Saturday, August 29th, 2009

Hilltop Hoods – Chase That Feeling

South Australian wine is fantastic. South Australian rappers, though…..


Chuck Eddy: The backing is passably cinematic, and even vaguely reminds me alternately of Faithless and hip-house at points, but the rapper seems a bit shy and retiring. He could learn a thing or two by watching a few drunken Aussie rock bands.

Anthony Easton: It is really two or three songs, matched and overlapping, providing a counterpoint of soul singing to rapping, of speech acts that are different from musical acts–this makes a song that seems fairly conventional have a laid back elegance.

Michaelangelo Matos: American emo guys don’t have a lock on day-in-the-life-of-star-as-ordinary-bloke as a songwriting trope after all. “She’s ugly but I’m in love with her”; I’m sure she thanks you for it, mate.

Martin Skidmore: The dead-voiced rapping was already making me hate this when we got to this Stereophonics-class lyric: “It was hell cos the foreman was always harassing me/Like ‘How’s your little old music thing going?’/Now I’m like ‘How’s your bitter old loser shit going?’” Yeah, stick it to the (working) man! Worst lines of the year, for me.

Edward Okulicz: They’ve toned down most of the things that made me hate them in the past – their accents no longer molest the language in a novelty-song fashion and the production on this is actually quite lovely. But they say nothing, and don’t say it in a witty or interesting way.

Alex Ostroff: Between this and Paperboys, I’m beginning to suspect that Bubba Sparxxx’s Deliverance was far more popular abroad than in North America. Paperboys rode bluegrass riffs, while Hilltop Hoods tackle a blues loop with fiddles and a touch of jaunty melancholy piano. Strings and northern soul horns on the chorus are a deft touch. I imagine my reaction to hearing Australians rap is no different than that of non-Canadian Jukeboxers to Classified, so out of deference, I’ll leave well enough alone.

Martin Kavka: I have no knowledge of the history of Australian rap, or of whether this message single — chase feelings, but be disciplined enough to know what’s a good goal for you — is typical of anything else from Hilltop Hoods’ decade of work. But nothing in the rap compares to the sample; perhaps nothing could. It’s “Pass The Word (Love’s The Word)” from the minor Stax act The Mad Lads. They were at their most popular in the mid-1960s, but this is the opening track from their 1973 reunion album A New Beginning. The most extensive sample that Hilltop Hoods’ DJ Debris uses, besides the main piano riff, is a line from the second verse, set against an slowly ascending major-chord arpeggio, played by violins … that all of a sudden explodes into a shimmer of horns. It is gloriousness, courtesy of Dale Warren.

Jonathan Bradley: This hook is smarter than that of your average Hilltop Hoods hit, but the beat is as tepid as ever; a respectably musical loop that seems composed with no understanding as to why we call rap instrumentals “beats.” But even this pub rock excuse for hip hop, which treats rhythm as an afterthought rather than the central point, could be excusable if the rappers had a bit of sparkle on the mic. But no, Suffa and Pressure are as plodding and earnest as ever, and whether through lack of talent or a misguided desire not to activate their audience’s tall poppy syndrome, they stamp out entirely any charisma or presence from their performance. These dullards lack not only the talent to be good rappers, they also, in their near complete eschewing of quotables, creative lyricism, versatile flow and that ineffable but prized quality of swag, are not even worthy of being compared to other nations’ mediocrities. That they are lionised as rap legends in their home country is a disgrace, and an apposite demonstration of the soft bigotry of low expectations.

2 Responses to “Hilltop Hoods – Chase That Feeling”

  1. Sounded like Moby with really bad rapping to me.

  2. Not bad. Fresh, expansive production; like an uncharacteristically upbeat RJD2 and pleasingly unamerican. One of the rappers does a decent impression of Brother Ali, albeit lacking his precision or range.