Review Summary: While Aesop's fluid rhymes still take no prisoners through lyrical assaults on society, the album as a whole lacks the brilliantly cohesive and intent songwriting of previous releases, with a few notable exceptions.
2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Aesop Rock. Ian Matthias Bavitz. The two names seem to be alter-egos of one another, not unlike Clark Kent and Superman. On one hand, you have Ian, the white Boston University graduate, and on the other, you have Aesop Rock, the intellectual hip-hop superhero, brimming with swagger. For this reason, Aesop Rock's infectiously complex raps are all the more appealing - he's an anomaly within the genre. As shown throughout his discography, his incomparable flow alone can transfigure an otherwise mediocre song into something special. Unfortunately, this quality of Aesop seems to be the crutch holding up the majority of this album. Most of the tracks themselves are quite repetitive and fail to build or expand, resulting in a lack of potential from the start, regardless of the rapping quality. Nonetheless, tracks such as "Fast Cars", "Zodiaccupuncture", and "Holy Smokes" prove to be all-around superb tracks, saving the album from mediocrity.
It's not that the instrumental and structural aspects of the album sound bad, per se - they're just extraordinarily average. Very few melodic lines are remotely catchy - let alone to a level in comparison with those on Labor Days. Furthermore, the album seems far too inhuman in its arrangements for its own good. Each song seems to be a direct product of "cut and paste" tactics in GarageBand, or a similar music production program. This flaw is most clearly evident in "Rickety Rackety", perhaps the weakest track on the album, in which Aesop and two guest rappers trade off back and forth over monotonous beats for an antagonizing four and a half minutes. However, the entire album isn't this bad - songs such as "Fast Cars" do seem to develop and flow in a natural way - it's just wildly inconsistent. However, what is consistent throughout is Aesop's flow, brimming with wittily offensive creativity.
From the interludes of female moaning accompanied by..."the sounds of love," for lack of a better term, in "Food, Clothes, Medicine", to the cold and calculated religion bashing festival of "Holy Smokes", Mr. Bavitz lets you know that Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives was not intended to be the soundtrack to your grandmother's next neighborhood game of bridge. Rather, it's a clear portrait of today's youth who attempts to question all traditional values, and reflects this in a lucidly analytical fashion. Aesop not only captures the thoughts, but also the attitude. And, of course, his lyrics are as cryptic as ever - but, when studied in a literary manner, Ian proves to be quite the intellectual, masterfully interweaving numerous literary devices with philosophical revelations. Aesthetically speaking, Aesop is less afraid on this album to "conform" to a more standard rapping style and voice when appropriate or necessary, but rest assured, he rocks his trademark swagger plenty throughout the vast majority of the album.
In short, if you're looking to get into Aesop Rock, it may be in your best interest to look elsewhere (try Labor Days, or just check out "Holy Smokes" from this album). In the context of Aesop Rock's discography as a whole, this is a fairly weak release - it just doesn't have the bravado of his other albums. But, in the grand scheme of things, this is a fun, intelligent example of modern hip-hop that is certainly worth checking out.
Very good review. I pos'd, but if you want to make it better...
"Very few melodic lines are remotely catchy - let alone to level comparable to Labor Days"
Should be "let alone to level in comparison with those on Labor Days"
I used to do this as well, that comma should be outside of the quotation marks.
"However, the entire album isn't this bad, as songs such as "Fast Cars" do seem to develop and flow in a natural way; the album is just wildly inconsistent."
It might make it better if you changed this to "However, the entire album isn't this bad - as songs such as "Fast Cards" do seem to develop and flow in a natural way - it's just wildly inconsistent."
"was not intended to be the soundtrack to your grandmother's next neighborhood game of bridge"
I like this.
"Rather, it's a clear soundtrack of the today's society-transcending youth, questioning all traditional values."
Three things wrong with this - first, take out the "the" in between "of" and "today's". Secondly, you just used soundtrack in the previous sentence. I'm not sure if another word applies as aptly, but if you could change that, do so. Lastly, I'm not sure when you say "questioning all traditional values" if you mean the record itself questions all traditional values or if the society-transcending youth question all traditional values. If it's the first one change it to "Rather, it's a clear soundtrack of today's society-transcending youth that questions all traditional values" if it's the second, change it to "Rather, it's a clear soundtrack of today's society-transcending youth who question all traditional values."
"Ian proves to be quite the intellectual, masterfully interweaving numerous literary devices with philosophical revelations"
"plenty through the vast majority of the album."
Should be "throughout" I believe.
"But, in the grand hip-hop scheme of things, this is a pretty solid album. "
Change this to "But, in the grand scheme of hip-hop, this is a pretty solid album."
Also, you might wanna bridge the last two sentences together, as the last one reads bluntly.
You also did a very good job summing things up clearly and smoothly in your conclusion. Good job. (thumbsup)
^yeah, agreed Labor Days and Float are my favorites (well, Float and None Shall Pass are pretty close) but I said this and None Shall Pass for the accessibility factor.
Labor Days is definitely his masterpiece though. He needs to come out with something new, the beats on the last Felt album were so good, I almost wish Aesop had just used that record for his solo stuff.