Review Summary: Pop radio never sounded so better... Average.
Popular radio is so ***ing annoying. They try to capture what young listeners might be into, yet comes off as shoving it down their throat with an airplane baby spoon. Simply because they use the same seven or eight songs repeatedly so some people would be forced to get into it, furthering the mind numbing up comers of today's America. Thus proving my point that it's more of a trend than music. Those typical pop thumpers tend to annoy you with their popular burn mix on every car ride. I'm sure many of you have a few of those friends that claim that 'this *** is their song' on a 3-month rotation, then forgets it had existed.
Here comes Akon. He’s basically an R. Kelly wannabe with a shiny face, throwing an African flavor to today's R&B scene. With a voice so high that it can sometimes be soothing, he tags along by using artist like Eminem and Snoop Dogg to guide his way to pop superstardom. Soothing rhythmic beats for the most part lend a helping hand. Konvicted (nice play on his name btw) is his star-making sophomoric follow up to Trouble that features the hit Lonely. Konvicted is obviously a more thought out and solid release from Akon.
From my personal stand point, Akon is at his best when he is singing ballads. Most of the up beat tracks just don’t suit his sweet African flavored vocals. Smack That has to be the worst song on Konvicted. I instantly grew hatred toward it when pop radio gobbled it up. Degrading lyrics and a half-assed appearance from Eminem makes good for a single, but lacks any real substance. Gangsta Bop wants to stunt, letting the listeners know he had a Konvicted past. I have no idea why, but the 'N' word doesn’t sound right from Akon. Sure the point gets across in nearly every song the work "konvict" gets thrown around. I Wanna *** You is more affected on the radio cut, which the word is substituted for "love.” Snoop instantly adds pimp to the song, but the lyrics take away from what could have been a decent track. Pole grinding lyrics seem to be more like an "I'm In Luv With A Stripper" all over again.
But here comes the bright side. The heavier half of the album relies on ballads. Akon's voice feels more comfortable in a relaxed reggae like atmosphere. Which also shows the albums depth. It's more than twelve tracks of Smack That's which was what I had expected. Each track has a different flow. Akon has proved to be a well-developed producer, as he mixes and makes most of his beats himself. With the production so slick, makes listening easy to get into. Never Took The Time has some rock flavor and easily can make for a smart single choice. Which also some Phil Collins influences can be heard. Akon as well knows how to write good catchy pop choruses’, even if he has to use samples. Once In A While has an outside female sample used for its chorus, it fits for the mood. Don't Matter sounds like a direct R. Kelly "Ignition" copy cat, but the song is heartfelt and an anthem for today's generation.
Akon seems to be too busy for his own good. Now that he had featured top artist to catapult him to star status, he seems to be using it to give a helping hand to many artists. More than 40 different collaborations in the past year with artists like T-Pain, T.I., Bone Thugs N Harmony, and many others, as well as producing many of the tracks. The rate this man is heading, he will be a dominant leech on pop culture in the future. Soulful vocals and well-hooked tracks makes this a tolerable release, though not groundbreaking. Pleasant in most places, though uneven. There are many similarities between Akon and R. Kelly, even down to the underage controversies. Akon delivers the guy's side of the ballads, rather than the Ushers and Ne-Yo's today. On the next car ride with uncultured pop thumpers, this should provide relief to the aching of the mix cd.
The Sludge's Thumb Up's:
Never Took The Time
Once In A While