Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Ready on the Firing Line

After the deluge of today's new tracks, Weak Spot, Thug World, Stick Me For My Riches, & Life Changes--I thought I'd make a survey of what we've got so far.

There were 8 tracks previewed to journalists awhile back--& to date we've now heard 7 of them. The only one waiting to leak is Wolves, which has received much hype as a U-God showcase featuring gritty production. Per Ghost, an interesting note comes with the fact that while he appeared on the first three leaked songs, he's yet to show up on any of the other tracks.

It seems safe to assume that Watch Your Mouth will probably not appear on the album, as no recent tracklists feature this song. The word is that sample clearance will keep this track from appearing. Which is a shame, because it's a more-than-solid track, featuring all the remaining members. It seems like most other songs feature about 3 or so members, but this sense could be stemming from the fact that in some cases we are dealing with partial tracks.

The other track that is in doubt given the most recent tracklist is Thug World. This track was previewed at Wu-Tang shows throughout the world, with rough audio versions showing up online several months ago. Today we finally received at least a portion of that song, featuring INS in good form & a classic semi-sensible RZA performance. All I can say is that RZA is at his most appealing when operating in this mode & this track will be missed if it doesn't in fact appear on the final product. Perhaps it will be renamed, as it really feels too good to exclude. The production is from RZA & DJ King Tech.

Take It Back & Weak Spot are similar tracks to Thug World--all dark, excellent productions. I've written about Take It Back in other posts. It is definitely one of the best new tracks we've heard. Weak Spot is just as good--RZA truly shines on this track, on both the beat & the microphone. The beat stabs, though perhaps somewhat less than on Thug World. Raekwon has yet another appearance, yet he has enough energy to augment the track. The best part of this song is the slight beat changes throughout the GZA's verse, which can be enjoyed while the beat slightly adds & drops elements. This will undoubtedly be a highlight of the album.

Stick Me For My Riches is a structurally unorthodox track. Meth is the only rapper on the track so far, per the version we have & all descriptions from the media & the RZA. The song is co-produced with Mathematics. Both the drums & the singing are initially strange choices, but it is of high enough quality, & the production is interesting enough to more than retain the attention of the listener. Meth & the singer play off each other well as the track progresses. It sounds like there will be more track, hopefully featuring rapping, beyond what we have heard to this point. Whether more Meth or another member, either way, this track is also a winner, though fans wanting only straightforward music from the Wu (a strange request) might be put off. Thankfully, the RZA is making music for Wu-Tang, & not reverting to formula.

The Heart Gently Weeps is the unexpected winner of the leaks so far. It works in a way that no other Wu track ever has. Along with Life Changes, the Rainy Days, I Can't Go To Sleep, Tearz type track is doubly covered, but The Heart Gently Weeps is unlike any of the aforementioned songs, even the just as fresh Life Changes, the ODB tribute song which will hopefully feature verses from all members in final form. Perhaps it is the production technique that truly separates The Heart Gently Weeps from the rest of the pack--whatever it is, now that we have a greater sense of the album, hearing roughly half of the tracks that will be on the final product, not much can be said beyond the fact that things are shaping up very nicely for this album. If the product is as consistently good as we've been hearing so far, it's going to be the type of album that sequencing can either really augment or really hinder. Since the RZA is in full control & also in top form, I can't really fathom that the album will be structured poorly.

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