STD Issue 44

Apparently former celebrated late-night host Arsenio Hall is making his “triumphant” (really?) return to television. Remember, the guy with the hip-top fade best known for doing fist-pumping “whoop, whoop, whoop” chants all the time (yeah, we secretly miss doing them too). His new show, “Funniest Moments,” debuts this fall and is said to be similar to “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Whatever happened to originality? Rhetorical question.

We actually know what happened to it: Soulja Boy and Nelly stomped and “yoooouuuued” that shit out. C’mon, are you really surprised? Nevertheless, we’ll be bumping The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s “Summertime” (an STD favorite) and getting low with Flo Rida all summer long in hopes of forgetting about Arsenio’s return to primetime. Yeah, we’re not that excited either.


Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends


Coldplay’s astronomical success is one of the most unsolvable puzzles in the music industry, up there with “What the fuck was Prince thinking in the ’90s?” Consider: Chris Martin shamefully admits that he rips off Radiohead, but shamelessly continues to do it anyway. Everyone in the free world, Coldplay fans and haters alike, agrees that X&Y (mostly) sucked. And yet, the obnoxiously titled Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends is looking to debut better than Tha Carter III. At least this time around, the album’s half-decent. If only we could get that iPod commercial off the air.

-Kevin Doran


My Morning Jacket
Evil Urges


It’s hard to write jokes about an album that features the lyric “peanut butter pudding surprise,” especially when that album was recorded by a heretofore psychedelia-inspired alt-country band. Instead of psychedelia and alt-country, the first half of My Morning Jacket’s Evil Urges is more Prince-inspired hard rock, which is also hard to write jokes about. But after getting freaky for a spell, MMJ throws it back to its signature twangcore folky shredfests for the second half. They want to have it both ways, which, I suppose, is what a “peanut butter pudding surprise” must be like.

– Kevin Doran


Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded


Though it’s packaged under a different colored backdrop (which is horrible, by the way), Good Girl Gone Bad: Reloaded is practically the same disc as the original with three bonus tracks and a DVD. The three new tracks range from the awfully generic #1 smash, “Take A Bow” to the just plain awful vocoder-enhanced “Disturbia.” The other bonus track is Rihanna’s take on Maroon 5’s “If I Never See Your Face Again.” While a decent cover, it’s not enough to warrant a second purchase. And if you’ve seen Rihanna perform, that DVD shouldn’t be all that enticing either. If you’re pinching pennies, don’t bother.

– Michael Arceneaux


Chris Brown
Exclusive: The Forever Edition


It wasn’t that impressive the first time, and it’s even less impressive the second go round. When it was released last fall, Exclusive came across as a collection of singles versus an actual album. And the revamped version is more of the same. Like “Forever,” Brown’s obvious attempt at crossover airplay and “Super Human,” the “No Air” like ballad featuring Keri Hilson. There’s also the dreary “Heart Ain’t A Brain” and a remix to “Picture Perfect” featuring Bow Wow and Hurricane Chris. A bonus DVD offers performances from his recent tour. I’ll pass, but my niece will love it.

– Michael Arceneaux


Seeing Sounds


It’s not everyday that you see an uncensored group of culturally diverse kids from Virginia riding their bicycles down the street rapping about politicians in relationship to strippers. But we are almost sure, that everyday you’re “In Search Of…” good music and sometimes you find it. With a mixture of funk, rock, experimental and hip-hop, N.E.R.D. has somehow set the precedent for hipsters, “cool kids” and gave the thumbs up for male urbanites to wear jeans that fit, rock out to guitars and jump into mosh pits. It was in 2002, that the world was introduced to three musicians with different perspectives mashed into one sound. With their new album, Seeing Sounds, Chad, Pharrell, and Shay once again set the tone for progressive music. Laced with melodic choruses, packed with range and relative concepts about sex, life and positive energy, its not hard to envision their music as a roaring ape, or various colors swimming in your mind. Seeing Sounds is something gigantic, loud and red.

– Dominque Howse


Definition Of Real


Plies prides himself on being real. This is evident with the title of his new album and the first words he utters on the opening track: “Went to sleep real, woke up realer…” It’s nice to see Plies found a way to magically increase his already impressive levels of realness in his slumber, but unfortunately his newly acquired trait couldn’t be parlayed into a good album. Plies does a decent job of spitting street tales over some quite impressive production, but at the end of the day it comes off as just the same old song. His adolescent subject matter coupled with a kindergarten vocabulary produce some pretty elementary lyrics. It’s not all bad, though. It’s just that gems like “I’m Da Man” and “Somebody (Loves You)” are few and very, very, far in between.

– A. Hugh Leonard


The Cool Kids
The Bake Sale


The Cool Kids? That seems like an oxymoron because looking at these guys it’s obvious that they are far from cool. They don’t wear the latest fashion by the popular designers, rap about the typical rap topics, nor do they get their beats from the top-name producers. On second thought, maybe that’s what makes these guys “cool”; they dare to be different. Their debut EP contains mostly songs that have been available digitally for almost a year with a few new tracks to boot. Though the beats—provided by group member Chuck Inglish—are a refreshing throwback to the 80’s, they often overshadow the average lyrics of the two emcees. So while their braggadocio, comical flow is a much-welcomed break from the cliché drug ballads, odes to misogyny and tales of the streets, The Cool Kids still need to polish their lyrics to match the quality of their head-nodding production.

– A. Hugh Leonard


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