Every month, Andrew Winistorfer, Vinyl Me, Please’s assistant editor of content, gets handed the keys to the blog and sounds off on music things he thinks are important independent of Vinyl Me, Please’s ongoing music coverage. This is Storf Sounds Off. He’s the man now, blog.
1. There is not a single male performer that makes me feel as good about being a dude as Beyoncé makes women feel as good about being women. So I’m not going to write anything here except that “Formation” is the best song of the year so far, and you should read any number of women of color writing the last week about the importance of this song and Beyoncé.
2. I’m betting the overlap between people who like Lady Antebellum and people who are reading this column on a vinyl blog is virtually none. And I certainly never expected to be writing about the debut solo album from one of the dudes in that group—which I generally don’t like, if I’m being honest—but here we are. Charles Kelley’s debut LP, The Driver, is one of this young year’s finest LPs, a mixture of country, rock and down south charm. A loose concept album about life on the road, The Driver has anthems for days, from the title track to “The Only One Who Gets Me,” to “Leaving Nashville.”
I haven’t even gotten to the fact that Stevie Nicks is on this thing. She is. She comes out of the mist like a dream to add a haunted, wispy element to “Southern Accents,” the LP’s finest moment. The only new Stevie Nicks music we’ll probably get in 2016 is on this, so get familiar.
3. I’m not sure if Young Thug and Future are actually fighting or whatever, but I know that having to pick between the two is basically impossible at this point. Future’s got Thugger beaten on volume and quality of albums-- Future’s winning streak on mixtapes and albums is like 10 in a row at this point—but so far this year, Thug has two songs that are better than the best songs on Future’s recent tapes. The first is “Hercules,” a song that has altered how I will say that name forever, and “F Cancer,” an ode to Lil Boosie. Both songs are madcap deconstructions of language, and so full of the life that the best Thugga songs brim with. Here’s the video for “F Cancer,” which is perfect.
4. Look, I know this is supposed to be music related, but as that intro (that I wrote) up there says, this is my blog right now: Last week, Daniel Bryan, aka the best wrestler of the 2010s, retired from wrestling after two years spent injured dealing with concussion and neck injuries. For two years wrestling fans fantasy-booked his return, and wondered aloud if WWE wasn’t clearing him to perform because he was too popular while simultaneously being injury prone and not the typical WWE champion in the looks department. After some tests around the Royal Rumble, Bryan realized that the concussion issue he has is more than just a small issue—he’s had around 50, he thinks—and might prevent him from doing stuff like having a family if he continues. So he gave the below heartfelt speech on Monday Night Raw and I teared up. It’s hard to see someone who is 34 having to give up his dreams. Long live Daniel Bryan.
5. The new Coen Brothers film, Hail, Caesar! is not their best; but then again, what can live up to their best? It’s a solid farce, and maybe their most purely funny movie since The Big Lebowski, even if it’s loose and none of the stories really come together. But that’s not why I bring it up: with the exception of Paul Thomas Anderson, there are no directors who pay such great care with the music that is in their movies than the Cohen Brothers. From Big Lebowski, to O Brother, Where Art Thou, to the modern masterpiece Inside Llewyn Davis, and now to Hail, Caeaser!, they’ve got the best scores and soundtracks. The soundtrack for Caesar is below, and pay special attention to the flames Channing Tatum joint about being a sailor.
Andrew Winistorfer is VMP’s Classics & Country Director, and a writer and editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection and The Best Record Stores In The United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 20 VMP releases, and co-produced the VMP Anthologies The Story of Philadelphia International Records, The Story of Quincy Jones, The Story of Impulse and the VMP Classics release of Nat Turner Rebellion's Laugh to Keep From Crying, and executive produced the VMP Anthology The Story of Vanguard. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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