Okay, so I guess this album broke some records and got a nomination for Album of the Year at the Grammies and other such accolades. Well, guess what. It’s awful. Like really bad. Let me just run down a couple of things. First off, this album has EIGHTEEN songs on it. EIGHTEEN. That’s ridiculous. The best track on this album is track fourteen. Fourteen. I mean, I don’t like it when artists burn the two or three best songs in the first couple of tracks (*cough*Disclosure*cough*), but let’s not wait until track fourteen either. I mean, not that you should get to track fourteen anyway, but if you’re going to, don’t make listeners slog through thirteen bad songs to get to the good one. Seriously. But see, when you have eighteen tracks on an album, you’re implying that these songs are all SO GOOD that you can’t bear to cut even one. I’d cut a solid fourteen, honestly. This eighteen song album should be an EP.
Because, look, the songs are bad. The music itself is uninspired and repetitive. For reasons I won’t go into, I was looking at this CD inside a laptop music player and I suddenly realized that almost all of the tracks start with the same kind of sad synth thing and then the beat drops somewhere in the 1:00 to 1:10 range. Structurally, these songs are all the same. The song writing is even worse, honestly. Zack & Codeine is, get this, a joke track based on how sweet life is on codeine and how that sounds like The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. I’m not kidding. At one point, he drops the astoundingly awful lyric, “Ain’t seen her face, but she got beautiful boobies.” Listen, you use “boobies” unironically, just get the **** out.
There are a couple of good songs. I mean, it would be quite an achievement to have eighteen songs on an album and none of them be good, right? The big single, Rockstar, is dark and catchy. Stay is a really surprising song based around the acoustic guitar, an instrument that I don’t think appears anywhere else on this album, which means that it sounds like nothing else on the album and that’s a good thing, given how samey a lot of this is. It’s a really nice ballad and it has a beautiful instrumental section. The best track is Same Bitches, a mournful lament about how our narrator has been in L.A. so long that he sees the same girls at every party he goes to. It then turns into a kind of existential lament about how all party girls seem the same, do the same things, dress the same, go the same places. It’s the one track with a little depth and some complicated emotions. Psycho is pretty good too. Anyway, it’s got a few good tracks, buried among the mix of sound-alike downers. But not nearly enough. Shave eight tracks off this album, take a second pass at the lyrics and maybe you’ve got something. Man oh man, what a stinker. 1 star.
tl;dr – far too long, musically uninspired, lyrically idiotic; you’ll find a couple of good songs here if you look, but why bother? 1 star.