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Songs of the week

Run The Jewels — “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”

Musicians around the world are trying to cope with the internet age and the fact that they may not sell as many CDs as they once did. Everyone has their own thoughts on how to make money, like U2 and their iTunes deal or Jay-Z and Samsung, but Run The Jewels might be the one who’s had the best idea so far. In October, Killer Mike and El-P will be releasing their second album together, and once again it will be available for free download. For fans who would like more than just the mp3, though, they can spend $40,000 on a remixed album made entirely of cat sounds (there is now a Kickstarter campaign trying to make this happen), or even a “Retirement Plan Package,” in which Run The Jewels retire from music and only make one song a year. For you. The price of that package is $10,000,000. Each package also comes with a disclaimer that “Run The Jewels reserves the right to take your money and not fulfill any of its obligations as outlined in any package priced at 35k or more.” While you think about all the possibilities of what could happen if you bought the “Super Duper Collectors Deluxe” or the “We Are Gordon Ramsey Package,” check out their new single “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry.” It’s good.

 

Leonard Cohen — “Slow”

To celebrate his 80th birthday, Leonard Cohen decided to release a 13th studio album, titled Popular Problems. Reviews of the album have said things like “vintage Cohen” and “nothing feels laboured,” and while both these things are true, this isn’t just another album by one of Canada’s greatest artists. Cohen, like Canada itself, has had his ups and downs. There are times when he has been the best, recognized the world over, and then there have been times in his career where he was all but forgotten about. For all the classics he has made, he has put out an equal amount of songs you would probably want to skip over. It is all this that has brought him through 80 years of life with enough interest and questions to release an album that should be celebrated and not absentmindedly given a number rating. When he dies, and it will happen some day, radios and magazines and websites are going to honour him, but I think we should recognize the influence while we still can. “It’s not because I’m old, it’s not the life I’ve led. I’ve always liked it slow, that’s what my momma said,” he sings on the albums opening track, “Slow.” Take your time, Mr. Cohen. Take your time.

 

alt-J — “Nara”

Just like with alt-J’s debut album, which apparently took five years to make, their second album has a lot of back-story. How would the band follow up the success of the Mercury Prize-winning An Awesome Wave and how would they sound after the departure of their bass player, Gwil Sainsbury? While alt-J for the most part will always sound the same, This Is All Yours is a different album than their debut. One of the standout tracks on the record is “Nara,” which slowly builds from the previous song, “Arrival in Nara.” Starting off soft and slow, “Nara” features the harmonies, musical arrangements and song structures that define the band, but there is a level of unfamiliarity in it. The pianos pluck instead of hum and foreboding horns make the track feel darker than anything on An Awesome Wave, even if it isn’t. alt-J have built upon the music of their first album and seem more confident in what they present.

 

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