Comebacks: Big Boi, Ride, and Alison Moyet

Big Boi – Boomiverse

When Antwan André Patton released his last good album, Barack Obama was in the White House and the Democrats still controlled both chambers. This native Georgian can’t be too happy about the results in the Sixth Congressional District, although not as much, I expect, as buddy Killer Mike, who joins Jeezy and Hatsune Miku on “Kill Jill” for a dizzying tour through an ethnic/aural multiverse approximating the music on Boi’s audience’s smartphones. On this forty-five-minutes divertissement, Boi makes no statements and records no tour de force – how can he when Adam Levine won’t stop yapping and Boi wimps out on a taking a moral position in a throwaway line about the Cosby trial? (I’m not fond of another line about Sodom and Gomorrah “deplorables” either). Instead, he’s reminding us of the range of his taste, of the pure pleasure his bodacious timbre once provided. Highlights are many, as rooted in Georgia as peach trees: “Follow Deez” marries a throbbing Mannie Fresh-produced electrohook to Curren$y’s languid evocation of a “a land where Impalas squat,” to which Boi answers with “Gladiators with radiators that run hot/Impalas with ‘draulics parked at the gun spot”; the even better electrothrob of “Chocolate”; and “In the South,” where Boi hangs with Gucci Mane and Pimp C and, I can imagine, the B-52’s who wrote “Dry Country.” It’s good to have him back remembering how to record solid albums. Boomiverse is the sort of album I’ll forget to replay until list-making season in early December when its existence will wreak havoc on my top twenty.

Alison Moyet – Other

After years of adult contemporary albums with the occasional burst of guitar anarchy against which her persona was ill-suited anyway, Alison Moyet returned to electropop in 2013. Other goes further. If you keep track of such things, it’s the former Yazoo singer’s best album since 1991’s Hoodoo. Guy Sigworth composes electronic tracks with grand orchestral passages; in places, such as “The Rarest Birds,” the results suggest what “Venus as a Boy”-era Bjork would sound like in the new millennium. What Moyet has also lost in elasticity she has gained in expressiveness. “The Lover, You” and the fabulously titled “Reassuring Pinches,” which has a synth organ break that Vince Clarke would go human for, are peak Moyet. Recommended to admirers of Róisín Murphy’s latest efforts.

Ride – Weather Diaries

My first college friend said his favorite album was Ride’s Going Blank Again, whose title nailed my expression on learning this news. I didn’t suspect the extent of Mike’s enthusiasm for shoegaze. Over the years I’ve listened to Ride’s excellent 1992 album and 1990’s Nowhere when I remember I own them. The mediocrity of Weather Diaries came as a shock, though. As one of the commenters in my SPIN review pointed out, Ride have recorded a rock album: lumbering, pompous, in places rather charmless. I’m in the minority.

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