Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The musician who knows his limits

There's a few things I appreciate greatly: the short book that doesn't go on longer than it has to ("Hiroshima" being a great example of a book that hits one with emotional impact without bursting the 200 page mark), food that stays simple and isn't the result of chefs getting weird and experimental (no vegetarian burritos with broccoli in them, please) and musicians that put their work into one or two masterpieces, instead of producing dozens of albums of which there are a handful of classics and mostly a lot of junk.

A few examples come to mind to prove this rule. The first is Rob Dougan's album "Furious Angels." Released in 2003, this album contains work of a higher quality than most musicians will reach after a decades-long career. It contained songs made years before such as "Clubbed to Death," which had been released four years before on the 1999 soundtrack to "The Matrix." There's not one example of filler and every single song hits you as sincere and soulful.



On the other side of the coin, Nasir "Nas" Jones, arguably the greatest rapper of all time, has released eight albums in his career, with a ninth one slated for release this year. He's appeared on countless songs by other rappers, recorded freestyles for mixtapes and compilations, but none of those songs match up to the near flawless "Illmatic," his 1994 debut. Unlike Dougan, Nas seems to have released, officially and unofficially, nearly everything that he has finished recording, instead of just the stuff that is worthy of his reputation.

Hopefully, Nas' next album can be included with "Illmatic" as an album of quality material, and if Rob Dougan puts out another album, it is only the best of his work.
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