Review Summary: Overall this is an extremely well done and brilliant debut album from a band that honestly should be more famous and popular it is presently. The lyrics are very well written and meaningful, and pertain to real life problems. This isn't an album that gr1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Riding In Fast Cars With Your Momma is the debut album from the Champaign Illinois Live Band Hip Hop group Animate Objects. The use of a backing band with hip hop is becoming a more illustrious way of distinguishing yourself from other groups and bands, while adding a new element to a style of music that is extremely technology based. It's not hard to see why more groups are taking this musical approach as it allows a group collective to share their own influences, creating a more full and round sound. The biggest influence is obviously the Philadelphia based group The Roots, who's unique sound helped them pierce the mainstream bubble and give people a starting point for an incredibly well developed style of hip hop.
The first thing you will notice is the lack of the typical mainstream "gangsta" fascination that has been the focus on most mainstream hip hop in the last two decades. The first line in the song "The Weight" starts with "This is real Hip Hop music/ from the soul". The song then goes into a spoken word delivery from CZAR Absolute talking about how if he could tell you about all the things that make up the subject matter of mainstream hip hop (i.e. drugs, promiscuity, commercialism, consumerism, and violence) he would, but can't because those are all things he does not posses. Right there, you're given an idea of what the album is going to be like, this isn't a stereotypical hip hop album this is a thinking man's album. It only gets better as the song transitions into the titular "Riding In Fast Cars With Your Momma" which talks about bringing the soul back into a style of music that has been continuously used to push merchandise and false ideas onto a impressionable youth. Possibly the best song on the album "Phoenix" talks about how a deceased father can still be an inspirational figure in the shortcomings of life. The fifth track "Beautiful" is one of the slower, more melodic tracks, but does well in bringing to light that love can persevere as well as inspire you through the toughest parts of your life. The use of a violin in the background really helps add an extra element to the song. Lyrically, this album truly delivers, both inspiring and positive, something mainstream hip hop desperately needs.
As there is a full band in the background, it adds a whole other element to album. You'll often find yourself listening to each track twice, once to find the meanings behind the lyrics, then the other to just listen to the instrumentation. Sound wise, the album switches from a jazzy sound to funk in the songs. The transitions are well done and feel extremely natural. The music really does well on reflecting what CZAR Absolute is saying in the song, the slower songs like "Beautiful", "Midnight Blue", and "Phoenix" follow a more melodic slow style. Each instrument really feels like they're contributing equally and are all audible. The guitar never overpowers the bass, and the drums beat happily in the background, usually following a simplistic beat.
There really isn't much to criticize as it's a pretty flawless album to be honest. The only thing I can really think of has more to do with the instrumentation which can get a little repetitive at times. It's not necessarily a bad thing as the instrumentation really does seem to work well with the lyrics, and the structure of the song. However, for the most part it's extremely laid back, I felt that at least one high energy song would've been nice. Other than that miniscule complaint, the only other one I can think of is the overall length of some of the songs, which I felt were a little too short and could have been filled up more, either with an extra verse or some kind of an instrumental solo.