Treading The Missed Mondays: Eating Ritz Crackers with George Hamilton

DREARY MONDAY HERALDING, SLOWLY FAILING BLOOD PUMPS!

It’s been a hot minute since I really wanted to sit down and give you guys just a whole album back to front, but that’s just the dick of tipburg, because today I will be digging into a whole album for me, and a whole album for you.

Now, to release any pressure I’m going to start with the album for the masses. I’ve mentioned this album in a previous TTM due to it’s ability to both make me ungulate and droppeth mine booty. Other than Michael Trapson, this boy is doing the best to keep people in the running for that King of Pop crown, Mr. Bruno Mars with his new album “24k Magic” which begins (as most presumptuous albums do) with the title track.

TRACK1: 24K MAGIC

With production from none other than Mr. Talkbox AKA Byron Chambers who you may not know specifically, but he is 99% of the vocalizer backings you hear in modern R&B, so that’s a fun fact. Right out the gate you can tell by the bright, infectious tone of the synth and the low rumble of thoughtfully placed bass that this Bruno decided to dip a little more than his big toe into the 187 Westcoast rap sound. If this album had 15-20 more vinyl scratches, you would think it was Dr. Dre himself on the rack. 24k Magic as a stand-alone track doesn’t overvamp or overplay itself, it has cresendo’s when it should, and allows the “less is more” aesthetic to shine heavily whilst Bruno takes a frontseat to everything, because this song is 100% vocals and groove. I’m gonna pull the most important lines from each of these as well, which I will credit 24K Magic itself with this gem:

Wearing Cuban links,
Designer minks,
Inglewood’s finest shoes. (whoop, whoop)
Don’t look too hard might hurt ya’self,
Known to give the color red the blues.

TRACK2: CHUNKY.

If “For The Ladies” had a sound, “Chunky” would definitely roll it’s thiiiiiick romper-wearing self right into that slot. Assuredly on it’s way to being a chick-night banger at every Tuesday night bar crawl. The continuity of some of the best written synth bars continues right into the second track with full force, and while not a “love song” persay, it’s nearly anthemic for today’s hook-up culture youth.

If you ain’t here to party take your ass back home.
If you getting naughty, baby here’s my phone.
Slide with your boy to the bar.
Slide with your boy to the car.
I’ve been searching everywhere and now here you are.

TRACK3: PERM

AH HAAAAAAAA! Probably my personal favorite out of the whole she-bang. Perm contains one of my least favorite things in music, but actually manages to use it correctly and effectively; Call-back vocals. These are correctly impliment by using them to do “call out” the ridiculous initial statements from Bruno, as if the band knows better and isn’t just gonna let him play Playboy. Beautiful funk guitar and a hauling brass section cuts in intermittenly to remind you that the album is congruent all the way through.

Come on baby, I love you!
(No you don’t)
You never know, I might though.
Can’t say I won’t, AH!
There’s that smile I’m looking for,
Was that so hard?
If you ever need to smile again girl, take my card.

TRACK4: THAT’S WHAT I LIKE.

Now, I’m not one for sexy-talk, but when someone sings that they’re gonna throw down a fresh new Cadi’, jewelry, AND STRAWBERRY CHAMPAGNE ON ICE?! Well, Bruno, you sure know the way to this girl’s heart. Though more of a peacock of his game, fame, and fortune, when something is well produced and you can sing like B, it doesn’t take much to make something simple a banger. Bruno stated that he knew this would be the first hit after he tested it the same way he tested all the others, by driving through town listening to it with all the ambient outside city noise, the way people were going to hear it.

Cool jewel be shining so bright,
Strawberry champagne on ice.
Lucky for you, that’s what I like, that’s what I like.
Lucky for you, that’s what I like, that’s what I like.
Sex by the fire at night,
Silk sheets and diamonds, all white.
Lucky for you, that’s what I like, that’s what I like.
Lucky for you, that’s what I like, that’s what I like.

TRACK5: VERSACE ON THE FLOOR

For whatever reason I imagine Bruno Mars doing all the Disney themes in his late 50’s, but until then he’ll just be on the ground floor of “Slaying It Daily”, especially with the sensuous beast that is track 5. It reminds me of every 90’s movie where two 17 year-old start to touch and share their first kiss and the camera pans up and away out of the building because obviously they were about to play volleyball which is banned from being played on the silverscreen. Thanks for that Top Gun.


“Get that ball, Goose”.

Girl you know you’re perfect from
Your head down to your heels.
Don’t be confused by my smile,
‘Cause I ain’t ever been more for real, for real.

TRACK6: STRAIGHT UP AND DOWN

And then we reach straight sex. Bruno illudes to the fact that sometimes, the occasion just comes where both parties know what the end game is. You can’t just have two conversations and toss longing gazes down the bar all night to requited smiles and not expect that little flame to keep kicking. And then you’re gonna have some fun that night. Not really a lot of “content” to this song, and it is likely the weakest on the album, but it still musically outdoes the rest of the radio.

