Music Discussion #19: A Critical Re-evaluation

Let’s discuss any and all music here. You’ve got a new artist who’s rocking your boat that you want to talk about? Post a video! Found out about that unearthed Coltrane album that has the jazz freak in you losing your mind? Lay it out for us! Do you have a theory about what your favorite band might do for their next album? Let’s hear it! Anything and everything music-related goes here, but do please remember to also pay attention to the more niche threads; if your post would either fit better or equally well in one of them, please post it there as well. I absolutely do not want to steal traffic from those threads.

Prompt for this week: What is a lesser-loved album that you rate highly? What in particular do you like about it? What makes you think it is worthy of a critical reappraisal? Do you often recommend it to people? Is it by an artist you love and/or whose other work you’re largely familiar with – and if so, how does it hold up in comparison?

This discussion idea came about two days ago, after I read and commented on the latest article in A Winged Potato’s ongoing series of Artist Spotlights about the Wu-Tang Clan. I came to the defense of The W (the third album by the group) after AWP gave it a lukewarm review, as I happen to rate it as one of their best group albums (second only to their classic debut). I won’t go into more detail here, but I highly suggest anyone with even the slightest interest in anything Wu-Tang to check out the article (and the five that proceeded it) as AWP knows his stuff and obviously puts a lot of work into each one.

There is a music video for this song, but I chose not to post it as it features a censored single edit, which not only makes Swiss cheese of some lines but also uses an alternate mix which eliminates my favorite part of the song. At around the 2:30 mark on the album version (posted above) the beat changes almost entirely; then over the remaining minute-and-a-half, a certain background noise prevalent during the first two-and-a-half minutes of the song is gradually reintroduced, unifying the two halves of the song. I find this much more interesting than the version in the music video, which uses the same beat for the duration of the song. The only thing wrong with “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)” is the title, which does nothing but remind listeners of one of the group’s best tracks and ensure that it will be compared unfavorably to the original.

By the way, the header image this week was intended as a joke – that album is inexcusable (though if anyone feels like making an impassioned defense of The Return of Bruno, I will definitely read it).