Review Summary: Ludacris' fifth album may not neccesarily be the best hip-hop album of the year, but Mr. Chris Bridges has provided one of the more varied albums in the last few years compared to his peers.
Never have I encountered an album that was more properly titled. Ludacris’ “Release Therapy” is a mix of balanced hard pumping hip-hop songs that are on the first half of the album and then adjusts to a load of sweet slow jams.
As said, the first half of the album is all about the beats and rough rhymes. Songs like “Grew Up A Screw Up”, and “Ultimate Satisfaction” are meant
to be played at parties. Rap and Hip-Hop artists are mostly known by more ‘musically intelligent’ people as a dump yard of lyrical crap, and while Ludacris isn’t necessarily ‘word wise’ with his lyrics, he proves much better than most other artists:
[i]“When I came into the game and they didn’t do nothing but doubt me. Now the whole games changing, it ain’t nothing without me. Picking up my sloppy seconds as they reach for the crown. The only reason you own that song is ‘cause I turned it down.” Of course since it’s Hip-Hop, Ludacris must be cocky at all times. Aside from that, and seeing how easily Ludacris can nail down long verses, he is more exciting to listen to than most other artists.
There is one downer in the first half of the album. “Girls Gone Wild” is probably one of the worst rap songs I’ve ever heard. “You’re feeling kind of warm, like you was having sex. You’re weatherin’ a storm, like you was takin’ ex. Your mood intensifies. It’s time for a surprise. So baby, close your eyes. Are you ready for what’s next?” Now even though nearly all of these songs are about scoring with the ladies, “Girls Gone Wild” is nearly one of the most shameful songs I’ve come across. Not only that, but the way in which it’s delivered makes it worse. Ludacris’ rapping parts in the song are acceptable, but the example shown is the repeated chorus where Ludacris is more or less, ‘singing’. Now, I’m all for Ludacris attempting something like this, but please, Mr. Bridges could not have come off more cheesy, and retarded than he does in those few seconds.
“Ultimate Satisfaction” features Field Mob, which proves a standout on “Release Therapy”, even though really Ludacris doesn’t play much of a part in the song. Field Mob dominates here with one member soloing the first half of the song, and the other taking over for the other half. This should be a single, but it won’t, since it wouldn’t do any good for Ludacris’ reputation since, well, not being in the song despite the song being on his album.
The slow songs on the album don’t really differentiate from each other too much. The one song that stands out above all others is “Runaway Love” featuring Mary J. Blige. This one became a single after a while, and even though it basically repeats itself three times, Ludacris tells the story of three girls of different ages who are all stuck in nearly hopeless situations. Mary J. Blige’s contribution is eloquent, introducing and ending the song with appearing again every once in a while. The song is hopeful, and not something expected of Ludacris, but he pulls it off great.
“Release Therapy” is a simple Hip-Hop album, but with some nice beats, and when it gets angry, it gets really angry and serves great as an outlet for energy. The same goes for the slower songs, nearly all are inspiring to some degree and offer a different taste of Ludacris for those not familiar yet with that side of him. Not quite deserving of Hip-Hop, or Rap album of the year (shamefully, I must say the honor for that goes to the rapper with the largest ego ever, The Game with ‘Doctor’s Advocate’), but at least deserving of a few listens.
+Good mix of heavy beats and slower, relaxed songs
+Better lyrics sometimes than the average rapper
+Flows great and doesn’t actually get boring after just one listen
-Corny at times
-A little too long at sixty-two minutes