Girl, I bet your momma named you “Good-looking​”,
‘Cause you sure look good to me.
My attention, oh, yes, you just took it.
You’re probably the finest thing that I ever seen.
And nobody at the party droppin’ it low like the way that you do.
Got me sayin’, “damn girl, break it down for me”!

TRACK7: CALLING ALL MY LOVELIES

A close second in “gentleness” only to Versace would be this track. I assume anybody who has Halle Barry’s number and can’t get a call back would be in such an emotional state that they could write something like this. Somewhere between, “I only want you” and “I have many side pieces because you’re bad at picking up”, this song does at least show some of the actually range Bruno can stretch too, with a few amazing highs and a beautiful multi-tracked chorus of his stacked voice is honestly impressively well done.

I got too many girls on hold for you to be so bold.
Too many on my team for you to act so mean.
You say you wanna go and have fun, well you ain’t the only one.
If I ring, don’t let it ring too long or I’m gone.

I got Alicia waitin’, Aisha waitin’
All the ‘eesha’s waitin’ on me.
So why you contemplatin’, playa hatin’
If this is how it’s gonna be?

TRACK8: FINESSE

AAWEEEEEHHH, SHIT. The best beat on this whole jammer. Slamming out a beat that would make Kid ‘N Play, Kris Kross, and LL Cool J wonder if somebody took the best parts of all their libraries and jammed ’em into this. Some straight Will Smith background pop-sounds and enough energy to be the theme for the next Space Jam movie, Finesse is about having the bragging rights and knowing it.

I look good today.

Put your pants on backwards and ankle dance this one out to get what I mean.

Ooh, don’t we look good together?
There’s a reason why they watch all night long.
Yeah, know we’ll turn heads forever,
So tonight I’m gonna show you off.
When I’m walkin’ with you,
I watch the whole room change.
Baby, that’s what you do.
No, my baby, don’t play.
Blame it on my confidence.
Oh, blame it on your measurements.
Shut that shit down on sight.
That’s right.

TRACK9: (TO GOOD TO SAY) GOODBYE

And how do you end an album? You say Goodbye. With aspects of bands like Heart, The Beegee’s and a few other disco forefathers, a simple tambourine accompaniment and unchanged grand piano, B really give a definitive statement about the issues with goodbye’s. Second chances seem so few and far between, and it’s not simple to lose your bestfriend when they’ve become so much more than that. You say things like “You’ll never have someone like me again”, or “No one will love you like I do”, BUT THE NUMBER ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT YOU ARE PROBABLY BREAKING UP BECAUSE YOU AREN’T LOOKING FOR SOMEONE TO LOVE YOU LIKE THAT, SO BYE FELICIA.

Tell me why, why can’t we try and start again?
This can’t be how our story ends.
You’re more than my girl, you’re my best friend.
Tell me you remember when,
Oooh, I was your man and you were my girl.
It was you and me against the world.

AND THAT WAS FOR YOU.
GO LISTEN TO IT.
IT’S GOOD.
REALLY.
GUYS.

And this one may be more for me, but I’m sure it will also fall on ears that appreciate it. Know that I do not share this ancient, untouched, and dusty gem lightly. I will openly state that despite MASS criticism from most everyone I show this album to, it remains my absolute numero uno album as far as personal favorites go. Heralding from Chicago, Illinois, I give you the debut album from Cyclone Temple, “I Hate Therefore I Am”.

Swarmed with technical picking patterns, and faaaast thrash riffs, the main criticism I hear is that the vocals don’t appeal to everyone, but in the genre of thrash metal it was pretty uncommon to hear male vocals that weren’t constantly peaking for their high notes, and that is a big reason why I enjoy how Brian Troch’s vocals. This album lyrically is packed to the brim with some of my favorite little things to quote so I’ll lay it all out for you so you can do the same.

TRACK10: WHY

Again, this is how you start an album, you let people know what they’re in for. Check your levels with big hits, single out that driving bass guitar, and speed pick faster than some of the best thrash bands out there. Due to the albums 1991 release, it received nearly no attention under the grunge surge and that fills me with a strange sadness. This track also depicts the struggles of people blaming heavy metal for school shootings and alike, instead of talking to their kids.

I will be what you want me to be,
I will think what you want me to think.
My reason for being only my parents to please.
I’m not the perfect child you made me out to be,
My problems my imperfections you never wanted to see.

Dear Mom and Dad,
I write this letter telling you I am now free. It was your lack of love and attention is what killed me.
So don’t blame some heavy metal record to cover your own neglect.
Your perfect picture turned fatal, portrait not what you’ve come to expect.

TRACK2: SISTER (UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN)

Skank beats and triplets for yeeeears, and then CHUNKY, as Bruno calls it. Songs about close personal loss are usually very powerful in the motif’s the play on, not grasping at cliché’s to fill a chorus, and this one is no different. When you build a song to get one specific thing across, be it an image, idea, point, whatever, you need to do that explicitly. Focus on the relatable aspects of what you’re trying to get people to hear, the hook that will bring them back.

