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  1. #1
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    The new DJ Shadow is actually pretty good... My Pathetic Age

    I encourage debate, argument and general harsh disagreements on this IMO so take that for what it is worth as you read on...

    Overall, I like DJ Shadow. Especially his DJ credits and his older productions. Yet his newer albums have been shit. I don't know what happened to create this shit music period, but I think he got a little too deep for everyone including himself. In a polite nutshell, his last 3-4 albums have been consistently getting worse.

    This one is finally better. At least good enough to warrant this topic.

    I was EXTREMELY reluctant to even listen to this because I didn't want my opinion of his production to get worse than it already was. But it seems he rediscovered something with this album that he lost a while back. Evidently he got the hunger back and he absolutely masters the mixing console throughout. He drops thanks to a lot of great engineers, producers, and collaborators but bottom line, this is finally a DJ Shadow trip worth taking.

    I'll keep this short and sweet because you are going to make up your own mind about this as you tend to do.



    Prerequisite, don't be the girl on this cover and be all distracted by your phone, or listening on some cheap PC speakers while in your office, turn everything off and listen to this from start to finish and then you'll actually grasp all the nuances on this.

    If you cannot turn off your phone for the duration of an album than you are literally the point of this album and you won't like it. Remember the you that used to listen to records without doing 5 other things simultaneously on your phone? Go back to that old you for one hour and thank me later.

    Don't scan thru the weird parts because you don't like a sound he made. Find the time and be in the proper mood to listen to this uninterrupted and willing to dismiss all the prejudice you already have against this guy. Surprisingly, it's really not hard to be open minded to this album once it actually starts.


    Long story short... (too late) I'll rate this from 1 to 5 per disc and add it up to the final rating since it's really 2 albums in one)

    Disc 1 (Instrumental only) 5/5
    No words (except a few vocal samples) just beats... Yes it's out there, but honestly if I could make beats like this I would probably never leave my house. I'd just sit around making beats all day. Maybe I'd leave to get food, beer, more records and to pick up my paycheck but I would just fucking make these beats all day every day.

    If I rated this out of a 10 star scale, I would give it a 9 because I don't give anything a 10/10, but what I don't like about it is squashed by what I love about it and I'm rating it out of 5/5 like the discogs scale so the needle moves in his favor.

    Disc 2 (Vocals (rap/singing) 3/5
    Not nearly as good as his instrumental disc but what is good is pretty good. I personally think the smaller names on this are way better than De La Soul, the Wu Tang collab, Pharoahe Monch was not bad but not great either. The Run the Jewels track I could live without although surprisingly that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. "C.O.N.F.O.R.M" with Gift of Gab, Lateef and Infamous Taz was an accurate assessment of the phone zombies we have all become but perhaps because my phone made me ADD I get tired of it fairly quickly.

    But the 15 year old kid can rap (Stro) and all the other rappers and singers I am unfamiliar with basically put the veterans aforementioned to shame. Shadow seemed to shine on their tracks as well. Overall, this "vocal suite" is not bad at all, what's good is really good and what's bad is only "meh"...

    So while the vocal disc was not as nice I'll add those 2 discs up to a solid 8/10.

    That said, I would buy this for the instrumental disc alone even if I hated the second record. I realize it's not straight boom bap or the old Endroducing simple beats everyone seems to gravitate towards, so I know it won't be everyone's cup of tea. Some of you will hate it I'm sure because it's the exact opposite of 90s beats. Still they are technically banging on all 8 cylinders and these beats aren't nearly as pretentious and they are not the "look what I can do" beats that were on his his last few albums.

    So sound off (If you actually listened, no prejudgement, no judging based on a few singles) I say that because I am guilty of coming in with that attitude and leaving pleasantly surprised and humble.

    What's your thoughts? Agree? Disagree?
    Last edited by rchecka; 21-11-19 at 01:30 AM. Reason: gramma

  2. #2
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    heard the Wu track. Decent enough as far as those things go I guess but can also be filed under the other couple hundred Wu tracks from the last few years that don't really warrant repeated plays.

    Phones/Social Media Are Bad isn't exactly a cutting edge observation though is it? Is the whole album based on that concept?

  3. #3
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    You got me interested. I ll check it.

    Recently I checked the outsider album with lots of features and thought it was horrible, so seeing the new one was half instrumental half features got me worried a bit.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadout View Post
    You got me interested. I ll check it.

