Review Summary: Donuts, J Dilla's last completed album before he past away, is a great album to have in your repertoire.
Unlike my previous reviews, I won't go over (in detail) every track this album offers, since there's 31 tracks to cover... instead, I'll give a one sentence review for most tracks, but my personal favorites will get two to three sentences. However, if you need to get to bottom line (this isn't a short overall review), then skip to end of this review for the conclusion and my recommendations.
: It's cool and interesting to have an outro as the intro to the album (also the shortest track on the album), but it's a cool track nonetheless.
: The longest track of the album (almost 3 mins), but definitely deserved to be. It's completely fleshed out, and makes on wonder what J Dilla could have produced if he lived longer. An album highlight.
: This track sounds like one's on an drug trip, but that's a good thing.
Light My Fire
: Very fun track. With the repeated "C'mon baby light my fire" (not sung by the Doors, but probably the lyric came from them), I wish it could've lasted longer.
: Almost like the listener has entered a circus... everything about this song feels like you are in a circus
: Another album highlight. The music and lyrics alone could have made this song a great single. Also, at 0:59, a genius pause of the song is placed after the singer sings "Stop"... very clever.
: Very mellow, almost feel like I'm traveling in a jungle, with the insistent congos, echoes, and dubbed music
: Nice track... very summer-like feel with the combo of the horns and bright piano.
: The intro is very creepy, but the rest is pleasant with this piano-driven track
Time: The Donuts of the Heart
: Very lovely track, and is used in "Can't Stop This" on The Roots' latest album, Game Theory
. Another album highlight.
: A decent, horn-laden track, but seems to wander pointlessly.
: This track is interesting in a good way, and the singer almost seems to be singing "Gay Love," but probably isn't at all.
: After a spoken intro, the beat comes in and completely mesmerizes the listener, especially when the singer finally comes in midway in the track. Such a wonderfully executed track.
Stepson of the Clapper
: A drum track that, unfortunately, also seems to wander pointlessly.
The Twister (Huh, What)
: A kaleidoscope of different songs and beats within this one minute, seventeen second track.
: This track (coincidentally also 1:11 long) sounds sad with those strings and the forlorn vocals.
Two Can Win
: Here begins the best sequenced portion of the album, starting with this track. Using most likely a Jackson 5 track and altering the main vocals to sound like Minnie Riperton, it's done successfully. An album highlight.
: This track almost seems like J Dilla telling everyone to "don't cry" before his passing... and the production seems to suit this feeling. The music, if not depressing, is trying to be comforting as well as the lyric "I can't stand, to see you cry." Another album highlight.
: Let me put this upfront: This is the best track of the album. I love that this track is guitar-and-drum driven. And I also love that it's probably this track could be released as is without anything added to it. This track is just brilliant.
: After the aforementioned track, this one, although not as great, still holds its own. The trippy sounds (sped-up strings?, sped-up harps?) mixed with the heavy guitar makes this track another album highlight (I know... so many, right?). However, this ends the best portion of the album.
: This track is OK, but it's not as enjoyable as most of the tracks.
: The only horn-driven track that doesn't make much as an impression, unfortunately.
One for Ghost
: This track (which was used by Ghost
face Killah on Fishscale
) is decent, but sounds much better on Fishscale
Dilla Says Go
: This track sounds cool, with the glockenspiel (bells) and strings usage.
: With the violins accenting the depressed vocal of a singer, this track is wonderfully done. Yet another album highlight.
: This is an interesting piece, with an electronic sound dominating the song completely.
: "Just because I really love you" is the main lyric from this nice, light track, with the horns and light piano.
: Also used in Ghostface Killah's Fishscale
, this track is very bass-driven... and that's all that need to be said.
: This track has a funeral vibe to it, but this is a good thing in the context. With the vocal singing "Don't ever say bye" and the music in a lazy mood, it just feels
The last album highlight on the album.
Last Donut of the Night
: The penultimate (second-to-last) track on the album, and it is nicely placed.
: Funny that the intro is truly the outro, but it definitely fits in its position.
All in all, this is an excellent album, but I do have several reasons why this isn't a 4.5, or superb album. Several tracks are lacking in quality (Glazed, Gobstopper, Stepson of the Clapper), since they seem to be half-completed efforts that didn't (or couldn't) get the time it needed to make it better. Also, since the album is less than 45 minutes, some tracks, like Light My Fire, or The New, could be expounded upon. However, the many album highlights minimized these flaws, especially the pure brilliance of Anti-American Graffiti, Stop!, and Workinonit. So, if you heard any of J Dilla's work, and you either liked it or disliked it, then this album won't change your opinion. However, if you are in need of an (mainly) instrumental album, then definitely give this album a listen... you may like it.
TheSaneLunatic's Top Ten Recommendations:
1. Anti-American Graffiti
4. Don't Cry
5. Geek Down
8. Two Can Win
9. Time: Donuts of the Heart