I can’t talk to you no more about my troubled thoughts.
You seem so far away but always in my heart.
No harm can come to thee, I’ve lost you to the dark.
Until we meet again please forget me not.
Sister I’m in pain.

Did your heartbeat pound with each raindrop,
As your blood was washed away.
Why does it take the loss of someone,
To make you value all you do and say?

TRACK3: WORDS ARE JUST WORDS

How fucking relevant, right? No one follows through on their word anymore, or wants to be the person to get up and get things done. You can tell whomever provided the writing credit for these lyrics was HURT by somebody. Hurt rail bad.

Why must I live in fear?
Why must I hurt this way?
Contemplating my every move.
Insecure ’til your dying day.
You inflict the pain,
‘Cause I’m the one that you call friend.
Had enough of your foolish games.
THIS WILL END.
THIS MUST END!

If I had a dime for every time you said you loved me,
I’d be a millionaire.
But if I had a million for every time that you meant it,
I’d be poor as hell!

TRACK4: PUBLIC ENEMY

That’s right, there’s even an anti-governmental track too. Just listen to those Diamond Head-esque guitar squeals. The hard gang vocals in the chorus just make the whole song that much more potent, and they’re FAST. Never slow down ever not once.

Just a man teaching non-violence,
A sign of fear for those who rage free.
WE WANT THE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
WE WANT THE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT.
Just a man who said let freedom ring,
Shed a tear for those who killed me.
WE WANT THE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH.
WE WANT THE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT.

TRACK5: IN GOD WE TRUST

And an anti-religious institution song, and you know how Bear likes when a band covers all the bases. Having in my childhood observed and knowingly understood that the pastor of my parents church was ripping everyone off and buying whatever the fuck he wanted with their “tithes to god” infuriates me still to this day, thusly this song hits a little close to home. I wonder what made these guys feel this way?

Can you feel me,
Touch you, Heal thee.
Almighty dollar gives me strength and power.
In God We Trust.

I am pure I have no faults,
I am a man of truth.
Take these words from this book,
Interpret them for my use.

Burn in hell if you don’t repent,
And repentance has its price.
Remain pure by your money sent,
Turn your wrongs into rights.

TRACK6: I HATE THEREFORE I AM

I love this track as well because it’s content is, again, fantastic. Cutting down the mental boundries instilled in us from infanthood that others can be lesser than us in worth because of their monetary stature or skin colour is the best thing we could do as a society. Imagine if you didn’t hate anyone you saw in your daily shopping trips or retail interactions, or even a homeless people asking you for change, wouldn’t that be wild?

I got told I have a very kind face yesterday, and I attributed it to the fact that I smile A LOT, like almost constantly, but I also think we’re all nuclearly, socially, and (in all honestly) physically doomed just from breathing in what we’ve done to our planet that sometimes I have to smile or. . .well, the lyrics do talking well enough.

We stand by while humanity’s declining,
No respect for fellow mankind.
Sometimes I laugh,
Laugh to keep from crying.
The only time we’re equal’s when we die.

TRACK7: MARCH FOR ME, DIE FOR ME.

Ah, yes. The horrors of war. I can’t imagine being born into a life where I could be conscripted into military service and thrown into a napalm covered hell. Also, ya’ll don’t respect veteran’s enough either. Learn to hold a god damn door. Pull yer pants up. Get off my lawn.

Step by step ‘cross burning sands.
The jungle hears no prayers.
MARCH FOR ME.
DIE FOR ME.
Introduced to virgin eyes,
A hell like none before.

Some will live Some will die
Are you proud soldier now?

TRACK8: BORN TO LOSE

Notably, not a cover, nor a lost Motorhead tune. We are not born to be wage slaves. You can find comfort in a career that doesn’t make you sacrifice the life you want to live, that is the truth. Unfortunately for many it is not a reality. The ties that bind keep us stationary, and stagnant. Family, friends, hometowns, lost loves, and alike litter our paths and break us down and many end up working dead end 9 – 5 jobs where they feel like company property, and certainly not like an individual.

Take a chance and cross the line.
Ignorance breeds hatred and hatred is blind.
The strong take from the weak,
And the wicked destroy the meek,
When you’re born to lose.

TRACK9: SILENCE SO LOUD

Taken from the perspective of a death row prisoner, trapped, alone in his cell with nary a sound but his own thoughts. Innocent with only the hope that someone will find the proof to free him before the witch hunt that put him there slaughters him in court. As a man with no money, alibi, or power, what can he do to change his circumstances.

He can’t even make a phone call.

Dwell on that this week for me.

Lady Justice can you help me?
I am indigent and can’t pay your price.
What about innocent ’til proven guilty?
Or is it reserved for those with money and might?

Is being poor punishable by law?
While the rich plead guilty and go free.
Only in the land of milk and honey,
Can justice be sold from sea to shining! sea.

– BEAR.

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