New Thing #196: Magna Carta... Holy Grail

Jay ZUnder normal circumstances I probably wouldn't have thought about buying Jay Z's new album. But if ever there was a New Thing for Music Monday, this is it.

It's not like I've never heard Jay Z music - it's all over the place. I've heard all of the singles on the radio.

But I'm pretty sure I've never listened to a full album before this one.

And I'm not sure I will again - rap just isn't my thing.

But I certainly get the appeal.

I don't quite know how to judge a rap album - is it different than other music genres? Am I supposed to focus more on lyrics than music? I sense there's more attention paid to the words than the tunes that you hear...but both make an impact.

For what my opinion is worth: I found the entire album to be very listenable. Certain songs stood out to me more than others, and those did so mostly because I liked the tune...not necessarily because of the words. I've heard this isn't the best Jay Z album there is - but it's still pretty good. I'm sure die hards would cringe knowing this is the album I'm basing my Jay Z opinion on (or maybe they wouldn't care - I don't know), but really - I get why he's so popular.

(Most of the words, if you're wondering, dealt with how rich Jay Z is. And how much more rich he wants to become. And a good percentage of them are dirty words. I am a grown man and there were times I thought to myself as I listened to this album, "Am I allowed to be listening to this?")

I particularly liked this album because it was good to run to. I listened to it three times in the first week during my longest runs of the summer. Coincidence? I don't know. But it's been a while since I had a go-to exercise album. It was good running music.

It also served as a way for me to be further exposed to the work of Frank Ocean, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake - all featured on songs on the album. It's not like I hadn't heard of them or their music, but I don't own anything by any of them. I enjoyed what they did. And, I feel I should offer this admission: there's nothing I've seen or heard involving Justin Timberlake that I haven't enjoyed. The guy is talented and knows what he's doing. And I enjoy his work. There. I said it.

I'm sure this album will continue to serve as a running soundtrack for me this summer. It's about the only way I can listen to it anyway, considering I won't play songs with this kind of language in front of my children.

I'll just be the only runner in town blushing due to the strong language coursing through my headphones.