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DJ Shadow – Endtroducing….. (1996)

September 14, 2013

[Album 236/1001]Endtroducingcover

What kind of music do you like?  My stock answer, “I like a bit of everything.”

That response is still true for Endtroducing….. but the emphasis here is on ‘a bit.’

– I like the idea of this record, sampling everything from Metallica to Björk

– I like that tracks like Building Steam with a Grain of Salt would work nicely as the background of an innovative car commercial, with a deep-voiced announcer musing ‘but what if one day the car…didn’t need roads?’

– It is like a collage and that art medium certainly has its place

It’s just that I rarely find myself looking at a collage for 63+ minutes.

Perhaps there’s a part of me that wants to like this more, to be like those trendsetting early adopters that discovered records like this one back in high school.

For the most part, I was reminded of a recent photo I saw: Life’s too short to drink cheap beer.  As the project progresses, I’m realizing that time is finite & it’s okay to not be a huge fan of everything.

I’m happy to let others enjoy this one.

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From → 1990s

11 Comments
  1. Great post and brave of you to say “meh” to what many consider a classic. I have some sympathy with you. I think it’s one of those albums that some people own because they feel they have to. “It’s a classic”, “defined a genre”, etc. Frankly it’s a bloody mess in places. Like you, I enjoy it small doses, especially a few years later and I think he did better stuff (“High Noon” for instance). And as for his follow up album….dear me!

    • My thanks! I’m glad you mentioned the term classic – I remember hearing a great quote about English literature and the ‘classics’ being ones that people talk about but nobody actually reads. Entroducing is one where I wonder if the majority of people own it because it’s important/fashionable to have this on the CD shelf or if it genuinely gets a lot of spins in the listening rotation.

      When I listen to some of the albums that are so revered I feel a bit like Will Farrell at the end of Zoolander when he’s screaming about not seeing Derek Zoolander’s brilliance that everyone else seems to see. That would be an overreaction here of course as Endtroducing certainly did have its moments & in the context of genre-defining, I get why it’s among the 1001.

      I have to give Kamertunes credit for the ‘let others enjoy it’ line – that’s a philosophy I borrowed from him!

  2. Haha your car commercial comment made me chortle. Do you think this earns its place in the 1001 then? Or is it good but just not your cuppa?

    • Thank you HMO – and anytime I can help provide a chortle that’s excellent news!

      I’d say a bit of both – I think it belongs on the 1001 list & it’s not my cuppa. It’s certainly a significant recording when it comes to ‘instrumental hip hop.’ I think of it being like Slumdog Millionaire, where I can appreciate its artistic value & it’s good for what it is, but I don’t feel compelled to watch it over and over.

      You may feel this way about metal as well – but I’m confident when listening to my favourite music, I can discern all the subtle differences between groups (and the more intangible ingredients that exist in the great groups) when others might just describe it with a blanket classification of ‘noise.’

      With instrumental hip hop, I haven’t reached the awareness stage yet of appreciating what makes DJ Shadow superior to the thousands of other DJs out there. I think I also crave excellent songs & songwriting – so even though Entroducing’s production is solid, it’s lacking the killer songs that keep me coming back to records!

      • I did hear it in a pub once and I did like the production and sound of it but, like you say, I don’t have that awareness either. And I suppose it’s sometimes harder if an artist has been influential too because you lose that sense of originality and impact they might have had at the time.

        Are there any albums in the list that you can’t face having to listen to?

      • I’ve certainly run into that – The Specials was one where I thought, yeah it works, but I prefer Sublime & Reel Big Fish for ska. But then again, those groups might not exist were it not for The Specials!

        I can’t think of any that I’m dreading – there are a couple with running times between 2-3 hours so those will be a workout, but I’m intrigued.

        Probably the one that doesn’t end up on most ‘best of’ lists but is on the 1001 is Britney Spears’ debut. When I listened last year, I managed to find some nice things to say about it! https://1001albumsin10years.wordpress.com/2012/04/21/britney-spears-baby-one-more-time-1999/

      • Well done on having the guts to be kind to Britney! After hearing Richard Thompson’s interpretation of Oops… I Did it Again I have a soft spot for that tune.

        What are the long 2-3 hour albums?

      • I haven’t heard that version yet, though Travis’ take on hit me baby one more time definitely added a positive association to that tune.

        The Magnetic Fields’ “69 love songs” clocks in at 172 minutes, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has one at 119:30. I’ve already listened to George Harrison’s triple LP, only 126 minutes there!

  3. Lately I think you have been listening to a lot of 90s music… I think I was in a bubble in the 90s. I just didn’t like all the alternative music that hit the scene. I mean where was I???

    • And I just looked at my recent post history, whereas you were a bubble in the 90s, lately I’ve been in a 90s music bubble! The albums I’ve had on this week drift back into the 70s (David Bowie, Devo) so there’s a chance I’ll end up there for a bit!

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