By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
The gist: "Behind every fourth-rate Jay-Z lies a good woman." But if you feel like reading deeper into the credits here, it's more subtextual, i.e. "behind every fourth-rate Jay-Z's Rap&B-chart hit lies a singer-songwriter sensation people actually care about, plus Timbaland in half-asleep mode."
Since when is this Jenny Lewis-fronted rock group in the business of churning out soft-focus, late-'80s/early-'90s R&B cotton candy? The comforting glow the song emits is totally pacifying, but, like, I'm still trying to forget junior high, you know?
In recent years, rap heavyweights have talked up the likes of Adam Levine, John Mayer, and Coldplay's Chris Martin as purveyors of some sort of timeless, soulful pop purity or whatever, but this irresistibly sinuous, sensitive plea to some special girl —2007's most memorable "for the ladies" jam—kind of blows all of those dudes away, no?
For the most part,
Trees Outside the Academy makes being underground rock's graying, king-making archduke sound a lot less exciting than Psychic Hearts did way back in 1995, when Sonic Youth headlined Lollapalooza. For Witches, at least, Mr. Kim Gordon hits us off in goofy 'n' spirited, verse-chorus-verse "punk" fashion and seems to be actually enjoying himself; confused what he's on about, but I sure hope I don't qualify as a "language meanie." Do I?
"It's got to be 'cause I'm seasoned, haters give me them salty looks/Lawry's." Mr. West, you so crazy! Love the jubilant "PYT"-sampling beat and that auto-tuned-to-Hades T-Pain hook, but this song's yet another demonstration of why Graduation is such a disappointment: You lazily skimp on your trademark dorked-out verses in favor of too much chorus repetition and production screen-time.