Review Summary: In an effort to please everybody this album ultimately satisfies nobody
In his major label debut, Murs tries to be all things to all people meaning that everyone will find something that they like in this album but won't get enough of what they want. After albums where he worked exclusively with one producer he reaches out to variety of beatmakers with mixed results. It may have seemed that his collaborations with 9th Wonder were getting stale but on this album the three tracks produced by 9th are definite highlights and the chemistry between the two is undeniable.
A collaboration with new labelmate Will.i.am is an attempt at radioplay and leaves you wondering if this is the same rapper from 3:16 or much less The End of the Beginning when you hear Will.i.iam's "People in the front let me see your head bobble" towards the end of the track which contains an equally corny sample of "Theme from Green Hornet". Soul samples like "I Wanna Be Where You Are" by Michael Jackson on the 9th Wonder-esque "Can It Be" work nicely as does the work by 9th himself who while not doing anything new does what he does very well: catchy soul based beats.
Hearing "Road Is My Religion" reminds me why I like Murs in the first place, instead of glamorizing the life of a performer (like most rappers do) he talks about how tough that life is "Home for one month then gone for two more". He gives the listener a peak behind the curtain of what it's like to constantly be on the road over a Mr. Khaliyl beat with synth sounds a bit reminiscent of El-P. He's at his best when he's being honest and shows real emotions like on the beautiful "A Part of Me" and "Break Up (The OJ Song)" were he talks about relationship troubles."Break Up (The OJ Song)" in particular with a sample from Anthony Hamilton's "Charlene" surprisingly not produced by 9th Wonder is a standout track "Everything I do it reminds me of you/ Eveything I see it reminds me of we" truly being real and not being afraid to show his softer side. A major part of Murs' appeal has always been the fact that he's such a down to earth regular guy but attempts to broaden his fanbase like "Sooo Comfortable" and "Time Is Now" feat. Snoop Dogg longtime Murs fans are left scratching their heads.
Some of the weaker tracks include both Nottz's contributions "Me and This Jawn" and "Think You Know Me" the latter with its chorus "You might that you know me you know where I'm coming from you might think everything's all good but at the end of the day you're all wrong" is downight cringe-worthy. The majority of this album seems like a departure for Murs but album closer "Breakthrough" produced by 9th Wonder ends the album on a high note.
This album is more of a sample platter than a full meal meaning that it seems great at first glance because there so many different things on it but once you sort through what you DON'T like, what's left is not enough to satiate your hunger. Ultimately there is not enough of what Murs' fans have come to expect from him but tracks like "I'm Innocent" and "The Science" are reminders of what Murs is great at: storytelling, talking about what's wrong with the world and trying to make it a better place. The album title is ironic in that this is Murs' major label debut and like a presidential candidate you must make some compromises to get to please certain people but you run the risk of alienating others