Tag Archives: Rick Rubin


In the interest of full disclosure, here is a somewhat abridged account of my relationship with the Avett Brothers as a musical entity: one night in the autumn of 2008, when I was probably seventeen years old and a junior in high school, I was riding in the backseat of my friend Carrie’s blue Jeep with two of my other good friends, Justin and Morgan, around the streets and highways of South Carolina. Cycling through the tracks on a mixed CD and/or the shuffle function on her iPod (I can’t remember for certain, but I know there was a huge collection of CDs in that automobile), she landed on something that was new and exciting to me but which had become, to my admittedly much cooler friends, something of a way of life. This was the first time I heard the opening strums of “Die Die Die,” the first song on the 2007 album Emotionalism, and it tore up every Hendrix-laden notion of my personal preferences at the time. Bruce Springsteen once said of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” that it “sounded like somebody kicked open the door to your mind.” In the context of my own teenage taste, the same explosion happened in that Jeep.

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These past few weeks I have been scanning the Internet looking for any new scoop or fresh insight. I checked Flipboard; looking at the different perspectives each passing hour. It was allegedly one of the most exciting things the masses would bear witness to in recent years. And sorry, Gregg Popovich, it wasn’t your team’s stunning grasp of fundamental basketball and how they would fare against Miami’s White Hot Heat. It was Kanye West’s new album, Yeezus, and the rumors of a more experimental sound from the master technician of awesomeness.

A CD, a sticker – Yeezus

Like many others, I have wondered for weeks what this effort would bring to the table. Would this change pop music as we know it? What would the landscape of hip-hop be like after seeing his performance of “Black Skinhead” on SNL? Weeks went by and there was no single. No video. No damn album cover. It was a minimalist’s dream that included, of all things, a Corbusier lamp. Yet, Mr. West’s album was fulfilling considering all the empty space Rick Rubin created. But, I missed something in the process.

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