Arts & Entertainment

Hip-hop album review lacks cohesiveness and focus

BY SPILLAGE P. VILLAGE President of Guys Against Gstalder
Newswire photo courtesy of Kate Ferrell
Recent hip-hop album review by Opinions and Editorials editor, Charlie Gstalder, while unfortunately lengthy, wordy, unfocused and unapologetically his, successfully passes as a review and provides exactly as expected.

Charlie Gstalder, the Opinions and Editorials editor for Newswire, published an album review on Oct. 29. While an interesting and fun read, the article lacks cohesiveness in theme and features some odd stylistic choices and unnecessary paragraphs. 

While I would never be caught dead reading his page, Gstalder’s articles have never failed to amaze me. His opinions on fashion are groundbreaking, his world articles are arguably better then the world news editor’s and his use of metaphors is like the glaze waterfall at Krispy Kreme: acceptably excessive. 

It’s disappointing that a Newswire heavyweight would lower himself to write an article that resembles a guy you just met at a party rambling to you about his opinions on hip-hop.

The article commences with Gstalder describing a skit — not critiquing the skit or discussing its purpose in the overall album, just describing it. This continues until he decides to get bold and directly quote the skit. Not in any way relevant to the review, he just decides to throw it in.

Such outlines the major theme of the article — Gstalder giving his specific opinion on every track off the album for seemingly no reason.

This is first evident when he talks about the song “Baptize,” which he describes as a song about sex, drugs and money. Isn’t that what every rap song is about?

He also talks about the production of “Baptize,” saying it has “one of the heaviest and hard hitting subs (he’s) heard in years.” 

I have no idea what a sub is, and the way he throws it in as if I should lends itself beautifully to his distinct New Yorker sense of superiority. 

Next, he moves on to track three, and this is the first instance of him using high school level vocabulary in order to make himself look smart, such as “hymnal” and “permeates.” 

The article takes an interesting turn when he discusses track four, “Ea’alah (family).” Quite simply, it’s a really weird section, and I’m still really surprised that I like it. 

The subject matter is congruent with the rest of the article; it begins with Gstalder just straight up telling you what the song is about.

Thus, my surprise primarily regards his word choice — he uses the word “twangy,” which is always fun, and even throws in the word “goosebumps,” which of course makes me think of my favorite children’s horror television series.

It’s odd, but it really works. Gstalder writes the section beautifully and each read makes me want to go watch a Goosebumps episode, an emotional reaction so visceral I’m rethinking my hatred of Gstalder.

His review of the song “Mecca” is the first truly awful section. It concerns his hatred of songs about “spreading love around the world” and his opposition to the use of South African greetings. 

It sounds more like the work of someone who hates the world than the work of a hip-hop critic — depressing and mean. If you read the article, just skip the section —  it’s really not worth 30 seconds of your life.

I was blown away by the final section where he talks about the song “Jupiter.” I like it because it’s short, so you don’t have to subject yourself to too much more of Gstalder’s writing. 

He throws in one more quote to increase his word count and then ends on a joke about how 2020 is bad. This is not only a gorgeous conclusion, but it also delivers a message that I will carry with me through the end of this year: Charlie Gstalder sucks. 

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