    Recently I checked the outsider album with lots of features and thought it was horrible, so seeing the new one was half instrumental half features got me worried a bit.
    I hear that. By the way I should probably clarify, the instrumental disc is not the instrumental versions of the rap disc, they are totally different songs unrelated to the rap disc.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by step one View Post
    Phones/Social Media Are Bad isn't exactly a cutting edge observation though is it? Is the whole album based on that concept?
    Surprisingly not at all, only "C.O.N.F.O.R.M" with Gift of Gab, Lateef and Infamous Taz actually deals directly with that point. The last song, the title track "My Pathetic Age" I think very loosely touches on the "mindfullness" concept but it's more abstract and not nearly as direct.

    Incidentally, The reason I said to shut off your phone to listen is something I have learned makes albums this thick with so many different things going on easier to fully absorb. There's a few albums worthy of the phone shut off listen, this is one of them. I try to do it more often nowadays since I get easily distracted by bullshit pop ups dragging me away from where I wanna be mentally. I'm sure I'll still hear a few things I didn't notice on the first listen with the second and third listens as there is so many well played very subtle sounds.
    Last edited by rchecka; 20-11-19 at 11:54 PM.

  6. #6
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    so I listened to the album on streaming this morning and it's not to my liking.
    first I think it's not coherent, too eclectic, name it how you want but titles like jugganauts, firestorm and our pathetic age have nothing in common.
    when i went from jugganauts to firestorm i didn't really understood what happened.
    I liked the 3rd part of the rosie song and then the following intrumentals which to me had more soul than what's in the begining of the record. unfortunately we are always alone which i liked is not on the LP.

    for the vocal part the Nas / Pharoahe feat is meh. to me they dont go well on that type of beat. I liked the de la track and for the whole vocal part overall it's ok but nothing i'd like to buy and play several times.
    as for the title track i'm not sure how to descirbed it seems clalibrated for radio play with the singing etc. that's not for me as well.

    so I'll pass on copping this one but i'm not the biggest shadow fan anyway

  7. #7
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    Interesting, I didn't know there was a non LP track.

    Quote Originally Posted by shadout View Post
    first I think it's not coherent, too eclectic...
    That's my overall thoughts of his last 3-4 albums, they are like a stew of leftovers that don't mix well. However, I respectfully disagree with that on this album, I thought it was more cohesive.

    I'm kind of surprised you didn't like the song Juggernaut, that song was one of my favorites on the album. It was my kind of moody, heavy and dark. But to each his own, of course. To that point I might be one of the only people who doesn't like the De La song, I thought it was fairly predictable for them and rather uninspiring. But I agree completely with the track "Our Pathetic Age" being the oddball "radio" sing-songy, emo track that seemed out of place. Putting that song at the very end was the only place to put it as it didn't fit elsewhere despite it being the title track. Frankly I don't like any of his songs where he has a singer. I also agree with your Pharoahe / Nas "meh" assessment. The beat didn't really line up with their style.

    What did you think of that Stro track?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rchecka View Post
    I hear that. By the way I should probably clarify, the instrumental disc is not the instrumental versions of the rap disc, they are totally different songs unrelated to the rap disc.
    There's a 3LP pressing with the third disc having 6 of the inst versions https://www.discogs.com/DJ-Shadow-Ou...lease/14411586

  9. #9
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    its a shame that the extended version of Taxin' with Dave East and Loyle Carner isn't on the vinyl, as i thought that was one of the best tracks.

    having said that, i don't think i'll be buying the wax for this one anyway, as it didn't grab me enough to convince me to part with my loot.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cro View Post
    There's a 3LP pressing with the third disc having 6 of the inst versions https://www.discogs.com/DJ-Shadow-Ou...lease/14411586
    Damnit, I should have bought that instead! Now I see there are multiple versions of this album in various cover variations, I do not get why they do this.

    This reminds me of when Shadow dropped his "The Hard Sell - Live at the Hollywood Bowl" with Cut Chemist CD years ago and it was touted as being very limited edition so I jumped on it early because I did not want to miss out. So when it sold out quickly I felt relieved. Less than a month later he dropped a "The Hard Sell (Encore Edition)" which was less limited, cheaper, and it included bonus tracks. I remember thinking it was a nut punch move to the fans who pre-ordered ahead of everyone else.

 

 

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