P.O.S.
Never Better


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
February 4th, 2009 | 431 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Recession, poverty, an eternal winter – Minneapolis has never been better.

Certain pretentious publications expound a synthesis of punk and hip-hop somewhere within the boundaries of Never Better; armed with a pitchfork to feed their cattle generalities from a hay bale of wordiness, they’re only partially correct. In his latest album, POS further expands his career; a promise of cohesion on the decent Audition made this potential apparent, especially looking back to the mediocre Ipecac Neat. A quick Wikipedia search yields troves of common blogosphere knowledge on the topic of Stefon Alexander – POS was a punk rocker, POS has different meanings for his name, POS is political. While ultimately self-defining to realize where one is from, these things do not define artistic representation. Guess what? POS is a rapper, and Never Better is an excellent hip-hop album.

The most apparent difference from the Audition of three years ago lies within the unique production here. While Dalek’s Gutter Tactics was supposed to be the dissonant masterpiece of 2009, POS makes his own case for consideration with the noisy-come-melodic “Let It Rattle”, heavily dynamic “Purexed”, soulful “Been Afraid”, old-school influenced “Savion Glover” (yes the tap dancing one), and generally well-structured compositions. Both Doomtree-repping Lazerbeak and Paper Tiger lend their services to make the final listen a completely varied, yet tasteful effort, injecting a decidedly Doomtree-flavored spice to the recipe (see first single “Goodbye” for a perfect example – crew dedication “Low Light Low Life” is almost too much of a spotlight theft, but still interesting in its own right). Ultimately, most tracks careen into a near epic quality; the closer “The Brave And The Snake” exudes this perfectly, straddling a fine line between chaos and beauty by contrasting quiet flutes with explosive cymbal crashes and heavy bass lines.

Lyrically, Alexander is socially critical, angry, and abstract – the true punk-rock influence is here, as these lines are constructed specifically to make everyone pissed off. “Never Better” makes the sarcastic nature of the album title clear, without bludgeoning listeners with generality. The weapon of choice in combating the machine is an aggressive and heavily spoken word saturated flow. While at times bouncy and melodic, this technique is effective in capturing the impact of rapid-fire verses and multi-syllabic rhymes. Still a rapper, this commanding understanding of poetry and poetic devices is very refreshing and proves to be very entertaining in a live setting with the beats turned off. Inverting popular phrases to juxtapose with criticism of pop-culture and materialism, POS sees near-dystopian America digging their own “Graves” – “thoughts convertible, that’s what I’m on / keep livin’ in your box, what is that, a Scion? / Cool, it’s all fool’s gold ask me / what’s the goal fool dig deep, like six feet.”

With an unreal spring release schedule on the horizon, it’s hard to say whether or not Never Better will stand up to the rest of 2009. But here’s a hypothesis… POS will end up on almost every year-end hip-hop list. Regardless, if POS is the next big thing out of Minnesota or not, it doesn’t matter – he raps for his friends, fam, and pride (although, the cash is probably a nice side-effect). Go to his show this tour, and only pass judgment after bullshitting amidst cigarette smoke, frozen precipitation, and a nice glass of whole milk.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
withintention
February 4th 2009


297 Comments


Good review, and I definitely agree. I'm seeing him on the 11th with a friend, should be sick.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 4th 2009


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

his live show is pretty much awesome... one of the best hip-hop experiences you'll have. i never thought he was that awesome until this album.
check it out here folks: http://www.myspace.com/pos

AlexTM510
February 4th 2009


1404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review =) certainly will check this out

I really need to expand on my hip-hop tastes tbh-so I really appreciate your reviews/tastes to contour all the metalheads on this site =P so thanks.

Digging: Bent Knee - Shiny Eyed Babies

BallsToTheWall
February 4th 2009


44803 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album/review.

Digging: Pink Turns Blue - If Two Worlds Kiss

thunderzstruck
February 4th 2009


148 Comments


ah man ive been streaming this and its been really fucking good. "Savion Glover" and "Hand Made Gun" really stick out for me. His live shows are pretty awesome too

This makes me really fucking excited for Soundset 09. fuck yeah

JizzInMyPants
February 4th 2009


2377 Comments


this is one talented motherfucker

foreverendeared
February 4th 2009


14678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm likin this a LOT

CushMG15
February 4th 2009


1803 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I never checked this cat out until now, but I'm really liking this right now. I might hit up his show in Madison. Great review.

thaseten
February 4th 2009


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review, though I would disagree that Audition is a better album than Ipecac Neat. Unlike Audition, this album manages to capture the roar that resonates through Ipecac without losing itself in pricier production values as Audition did. This Message Edited On 02.04.09This Message Edited On 02.04.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 4th 2009


20857 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Strong review Sobhi. I had a little giggle at the Pitchfork comments in the intro too.

TricksterGRex
February 4th 2009


2087 Comments


Great review. Real quality hip hop right here.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 4th 2009


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks guys.
keep your eyes peeled for an interview possibly. we'll see how it works out, considering he goes on tour tomorrow... but here's to hoping.
if you dont like this at first, i highly recommend giving it a few more listens. there's a lot more going on here than at face value; it's a real grower.
thaseten, that's definitely a valid argument, but i prefer the more streamlined feel of audition. ipecac just doesn't do anything for me... but audition caught my attention for a solid couple weeks.

dukes
February 4th 2009


133 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this is a great album, and the packaging is insane

MassiveAttack
February 4th 2009


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was a fantastic review. A+ I'm checking this out as of now!

rasputin
February 4th 2009


14555 Comments


Fantastic review. I really enjoyed the album.This Message Edited On 02.04.09

Zippermouth
February 5th 2009


1305 Comments


Drumroll kicks ass.

gaslightanthem
February 5th 2009


5209 Comments


yeah this is good

JumpTheF**kUp
February 5th 2009


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i am going to listen to this

withintention
February 5th 2009


297 Comments


do it

botb
February 5th 2009


9760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

friggin really good rapper tbh

Digging: Solstafir - tta



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