Today I was going to post a review where I compared and contrasted two different albums from the same artist. But I can’t do that now because although there is a lot of material to compare, I don’t feel the same way about the albums as I did yesterday. The two albums I was going to review are Chance The Rapper’s Acid Rap and Coloring Book. I’ve always loved Acid Rap and I was excitedly anticipating Coloring Book’s release. And then when it came out I hated it. So I was going to compare the two albums and try to figure out what went wrong on Coloring Book but I listened to it yesterday and I realized didn’t hate it as much as I remembered. So I decided to just review Coloring Book on its own rather then comparing the two albums. Enjoy!
So one thing that happened between these two albums that changed the way, I think, Chance wrote and performed a lot of these songs was that he had a baby. The Chancellor Bennett we get on this album is a much more matured and much more focused than the Chancellor Bennett we got on Acid Rap and I think that is because he has a lot more responsibilities now.
I think the beginning of this album is what gave me the most trouble. I really don’t think the first three tracks are very good. On “All We Got”, Chance reproduces the “and we back” intro from Acid Rap’s “Good Ass Intro” but in that intro Chance sounded ecstatic and on this intro he sounds like he just had a lobotomy. And then when the auto tune hits I was just immediately turned off. The rapping on “No Problem” is so sloppy, I don’t know if that’s on purpose, but I don’t like it. Also I really hate Lil Wayne, his voice is annoying and you can’t really understand what he’s saying. “Summer Friends” would be a great song, it’s well written, has a nice message and story but Chance just ruined it with the background music. That weird auto tuned choir singing is just so out of sync with the rest of the song, it honestly makes me angry to listen to it.
The next song, I think, is where this album turns around for me. “D.R.A.M Sings Special”. It’s Short. It’s simple. It works. And it works as a refresher or a palette cleanser to the rest of the album.
“Blessings” might be the first song on this album so far with some solid rapping. I’m not a huge fan of some of the less subtle Christian themes that run throughout this album, but they sort of work on this song.
The next three songs are great. “Same Drugs” is a soulful song that is cleverly written and performed even better. “Mixtape” is a dark song musically and a good shot at the music industry and some of his fellow musicians. “Angels” is a fast paced song with a catchy chorus and a sweet use of kettledrums.
After all of this good music, we get “All Night”. This is a love/hate song for me. The chorus is very catchy chorus but it also gets so repetitive and eventually annoying. Chance’s rapping in the first verse sound like he is putting himself to sleep but he quickly changes it up and is all the better for it.
“How Great” is a good song with an intro that is too long. It goes on for over two minutes and it is just a choir singing, “How great is our God?” over and over again. But after the intro finishes, the background music is fantastic, and, in an album that I have always thought of as kind of low on the kind of excellent rapping Chance had on Acid Rap, Jay Electronica’s verse is awesome.
“Smoke Break” is the second song on this album to use drugs as a metaphor which kind of feels like lazy writing to me but the metaphor is used very well in this case so that makes up for it.
The next song “Finish Line/Drown” which is like two songs pushed into one track is fantastic. The first half of the song, or “Finish Line”, is great, it’s uplifting and sort of sums up the feeling of the entire album. Also another thing that I thought this album was lacking was the references to things from my childhood but on Finish Line we get a Space Jam reference and a Harry Potter reference, which I love.
Where “Finish Line” is uplifting and upbeat, “Drown” slows it down. But with a verse featuring Noname Gypsy, who featured on Acid Rap, the second half of this track is a winner. Especially when the horn section comes in on the chorus, it all fits together so well.
The last song on the album is a reprise of “Blessings”, which starts out going straight into a very awesome rap and then hits the hook and then goes into the outro. It’s a nice way to end the album, sending blessings and miracles to his audience and the Chances final verse at the beginning of the song is one of his strongest on the album.
So there it is my review of Chance The Rapper’s new(ish) album, Coloring Book. It was not nearly as bad as I thought it was, which is nice because now I have another good Chance The Rapper Album to listen to.
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