So, I actually bought a physical CD today. That’s such a rare occasion for me, these days. Like most folks, I mostly buy music via iTunes. Stacy Clark is the only artist I make a point to still buy the hard copy of her new albums, but that’s because I know her personally, and I like getting her autograph on all her albums when I see her perform live. But I saw this in Target this morning, and I picked it up on impulse.
I practically grew up listening to LL’s music. I can still recall that fateful day in Junior High when I went to the record store after school, with my best friend Ralph, to buy LL’s first album (this is way back when albums were still recorded on VINYL) “RADIO”, and then going to Ralph’s house so we could listen to it. #thosewerethedays
Anyway, this CD has 4 extra tracks that are not included on the iTunes version, so that’s a good deal. Now I’m going to through each song, as type this I’m listening to it for the first time, giving my first impressions.
1/BATH SALT: A pretty hardcore club-banger, with LL busting out his classic “I’m Bad” persona. He even has a funny line in it referencing an early song of his where he dissed rapper Ice T for being too old and still trying to rap, acknowledging the irony that now LL is a middle-aged man, still rapping. I dig it.
2/NOT LEAVING YOU TONIGHT featuring Fitz & The Tantrums with Eddie Van Halen: An upbeat love-song, LL is still at his best when he’s talking about how he loves the ladies. I’ve never heard of Fitz & The Tantrums, but they do a good job singing the chorus. And Eddie Van Halen rips a sick guitar solo.
3/NEW LOVE featuring Charlie Wilson: Another song about the ladies, but with a more banging track. Wilson sings the chorus.
4/WE CAME TO PARTY featuring Snoop Dogg and Fatman Scoop: Hardcore banger, with LL once again referencing his age (“oldest man in the club”) and Snoop bring the heat, like he always does but doesn’t overshadow LL.
5/GIVE ME LOVE featuring Seal: The first real rap-ballad of the album, with Seal on the chorus. I was never a huge fan of Seal’s, but his voice really fits in this song. So much so that I almost wish this was a full Seal song, with LL just doing a guest verse.
6/SOMETHING ABOUT YOU (LOVE THE WORLD) featuring Charlie Wilson, Earth Wind & Fire, and Melody Thorton: Another song for the ladies. Sounds like a classic late-70’s/early 80’s R&B song.
7/BARTENDER PLEASE featuring Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins & Travis Barker: An awesome party song, powered by Barker’s drum-beats, with LL, Snoop, and Bootsy sounding like they’re having a great time in the studio.
8/WHADDUP featuring Chuck D, Travis Barker, Tom Morello, and Z-Trip: I loved this song when I first saw LL and Chuck perform it live during the Grammy’s. Sounds like it would fit right in on the Mama Said Knock You Out album.
9/BETWEEN THE SHEETZ featuring Mickey Shiloh: A mid-tempo track with LL once again doing his thing for the ladies. His rap style has a kind of Bone Thugs N Harmony in this one, I like it.
10/CLOSER featuring Monica: This beat is kinda mid-tempo during the verses, then speeds up in the chorus (song by Monica), it’s a good collaboration.
11/LIVE FOR YOU featuring Brad Paisley: A very good mid-tempo love song. LL raps, and Paisley sings the chorus. A much better collaboration than THAT OTHER SONG they did together…
12/WE’RE THE GREATEST featuring Eddie Van Halen: A banging rock track laced with Van Halen’s guitar, while LL boasts about his greatness.
13/WAITING ON YOU featuring Babyface & Noelle Scaggs: Babyfaces’s vocals power the chorus and background, while LL seduces the ladies with his lyrics.
14/JUMP ON IT: Classic LL braggadocio over a banging track.
15/TAKE IT featuring Joe: A mid-tempo joint for the ladies.
16/REMEMBER ME featuring Alicia Meyers: A really fast track, with LL rapping about the state of the world today, even addresses the mass shooting at Newton. It’s a little out of place on this album, but still works.
This album is LL splitting his time between doing the two things he does best, reminding other rappers that he is one of the baddest, and letting the ladies know that he loves them, and it works. Remember, the iTunes version only has the first 12 songs, as does the hard copy for sale via Amazon, while 13-16 are only available on the hard copy for sale at Target. I’d recommend getting that version, to get all the songs. The only downside, really, is that there are some curse words in some of the songs that are blanked out. It’s not that I need to hear cursing, but if they went through the trouble of making this special version for Target, then LL should have just not cursed (or had his collaborators curse) at all, instead of just covering it. Blanking out the words just draws more attention to them, IMO. Anyway, this is still a very good album, much better than LL’s last couple of albums on Def Jam. The bottom line; 28 years later, he’s still got it!
TWO THUMBS UP!