"Artificial Snow (Notown Version)"

So this is holiday-season dolor masquerading as svengeli-pop throb, or vice versa, or something: a truncated Institutionalized sanded free of angst, edge, and nic-fit tantrums, so all that's left is an almost-companionable psychic ache that never quite abates. The opening scene of Kill Bill 3 is gonna be so killer!


"Burn It Down"

What's possessed this So Cal project to flood YouTube with inane spaceman videos? I'd blame it on Aaron Brunos A.D.D., but that's a quip from a different Back from Earth EP agit-prop/pop banger; this one is essentially Jerry Lee Lewis's "Great Balls of Fire," Muse's "Uprising," and Nine Inch Nails' "March of the Pigs" rolled into a single flaming Epcot Center-sized tumbleweed with a little Tutti Fruiti and Devo thrown in for good measure. Bitchin', barrelin' BPMs, bruv.

Dope Body

"Ready 2 Die"

This is how the world ends: not with a bang, but with a piercing, high-frequency synth that smirks as it dances a merry, deafening jitterbug.

Tape Deck Mountain

"P.I. Somehow"

I doubt that "P.I." would have cut it as reconciliatory-scene interlude music on Hunter, mostly because Hunter wasn't really about scenes like that; Hunter was about capital-J justice, while "P.I." is about collocating gossamer taffy chords and unambiguous stalk-talk.

Kanye West feat. Talib Kweli & Consequence
"Chain Heavy"

Though "I am the day Ice Cube met Michael Jackson" is disingenuous, laughable hyperbole at this point, the world stands in awe of the concept of Don Cheadle Time. Elsewhere, Talib Kweli looks lame grabbing his nut-sack and Consequence fumbles a shot at topping his own paddy-wack star turn on 2005's "Gone" over Q-Tip's whistling sci-fi keyb zone-out. Yet for all that, I will argue to my dying breath that "Chain Heavy" should occupy the "So Appalled" slot on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.