Dr. Dre’s Compton reviewed

I got an early look at Dr. Dre’s Compton: A Soundtrackand I was impressed (click for my review in The Skinny). The album was so good that most of us are probably ready to forget the long-awaited and now supposedly damned Detox – although I’m skeptical of Dre’s claim that Compton will be his final word.

Of course, Dee Barnes’ recent criticism of the movie that inspired this soundtrack, the Straight Outta Compton biopic Dre executive produced, accuses by virtue of proximity Compton the LP.  I’m wary of any position that would demean, diminish, or demote high art because of its moral positions, outright or implied – this would drag down the vast majority of all the aesthetically excellent things mankind has made. I can’t speak to Straight Outta Compton‘s value as art or entertainment – I haven’t seen it yet – but Barnes deserves the mic she’s been denied for so long.  Her criticism – that the film skips over Dre’s attack; that more broadly the film is a revisionist biography erasing the misogyny enshrined in N.W.A.’s expressions of outraged black masculinity, the horrible underside to their radical politics – also reflects on the album, in particular lending a frankly terrible weight to one of Eminem’s lines (in – yes, acknowledge it; we do wrong to deny it – a metrically excellent, powerfully performed verse), the line most reviewers (including myself) reference but cannot bring ourselves to type.

That the album is so worthy of study, then, itself recommends Dee Barnes’ reflection on the movie, the culture it (half-) portrays and the culture that made it. Her approach to the film has to be our approach to all good, dangerous art: we have to take it seriously.


The Skinny – Reviews and Cultural Commentary

Independent, in-the-know, on the edge – journalism with panache and velocity.  The Skinny is a monthly culture mag serving Scotland and Northern England, covering the music and arts scenes in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Aberdeen, and Dundee.  I started contributing in June – you can find all my articles and reviews for The Skinny here.

Interviews and Features

Living Abroad in Edinburgh: An Ex-Pat Guide


C Duncan

Lydia Kavina (theremin virtuosa)

Live Reviews

SxSW 2016

The Edinburgh Festivals – August 2015 (The Black Sorrows, James Brown Is Annie, Japan Marvelous Drummers, The Sun Ra Arkestra, Antonio Forcione and Adriano Adewale, The Waterboys)

Positivus (Latvia) 17-19 July 2015 (featuring Placebo, Kasabian, St. Vincent, Warpaint, Jungle, Basement Jaxxx, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters)

T in the Park ,10-12 July 2015

Friday, featuring: The Cribs, Jessie Ware, Hozier, Model Aeroplanes, Kasabian

Saturday, featuring: The LaFontaines, Stillhound, Charli XCX, Enter Shikari, Vukovi, St. Vincent

Sunday, featuring: Admiral Fallow, Idlewild, Alabama Shakes, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

FFS (Franz Ferdinand and Sparks) – Glasgow School of Art, 16 June 2015

Earl Sweatshirt – Glasgow O2 ABC, 8 June 2015

Album Reviews

From 2019:

Cage The Elephant – Social Cues

From 2018:

Gorillaz – The Now Now

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

Yonatan Gat – Universalists

Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart – Black Coffee

From 2017:

Benjamin Clementine – I Tell A Fly

Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage

Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.

BadBadNotGood – Late Night Tales

Beach Fossils – Somersault

Gorillaz – Humanz

From 2016:

The Last Shadow Puppets – The Dream Synopsis EP

Warpaint – Heads Up

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Skeleton Tree

WOMPS – Our Fertile Forever

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything That You’ve Come To Expect

Lake Street Dive – Side Pony

From August 2015:

Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre

From July 2015:

Albert Hammond, Jr. – Momentary Masters

Ghostface Killah – Adrian Younge presents: Twelve Reasons to Die II

Gunship – Gunship

C Duncan – Architect

Admiral Fallow – Tiny Rewards