Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email email@example.com.
Strut (Self-released, 2010)
Strut, created by the enigmatic musician/photographer/beard enthusiast Third World, is either a beat tape or simply an instrumental. Either way, it is an elegant, dazzling bit of musicianship, and one of the most underappreciated music projects of 2010. It's not entirely devoid of words; there are occasional samples from sound banks, but they are auxiliary components, supplementing the music rather than overtaking it.
Yallmustaforgotability: 100 percent
True story: We've probably listened to this tape 65 times since last year, listened to it front to back, front to back over and over again. We couldn't tell you the name of one single song on there. That's probably one of the drawbacks of not have any words.
Best Song on the Album: What's good about this album is that all of the songs sort of ooze into each other. There are a few stops, but mostly they feel natural and organic. One of the great things about this album, though, is that the songs are different enough that they each possess their own identity. And the one with the best identity is the warm, soulful, inescapable charm of "Like Sunshine." It is, as it were, like sunshine.
Most Unexpected Moment on the Album: At the beginning of "Cold Tone," a man, sounding man large, begins shouting about liking to "party and bullshit." He does it again and again and again. You regret it immediately if you happen to be listening to it while eating dinner with your judgmental in-laws.
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SHOW ME HOW
What This Album Might Actually Be About: Something about freedom. Something about anti-commercialism. Something about rock and roll. Something about velvet. Something about a department store in the seventies. Something about existentialism. Something about being big and little at the same time.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own So As To Sound Smart: The cover of the album is a picture that Third World took while in New York. The girls on the cover just so happened to be from Houston. It all happened completely by accident.
In person, Third World talks like Allen Iverson used to dribble. There are bursts and unexpected pauses and stutter steps. It is the complete opposite of his music.
The man shouting curse words before "Cold Tone," that's Gil Scott-Heron. He tends to do that.