i've lived!
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


My piece on the top songs of 2003 is finally online, and I can't believe (argh) that I left out Jay-Z's "99 Problems."

Kanye West - "My Way". A marvellous cut from Kanye West's upcoming LP, rich with a particularly familiar sample (accelerated, of course), laced with strings, but skipping with a good-natured beat: hand-claps, oohs, a feeling of may-be-so, so-be-it. The music is light, full of an idealized, childhood innocence, but then - things are really heavier than that, sadly. Much heavier.

Nena - "99 Luftballons". This is here because Julian thinks it should be. He (rightly) believes it's a song everyone should know, and really, most of you probably do. It's 80s pop at its best, the synthy guitars dancing about in tight pants, zinging and zagging as the drums jump around. The german version of the song is peppier than the english translation: I couldn't care less what Nena is saying, so long as she keeps doing it, singing out that chorus with a big-eyed-but-sultry smile.

Posted by Sean at January 12, 2004 1:03 AM

You really should read the NYTIMES current article on hip hop, entitled "Rappers Sweeten the Image and Hold the Bling Bling" or, as I like to call it, "Official Notice: The Next Motherfucker Who Publishes the Phrase 'Bling Bling' In the NYT, Headline or Not, Is Getting Shot in the Fucking Head With My .44 Water Pistol; Y'Heard Me?".

Choice quotes:

"Ja Rule is probably being purchased more in a mall in Virginia than on 125th Street"
(Yo son, Ja is gonna KILL Nelson George, son.)

"In a line from his new song "What More Can I Say," Jay-Z, who recently said he was retiring from rap, says: 'I don't wear jerseys/I'm 30 plus/gimmie a crisp pair of jeans" and "button-ups.' Button-up is slang for an oxford shirt. "
(Thank god, I thought he meant Pampers.)

"50 Cent... is rarely seen without a snug-fitting tank top, his well-glistened muscles always on display. 'I love you like a fat kid loves cake,' he says to a paramour who stands by him while he is in prison."
("Well-glistened muscles?" "Paramour"? "Editor"?)

"Jay-Z is in a position of power, so he can affect change," she said. "He can make dressing up cool."
("Jay Z makes dressing up COOL"!)

Whoooo. Boy. The mixtape review that accompanies this is a bit better, but not by much. And there's this classy phrase:

"Most are also available online ? you can try www.nycphatmixtapes.com or www.bestmixtapes.com ? but where's the fun in that?)"

Yeah, what's the fun in going online? Gwuh?

Listen, new rule: if you don't listen to hip hop recreationally, you are no longer allowed to write about it. Deal? Deal.

Posted by forksclovetofu at January 12, 2004 7:20 PM

dear god, if the album is as consistent as this one track (which, by the way, is a brilliant) we're all in for something deadly and beautiful.

Posted by kevin at January 13, 2004 9:25 AM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
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Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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