By The Time I Get To Phoenix (studio album) by Injury Reserve
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Injury Reserve bestography
The best album by Injury Reserve is Floss which is ranked number 6005 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 212.
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By The Time I Get To Phoenix track list
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By The Time I Get To Phoenix ratings
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Showing latest 5 ratings for this album. | Show all 55 ratings for this album.
|Rating||Date updated||Member||Album ratings||Avg. album rating|
|1 hour ago||siripii||178||77/100|
|2 hours ago||LosWochos||27,383||75/100|
|19 hours ago||replacementlevel||4,923||72/100|
|30 hours ago||Purplepash||3,377||75/100|
|45 hours ago||pythonista275||27||90/100|
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This album is rated in the top 2% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 80.3/100, a mean average of 81.1/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 81.7/100. The standard deviation for this album is 14.6.
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Hip hop is getting weird....
This is some of the most sonically dense and thought-provoking music I have heard in some time. Its going to take a long time to truly unpack everything that's going on within this body of work, but on my first three listens I am blown away by it. Easily an AOTY contender, and I don't think people are even truly grasping the grave nature of this project yet.
I've never heard anything like this
(Dense, knotty, complex, scatter-brained, grief-filled, lost, anguished, layered Experimental Hip Hop record with lots of noisy blasts of strange random beats, glitching disorientation, fabulous and varied vocal performances and just generally a frightening and inspired and inspiring new musical realm in album form. Give it 2 or 3 spins before writing it off.)
My prior experience with really experimental or unorthodox hip hop was very limited. I love Atrocity Exhibition, enjoy some Death Grips and clipping and Dalek, never could get into Some Rap Songs or Lil Ugly Main or Coin Locker Kid. And I suppose I did also really like that Moor Mother + Billy Woods album last year…. The point is, I am not familiar with this genre, this sort of amorphous, boundary-pushing, strange, experimental side of hip hop. 90% of my favorites in the genre are from the mid 90s. Needless to say, this doesn’t bear any resemblance to Liquid Swords.
On first listen I was confused. I thought the album was equal parts dense/hard to follow as well as beautiful/intriguing/weirdly addictive. After I heard it once and was sort of dumb struck, I felt a compulsion to push play and try again to unravel what the fuck this is. Now, after 3 full listens and the 4th in progress, I am getting more and more familiar with it without losing that wonder at the density of the noises and elements and soundscapes created.
There are parts of this album that are sad and beautiful (“Knees”, “Top Picks for You, “Postpostpartum”). There are frightening and mentally ravaged moments (“Outside”, “Footwork in a Forest Fire”, “Wild Wild West”). There are glitchy, seemingly random noisy bits (“Superman That”, Ground Zero”) and there are even a couple honest-to-goodness songs that I can follow along with in almost traditional music listening ways (again, “Knees”). And perhaps most importantly, there aren’t clear distinctions between these sounds and emotions. Within one song there is a mixing and melding and an almost infinite variety of potential emotional responses. As a cohesive album, this succeeds in never fully showing or making clear what is the appropriate take-away from the track, whatever track you are hearing at the moment.
By The Time I Get To Phoenix album is a journey, a fucked up, lost, aimless voyage through some grimy and miserable world. I keep hearing in comments from fans of IR that this album is deeply rooted in grief and loss. And that would make sense considering the death of founding member of the group Stepa J. Groggs in June of last year. However, either I just haven’t fully unpacked the lyricism here or perhaps its people projecting the emotions onto the album that aren’t fully or exclusively here. There are no on-the-nose and obvious odes or ballads or laments clearly about the loss of Groggs. There IS a distinct hazy, disorienting, vibe throughout this whole project. It feels like the mental state of the members of Injury Reserve are constantly on the edge of fully splintering and breaking apart. This head space is expressed throughout here masterfully. It feels uncomfortable being in these guys’ heads and they fully flesh out the beats and sonic spaces so that you are thrown fully into this state-of-mind. Fabulous and, yes I’ll say it, genius brilliant amazing production now that I have gotten used to it.
And listening now to the closing track “Bye Storm” and I am getting emotional. It feels like the slight twinkle of light through the oppressive smoky sky, with that weird and exultant guitar sound. This closer along with the pained grief and apathy of the penultimate track “Knees”, make for a perfect and all-time classic closer to this album. Okay, maybe that is a bit hyperbolic. It is just a truly moving way to cap off this experimental and crushing album is what I’ll say.
The production of Parker Corey is going to get most of the ink and praise, understandably. As, despite beats of sounds like this being around in Hip Hop for 15 years, somehow he took the level of detail and wooziness and expansiveness and just expanded it exponentially. Perhaps this isn’t a completely brand new never been remotely heard sound (nothing like that ever drops and comes out of the blue) – but it is, to these admittedly not fully educated ears, a new bar set in terms of detail and expansiveness and layered noisy experimentation.
Moving to the vocal performances here, they are similarly impressive. Schizophrenic, sad and lost, slurred and drunken and in pain, cutting and fully embodying the words and living in the soundscapes. Especially the varied vocal sounds in “SS San Francisco (feat. Zelooperz)”. The deep grumbling vocal and the weird high-pitched singing set the table for some playful, sardonic, griefy bars. But its not just here, wherever the rap verses come in (and that is strangely rare, this seems to be an album where the rapping is somewhat sparse and instead there are long stretches of instrumental table-setting before Ritchie with a T comes in with the perfect vocal intonation and flow to complement the beat and sinic space.
Random, fly-by thoughts:
-The Yeezus-esque screams on “Footwork in a Forest Fire” is awesome and really the whole track and every phase of it is cool, but for some reason those screams got me.
-Smoke Don’t Clear” is, as of now, one of the few tracks here that I don’t fully like. But I will say it works well in the context of the album more than its own noisy mess of a thing.
-The way “Top Picks for You” with that dramatic melody on that… whatever sound that is… with the whispery singing and the sadness of the verses, its incredible. The whole song is great. One of my faves.
-“Knees” was weird and fabulous in isolation as a single, but it feels so much deeper and more moving and beautiful within the context of the LP. One of the best tracks here, or perhaps the best.
In closing, I am listening a 5th time, and it grows and grows on me. This is a dense and brilliant experimental and emotionally gripping and profound album. I recommend a couple listens or 3 before making final judgement. I had a similar arc with Atrocity Exhibition, where I was very VERY disoriented and kind of unimpressed on first listens and then over time I understood its dense complicated and knotty brilliance with further listens. Recommend the same for this.
Note: This is an album that I am sure I am only scratching the surface with. I hope I listen enough to unravel it more. This comment ain't final. This 5th listen is making me hear other details and that is just really exciting.
Blew me away on the first listen. Knees is just beautiful. The whole album is beautiful. One of the top 3 albums of 2021 so far.
This has really blown me away and has clicked in a way no Injury Reserve release has ever really done before. Beautiful stuff.
Takes a few listens to get into it, but then it hits DEEP
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