Monday, March 21, 2011

An Uglycleanbroke Review of "Lasers."

First, I'd like to give a shout out to Target and Best Buy for not even bothering to have the Lasers album in stock. As a matter of fact, when I approached a sales associate at Best Buy and asked if they had it anywhere, he gave me a "look" as if I was annoying the fuck out of him, and simply said, "NO." I didn't get a "We don't have it in stock, but would you like to order a copy?" Nothing. Therefore, I took my money elsewhere and bought the album from Amazon. So yeah. Fuck Target AND Best Buy.

Moving on. I've had Lasers on repeat for the past few days so I could give an honest and fair opinion of each track. I know everyone interprets music different ways, so if mine seems "off," it's only because I may have interpreted it differently than another listener.

1. Letting Go (featuring Sarah Green): The opening track on Lasers takes me back to the overall tone of Lupe's The Cool album. He raps about the battle between his old and new self. Judging by the fact that it took forever for his record label to release Lasers, I'm sure this track was Lupe's way of venting about the frustrations that came along with it. I can definitely relate to this song, and it's one of my favorites so far. The words "Things are getting out of control...feels like I'm running out of soul" sum up how I feel about life sometimes. I have always enjoyed Sarah Green's voice on other tracks with Lupe, so I'm glad to hear her being featured again.

2. Words I Never Said (featuring Skylar Grey): Another one of my favorites. I love the beat, and Lupe raps about issues including the war, foreclosure, and the media's tendency to report more on celebrities than pressing matters that actually affect society. I didn't realize Skylar Grey is the same person who sang the hook on Dr. Dre's "I Need A Doctor" but I am feeling her singing style, and it fits on this track nicely.

3. Till I Get There: It's a simple song, it gives me some "Kick, Push" vibes. I don't love it, but I may have to give it a few more listens.

4. I Don't Wanna Care Right Now (featuring MDMA): Eh, not really feeling this one. The beat is decent, but I could have gone my whole life without the overly-autotuned chorus. I guess this is Lupe's way of trying to have a more upbeat, club-friendly track

5. Out Of My Head (featuring Trey Songz): I had my reservations when I saw Trey Songz' name listed as one of the featured artists on Lasers, and for good reason. I enjoy a lot of Trey Songz' music, but I realize that most of it is oversexed bullshit. And that's okay, because sometimes you need some oversexed bullshit in your life. With that being said, I had the feeling that Trey's bullshit vibes would influence this track. And I was right. Lupe said he wanted to make a song "for the ladies," but I struggled not to skip this song when giving the whole album a listen, simply because it is just that bad.

6. The Show Goes On: Another inspirational track from Lupe, mostly targeted towards kids "in the ghetto," to keep their heads up in spite of the less-than-ideal conditions of their surroundings. Maybe I can't relate to this song too much because I didn't grow up in the ghetto, so it's just okay to me.

7. Beautiful Lasers (2 Ways) (featuring MDMA): More autotune. Lupe's bars are pretty haunting on this track. In the second verse he reveals detailed thoughts of committing suicide, which I could also relate to, having had some down moments in my life as well. The lyrics are deep, but the autotune throws me off. I don't know who this MDMA guy is (or guys?), but I wish he wasn't featured on this album so much.

8. Coming Up (featuring MDMA): Sigh. You probably already know what I have to say about this one. Enough. Of. The. Fucking. AUTOTUNE. This seems like an album filler to me, so I don't have much to say about it.

9. State Run Radio (featuring Matt Mahafey): This track features Lupe's thoughts about the media's monopoly on what songs get airplay on the radio. He echoes thoughts I've had myself on the repetitive, unimaginative playlists that local radio stations shove down our throats every day. The hook is catchy; at this point I'm relieved that MDMA is not being featured yet again.

10. Break The Chain (featuring Eric Turner and Sway): Another track that will take a few more listens before I "get" it. That's all I've got for this one.

11. All Black Everything: I got a flash back to the old Lupe on this track. This is a "concept" song reminiscent of "The Die" from The Cool and "He Say She Say" from Food & Liquor, and I love it. Lupe reflects on how the world would have turned out if it was "all black." It's another song with deep lyrics, but the beat still makes you want to ride around and vibe to it. This is another of my favorites.

12. Never Forget You (featuring John Legend): Ummm.....I must be a cold bitch because I am not feeling this track either, and I'm sure this is meant to be another "uplifting" song. I've never really cared much for John Legend, so his hook annoyed me a little, and I haven't yet paid a lot of attention to Lupe's lyrics either. I suppose they needed something mellow to end the album with, but I could have done without this one too.

Overall, the album was decent. I know a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into it, on Lupe's part as well as his fans. However, the random club tracks and features of the current "hot" artists turned me off a bit. The main reason I've always loved Lupe's style is because he was below the radar, and therefore didn't seem to be too affected by mainstream influences. Lasers seems to be the album meant to please the masses, with a few vintage Lupe tracks thrown in for long-time fans. I'll always support Lupe and I know he has to do what he has to do to stay afloat in the industry, but in my opinion, I would still vibe out to The Cool over Lasers any day.

Uglycleanbroke Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★★


Poppy said...

I feel the same way on all over your reviews except, I HATE the chorus on State Run Radio...I turn it down on the chorus lol. I was feeling this album lyrically but thats about it. I don't like the song with Trey or John, I always skip those. I read in an interview with Lupe that he didn't want to be on a song with John Legend because he didn't think it would sound right but his label made him. And most of the auto-tune ones, his label gave him the songs & he just had to rap to them. So sad :(

This album hasn't been on repeat for me at all, I can't listen to the whole thing without skipping some.

UglyCleanBroke87 said...

LOL @ you turning the song down during the chorus. I guess I should have added that it is "annoyingly" catchy. I find myself singing it when I don't want to.

And I initially kept the album on repeat simply so I could give a fair review of each track. Since then, I've skipped through a few songs myself.

Anonymous said...

Super side eye @ Target in Nashville for having Lasers no where in stock. I know CDs are going out of style but damn...

EXCELLENT review. You kept it 100 on the fact that this album is undoubtedly a compromise between Lupe and Atlantic Records. He fought so hard for real substance and lyrisicm (I probably mis-spelled that) but the record label heads were'nt trying to hear that. All they want is sales so he had to keep it mainstream on this record. It is what it is. At the end of the day Lasers was still a great album. With a few exceptions (which I'll point out in my own review), I give it a B.

UglyCleanBroke87 said...

@Alee, see? Target is on that bullshit. I went in there a couple days ago and they had it in stock, but for me, it was too little, too late.

I was just listening to "The Cool" yesterday, and I realized one thing really missing from "Lasers" was Lupe's storytelling. In my opinion, one of Lupe's best traits as a rapper is his ability to paint a picture so vivid that you can see it while you're listening to his music. I didn't hear any of that storytelling aside from "All Black Everything" and that was disappointing for me.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point. I didn't even think about that, but I knew something was missing by the time I got half way through the album.


On another note, where's my blog buddy???