Review Summary: If you can bring yourself to sift through the clutter you will find some great rewards down deep.
Odds are if you grew up in the 90’s like I did you know the main single off this album, “What It’s Like.” This song was all over the radio in 1998 when it became the lead single for Everlast’s second solo album after he left the hip-hop group House of Pain. While it is a great song in its own right, it doesn’t entirely fit in with the rest of Whitey Ford Sings the Blues just because it seems to be the only song of its kind you’ll find on this record. If you’ve heard this song and remember the underlining of the acoustic guitar over Everlast raps and want to remember that for its brilliance then leave this album alone. Everlast seems to have gotten confused while writing this album because you have gems like “What It’s Like”, “Praise The Lord”, and “7 Days” and complete failures like “Money (Dollar Bill)” and “Painkillers.”
After listening to the album opener I already had no hopes for this album. Apparently Everlast dubbed himself the white boy and guess what? He’s back and for some reason he never smoked crack! “Money (Dollar Bill)” just gives you a starting point for you to understand where Everlast went wrong. After leaving House of Pain he wanted to pursue his solo career full time and create a follow up to his 1990 solo debut. This song just shows that he truly didn’t really leave that whole gangsta rap genre. When compared to songs like “What It’s Like”, “Ends” and “7 Years” it’s just completely different and really takes away from the album as a whole due to its difference of genre and song structure.
The second song of the album “Ends” is truly terrific. It really shows the talent that Everlast used to have and possibly wasted on his earlier efforts. It has his signature acoustic guitar lines perfectly melded with his kick back blues-hip-hop that he is known for. Of course the lead single “What It’s Like” is the best song off the album. For those of you who recognize this song, yes it’s the same one you heard on the radio in your early years along with Matchbox Twenty and Hootie and the Blowfish. If Everlast had the ambition to craft an album made of guitar driven, bluesy hip-hop such as this song, he might have actually hit it big, possibly with more than a #1 single.
While most of this album is overrun with bland, gangsta rap attempts, there are some quality songs in between the clutter. “Hot to Death” sports a pretty electric guitar riff in the chorus that seems to keep things moving along well but with the sub-par lyrical content, there really is no hope in saving this track. Same goes for “Painkillers” which is actually worse because it doesn’t have anything to keep it fresh. It’s just the same regurgitated song over and over again. The best song on the album that doesn’t have some guitar work in it is going to be “Praise The Lord.” While it does bother me when he calls himself “Whitey” because let’s face he isn’t the only white rapper on the planet, this song for some reason is catchy and tends to sit in the back of my mind when I think of this album. It’s got a fairly repetitive beat with a piano riff that keeps the song bouncy and memorable. He goes back to his guitar with “Today (Watch Me Shine)” which is quite refreshing after listening to some of the previous tracks of non-stop pathetic attempts at being tough and “hard.”
The ending to this album is pretty forgettable aside from “The Letter” which features a fantastic short, piano driven track that has Everlast rapping in a storytelling sense giving you the ups and downs of general life. While it is short and concise it just stands out because it’s really the style of music that really helps Everlast stand out against the rest. “7 Years” has a serious blues feel to it. With more piano once again it has the ability to please just about any music fan. Incorporating brass along with some actually singing versus rapping, it could just be the song to define Everlast as an artist. As previously stated there is quite a bit of trash scattered about, just do yourself a favor and listen to the few gems that are presented here. It may take a while to sift through what is good and what isn’t but don’t you worry the rewards will speak or should I say rap for themselves.
What It's Like
Praise The Lord