Monday, October 18, 2010
Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons... (2008)
Great beats and honest takes on the hard side of life alternating between uplifting and optimistic tales and darker rants on the human condition make this alt-rap release a winner, though some bits feel unneccessary.
Make no mistake - this album is awesome. If you're looking for one alt-rap album to introduce you to Atmosphere, the Rhymesayers collective, Aesop Rock, and related characters, make it this one. The instrumentation and production is incredibly well done, lush when it should be, sparse when the mood calls. MC Slug's vocal stylings carass a rolling cascade of imagery and energy throughout, and the songs are honest, relatable, and soulful.
My only problem with this album is that there are just a few songs that, while decent, don't really engage or interest as much as the other tracks, which overwhelmingly succeed at these goals. This make the low points on the album stand out in stark contrast. On an album with 15 tracks, this almost feels inexcusable - how hard is it to trim some B material and just drop a classic 12-track disc? I'm no slave to convention, but it would have worked well here.
Overall, this album is very much a gem, though. Most will find some new personal favorites on it, as tracks like Dreamer, Yesterday, and Your Glasshouse provoke the imagination lyrically while grooving the body instrumentally. I'll definitely be revisiting this album again soon. I just wish it were a bit tighter -- that would have made it a 5/5.
Pros: Excellent songwriting, excellent beats
Cons: A few lame tracks drag the whole album down.
Standout Track - Yesterday