they have to offer. The soulful sound, the clever lyrics, the change up halfway through the song, all genius. This is an album that could change the way you think if you go into listening it with an open mind. Listening to Kanyes two first releases makes me believe that he truly could be the next great rapper, that is, if he doesnt fall victim to what he himself admits is his biggest fault, thinking too much about what others think of him. If he can avoid this, he could end up being the most important rapper for this generation.Memories of My Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia MarquezWhen I returned to the bedroom, refreshed and dressed, the girl was asleep on her back in the conciliatory light of dawn, lying sideways across the bed with her arms opened in a cross, absolute mistress of her virginity. God bless you, I said to her.The master of storytelling returns after quite a hiatus, ten years since his last novel, Of Love and Other Demons, to be exact. And what a wait it was. The author of such literary masterpieces as Chronicle of a Death Foretold, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and his critically acclaimed masterpiece Love in the Time of Cholera waited nearly a decade to enlighten the masses once again. And what did he decide to do? He decided to be Metallica. He figured he might as well pull an Aerosmith. What does that mean? It means that he went away, build up a bunch of hype for his very loyal and strong fan base and then after ten years of waiting released a flimsy (115 pages) and pricey ($20 US) piece. Piece of what is up to you. The story of a ninety year old man who decides that the year he turned ninety he wanted to give (himself) the gift of a night of wild love with an adolescent virgin surely sounds like a nice love story, but is far from it. Marquez commonly talks about prostitution in his novels, which is a direct result of him growing up in Columbia in an area and time where it was a very common practice. What makes his other novels different from this is the context.Stories of love are Marquezs specialty. Not regular love as many people would imagine it, but wild stories of love in amazing situations where there is little chance of success. Stories that make you cheer on the inside for an underdog, who no matter how many flaws he has, has the capability and desire to love someone unconditionally. In Memories of My Melancholy Whores Marquez seems to forget just how important this is to the story line. The absurdity of the love story between the covers is one that might have been a side note in one of his major works, but flounders given the fact that little information is given about the characters, other than the narrators love/hate relationship with whores, and the fact that his virgin sews buttons in a button factory. Character development isnt everything in a story and it shouldnt have to be, but even in a story about impossible and absurd love, one must feel something for the characters or the author runs the risk of alienating readers by the absurdity and insanity of characters actions and the outcomes of those actions.This is not to say that this book is entirely without merit. Marquez is still an amazing author with a great talent for storytelling. He has always been labeled a writer of magical realism, but I think he is a writer of far from magical love in magical places, whatever that can be neatly labeled as. This is what made Love in the Time of Cholera such a tremendous novel. No matter what the characters do, good and bad, and there are plenty of both in all of his novels, you know that they are doing it for a reason. In Memories, there seems to be no reason to his rhyme it saddens me to say that for this reason alone, there is little reason to read this novel except as a footnote to his other writings. Must Reads by Marquez;One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Love and Other Demons, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, In Evil Hour, and Love in the Time of Cholera.Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia MarquezWritten in 1985, this will truly be the legacy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The heart-wrenching story of a poor, ugly, feeble boy named Florentino Ariza who falls madly in love with a woman far out of his league, Fermina Daza. The story follows these two characters and their separate but interconnected lives from adolescence to old age through marriages, businesses, and of course, prostitutes. Marquez successfully searches the depths of mans soul and his strange desires in this absolutely beautiful tale of love, in whatever form we believe it to be. This is a book that should be mandatory for every human to read, and no human who ever reads it will view love the same again.