The Listening Club [Album Review]

The Listening Club: Saba (@SabaPIVOT) – Care for Me [Album Review]

The Listening Club is a round-table book club style review of an album recommended by one of our crew members. This week: SABA - Care for Me.

saba-busy-artwork

Our review for this week’s edition of The Listening Club will be Saba’s Care for Me. Our previous review was Arin Ray’s Platinum Fire.  

A.J.

I’d heard of Saba on Coloring Book and decided to check out his project Bucket List. It was a cool project, he had a different vibe worth checking out. My first listen of Care For Me didn’t give me an accurate assessment of the album. My second listen, with headphones is what did it. Saba crafts a story, but you don’t realize it until the end of the album. He mentions Walter early on in the album, but by the time PROM/KING has rolled around, you’ve likely forgotten. It isn’t until the end you realize what happened. This album is vulnerable, introspective and creative in ways a lot of rappers aren’t today.

Favorite Tracks: PROM/KING, SMILE, FIGHTER

Least Favorite track: LOGOUT

Score: 4/5


Dee

“I know you think you listening but you just waiting to talk. My fault.” – Saba (Fighter)

That perfectly describes how I went into this project. I wanted to dissect it and write some deep review but thankfully I found myself wanting to sit with it instead. It was like listening to a journalism podcast. The “S-Town” of rap if you will. Saba brings you in with his flows and holds you there with his storytelling. There is a beautiful balance that keeps you from getting bored without having to make you dance. The mood is heavy and the heartbreak is so real that I’m not sure about the replay value. That is terrible because the writing is superb. Gift and a curse I guess.

Favorite tracks:  “FIGHTER”, “PROM/KING”, “LIFE”

Least favorite track: “LOGOUT”

Score: 4/5


Ebony

I had never heard of this guy before and wasn’t expecting much when told this would be the review but my thoughts changed instantly. I actually played this album 3x in a row. This is the most heartfelt, empathetic musical depiction of grief that I’ve heard. The storytelling is so vivid, and his flow adds another component to it that makes it hard not to like. This was so good, it makes me want to go back and listen to his other projects but I’m afraid it won’t compare so I’ll stay with this one.

Favorite tracks: ‘PROM/KING,’ ‘HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME,’ ‘FIGHTER’

Least favorite tracks: ‘LOGOUT,’ and the beginning of  ‘BUSY’

Score: 4.5/5


 

Ron

Many things come to mind when thinking about Chicago. Jordan. A rapper who used to wear a Bear costume. (Whatever happened to that guy?) That deep dish abomination called a pizza. More recently, it’s that dreaded phrase. “Black on black” crime. Which leads to that stupid question, “But what about Chicago?”. Apparently, people think Chicago is a war zone filled with hyper-violent, soulless, evil people with no regard for life. Not that we needed proof to realize that’s stupid, but Saba’s album is the other side of that. What about the people who have to deal with that loss of life? For all intents and purposes, Saba’s a “good guy”. Came from a good family, went to college, did everything right but he’s still affected by the crime of his city. Care for Me is an incredibly candid album about the guy coping with the death of his cousin. It’s not an easy listen but to me, but it’s a must-listen. Saba was able to channel his pain to make one of the most cohesive albums I’ve heard in years. Through his pain, there are moments of levity,  hope, but ultimately, despair. Saba is looking to the sky for answers. Even with juggling these different emotions, it still follows a uniform throughout. With the midpoint of 2018 coming soon, Saba’s album is easily at the top of my list so far. It’s just so unfortunate such a great album had to come from personal pain.

Favorite tracks:  “Calligraphy”, “Life”, “Smile”, “Heaven All Around Me”

Least favorite track: “Logout”

Score: 4.25/5


 

Scores:

AJ:             4

Dee:          4

Ebony:     4.5

Ron:         4.25

Average score: 4.19 (Let’s just round that up to 4.2, shall we?)

If you’re interested in this album, check it out and let us know what you think. Also, if you love an album that’s flying under the radar this year, let us know about it and we’ll review it. Until next time…

 

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