Three things that is virtually impossible for me to do:
- Eat wings without getting sauce on my shirt
- Wake up before noon on Saturdays
- Make a 180 degree turn on my opinion of an artist
For the sake of this post, we’ll just focus on #3. We can talk chicken wings another time. Number 3 is true because I believe I do my due diligence when assessing artists. I’ll check out a few songs, albums, etc before I formed an opinion. I try to listen to albums at least three times all the way through before I give an opinion.
For no good reason at all, I turned off the Anderson.Paak’s previous project, Venice, after the first two tracks (Side note: How foolish of me, because “The City” is SO FIRE). Then, after hearing his track on that Dr. Dre album we talked about for 8 days, I went back to Venice.
I’m so glad I did.
Much like its predecessor, Malibu is an audio journey to this place. Although I’m sitting here freezing in a cubicle as I type this, I’m mentally on the beach while listening to this album. I’ll just jump right into it and highlight this album’s strong-points.
Sure, any Joe Schmoe could have made an album named Malibu with cookie cutter West Coast songs. We would’ve liked it too, probably. But where Anderson succeeds is starting from the bottom-up to make a multi-layered album that evokes a certain mood and vibe. Two tracks most people will probably see as throwaways are my favorites on this album: “Parking Lot” and “Lite Weight”. They’re not necessarily great songs by any means but they’re so important to this album’s structure. They carry along a certain groove that is present from start to finish.
What surprised me the most though is how diverse this album sounds. Venice , for all the love I give it, was nothing more than a modern day’s take on R&B a la Ty Dolla Vandross and company. Is that a bad thing? No, not at all. It still jams.
But color me surprised when a guy who sang “Now most yall can’t do shit, but all my bitches cook griiiiiiiiits” opens an album with a soulful dedication to his family and follow it up with a fiery drum solo. That’s not exactly the content I was expecting.
What I already loved about Anderson was his knack for songwriting. His rap-singing verses just seemed to work. They’re often light and whimsical. On this album, he expanded upon that by showing now only can he write the song, but he can do the behind the scenes work also. Who knew he’s a drum maestro who also produces his own songs?
This album keeps a balance between being light-hearted and semi-serious without a moment that seems out of place or forced. The perfect example of this is “Silicon Valley”. Not many could make a song about the heart that lies behind soft, fake titties. Now THIS is the content I was expecting.
All in all, Malibu is and will be the first memorable album of 2016. This is the part where I give you what I didn’t like about the album but honestly I have nothing to say. There will be songs you like more than others, but there’s not one single “bad” song on this joint. I liken this album to D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar… well if he was on Snapchat and Instagram while making it in the studio [Not to mention Pino Palladin and Robert Glaspar doing work on this album. It might as well be a D’Angelo album]. It contains undertones of jazz and classic soul but brought to date with Anderson’s unique sound. There are horns, heavy bass, and great drum solos as previously mentioned. Although this album is fantastic, something tells me we haven’t even seen his best yet. He’s taken us to Venice and now Malibu, so I wonder what’s next.
Essential listening: “Am I Wrong”, “Room In Here” (sans a horrible Game verse), and “Silicon Valley”.
In Addition: “The Dreamer” sounds so much more triumphant now knowing this guy was virtually unknown this time last year but he’s Aftermath’s new signee.