Chrome Dreams II
You’re better off pretending the first two songs - "Beautiful Bluebird" and "Boxcar" - don't exist and heading straight for the album's main draw: "Ordinary People." The much-hyped (as in "old dudes on Neil Young mailing lists" hype), previously unreleased, 18-minute track is at least 16 minutes of awesome, even with the saxophone solo and Lee Iacocca reference, both about 15 years past necessary. The following seven songs range from nearly tolerable ("Dirty Old Man") to freaking sweet ("Ever After" and the excellent "No Hidden Path") with most closer to the sweet side.
You can rightfully blame crack for all kinds of problems, but it isn’t fair to hold it responsible for the fact that Shotter’s Nation kinda sucks. Hell, this lazy, derivative sophomore effort probably would have been the Libertines’ third or fourth album if Peter Doherty laid off the pipe. The pattern of other hot English bands suggests that the onetime awesome Libertines probably only had one great album and one decent one in them anyway. Look at the evidence: Stone Roses, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys (probably). Maybe Doherty saw it coming and established a nice freak-show personality crisis to keep our attention after his music stopped being interesting. If so, it’s worked. We’re actually talking about a lackluster garage band named Babyshambles, for god’s sake.
Why hasn’t co-MC Big Pooh changed his god-awful name yet? Until he does, Little Brother’s songs will contain the unintentional toilet humor of phrases like “Pooh be spreadin’ out” and “Pooh be runnin’.” But runny Pooh or not, album opener “Sirens” kicks ass and though 9th Wonder’s sole production credit (“Breakin’ My Heart”) is a highlight for sure, the slew of producers replacing him give Getback a variety and excitement not present in its predecessor, the decent but dull Minstrel Show. LB’s lyrics often remain overly simplistic, and a few songs are better left unplayed, but minus the constraints of their ex-full-time producer, the remaining two members of Little Brother are taking chances and having fun doing it. •