This is the album that makes you want to become a disk jockey. You might have had the longest day ever at work; you might be sitting at your residence where to go with your life; you might have just struck the lottery and are putting deep thought on with who you want to share the money. The bottom line is, it doesn't matter who you are or what you going through, you'll wish you were DJ Shadow when playing this album. Regardless of this feeling, it's very difficult to explain to someone why this is so great. Trip-hop has enough negative connotations associated with it to scare away anyone with slight interest going into their first listen of it. But as with anything worthwhile, sitting down and treasuring the work is what reaps the best reward.
The fact that this record is practically perfect is brought on by the fact that all the samples are, well, perfect. Everything here fits together extremely well. The mash-up of bass, guitar, organ, piano, sound effects, drums, and countless other instruments create a blend of source material which was meant to be together, not something that was thrown together. However, 'thrown together' may be too harsh on DJ Shadow; the vast musical knowledge one would need to throw all these samples together for a complete puzzle is astounding. It's a daunting task just sitting here thinking about it. And then on top of it all, everything here is sourced from vinyl. There is nothing from tapes, compact discs, or digital samples. An individual with this array of vinyl in their collection would have had to put countless hours of work into building it, and may be another reason why the final product pays off in tenfold.
When all the pieces are put together, the final result is a variety of songs (both short and long) that play on hip-hop culture and the importance of telling a story through instrumentals. A few of the tracks change drastically a number of times; an example of this is "Stem / Long Stem / Transmission 2", which starts off rather violently with custom drum beats, slows down during a man's internal dilemma, and finishes with the encompassing theme of outside contact (which shows up sporadically throughout the album). The more straightforward (a loose definition because nothing here is conventional) tracks such as "Organ Donor" maintain a level of familiarity, but don't cause the listener to lose their connection with the album.
At the end of it all, Endtroducing..... is one-of-a-kind because there was nothing riding on it. Instrumental hip-hop was nearly non-existent when this album was released; outside pressure was completely absent allowing Davis to create what he wanted. There were no standards set; instead, it was the standard setter. The album that defined trip-hop is the album trip-hop artists are still trying to dethrone today. And that says something about Josh's dedication and the prevailing relevance of the record.
To be fair I had my mouse over the neg button before I even read the review because you're just the worst person ever but regardless the review itself warrants a neg. This review would have been just as effective if it was the lone sentence, "DJ Shadow is really super cool."
Let me break down what the review tells me:
First paragraph - You wanna be DJ Shadow
Second paragraph - Everything fits together, DJ Shadow has a lot of records
Third paragraph - Some songs are straightforward and some aren't
Fourth paragraph - The album is unique
Okay, how about the music? If you're going to write a review that doesn't describe what the album sounds like, you should at least have something new to bring to the table.
Here's why it fails as a review: there's no audience that benefits from reading it. Allow me to explain.
If I had never heard this album and read the review, I would come out of it just as clueless about the sound as I had entered. What is trip-hop? Alright, there are samples, so? If you read closely, you can figure out that the whole album is made of samples, but there is little explicit description of the music. You end the review with historical context as if it were a more informative review, but the body of it has nothing to say on the sound.
I'm reading it as someone who has heard the album (and basically everyone reading this review will have heard it), and I can't take anything away from this review. This album will make me want to be DJ Shadow? No, not really, I'm pretty comfortable being myself. One of my favorite reviews on this site is Chan's new review for TDAGARIM. It especially works because I read his previous review early on in my Sputnik existence, but even without it there is something to be learned from it. He doesn't describe the sound, the review is purely his connection (or the fading of a connection) to the album. It works as a kind of testimonial, not valuable in understanding if the album is for you, but endearingly frank and self-aware.
For an album like this where there are already several 5-star reviews that say, "oh man it's like all samples but so good and wow he's a genius and dude woah", a review like the aforementioned would have had its place. As it stands, this review neither informs nor touches, and for that reason I negged it. It reads like the reactions from someone who just heard it for the first time, "wow this is really good, I'm so envious of his ability to put together such a cohesive album purely from samples". It has no purpose.