Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Albums2010 #63: The Heist

By now, everyone who is breathing has heard the song 'Thrift Shop,' that unusually bouncy, funky ode to the Goodwills and the Salvation Armies of our lives.  The first impression I had of the song were good.  It entered your brain and left nothing but a barrage of good feelings behind it.  You couldn't help but dance to it.  The funk inspired hook to the song (horns, oboes?  Not even sure what that noise is except that it's funk-aaaay) is awesome.

So it's a pleasant surprise to find that the rest of Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis' debut album, The Heist is just as promising as their debut single.  It starts off with a bang--  'Ten Thousand Hours' is intelligent, upbeat, name checks Malcolm Gladwell and Basquiat and gets your attention immediately.  Mackelmore doesn't pander or talk down to his listeners.  

He follows it up with the awesome, hand clapping, foot-stomping track 'Can't Hold Us' which is getting plenty of radio play at the moment even though they've done something truly weird to it that I don't like.  (The album version is better.)  There's also a decent amount of variety mixed in as well-  especially with the powerful anthem for equality 'Same Love.'

Then, then there's 'Wing$'.  Just when you think you're wrapping your head around what this album is all about, Macklemore comes out of left field and hits you with an introspective meditation on consumerism and how obsessed we can be about material goods.   It's mind-blowingly good stuff and just one of many surprises that are hidden away on this album.

Overall:  This is intelligent rap at it's best.  I don't think Macklemore is in the business of pushing boundaries or doing crazy shit like Kanye, but he won't pander to his audience.  If you don't know who he's name checking, look it up.   Hailing from Seattle, he's a major fan of the Mariners (that gets mentioned a time or two) and he brings the best of intelligent, independent hip-hop roaring into the mainstream.   I can't wait until his next album.

You Already Know:  'Thrift Shop', 'Can't Hold Us', 'Same Love'
You Should Get To Know:  'Ten Thousand Hours', 'White Walls', 'Bom Bom', 'Wing$'

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