Review Summary: If Melrose Place had a soundtrack… you’d be better off listening to that.
Watching Murs’ albums regress in quality since Murray’s Revenge
has been tough, but as the old analogy goes: it's a car accident – you know it’s bad, but damn near impossible to avert your eyes. Both Murs For President
had a few redeeming tracks, and the mercurial rapper still possessed a small amount of his signature charismatic charm (even if his rhymes were far from inspired). Unfortunately with Melrose
, it’s not cute anymore.
After a rough start, the album actually shows a small amount of promise as both “We’ve Got Something” and “Ding Dong” (yes, that’s the actual name of the song) sport catchy beats and some verses that don’t completely render the tracks unlistenable. Yet the ride goes downhill quickly from there. As it progresses, Melrose
devolves into a litany of hip-hop clichés and generic rhyme-schemes. It’s tough to gauge exactly what Murs is trying to accomplish through this collaboration album with Terrace Martin (one of the worst rappers to come out of L.A. in a minute, though he does have some cred as a producer). On one hand, the beats are very reminiscent of the latest trends in backpack rap: electronic-based and light on traditional samples (think Odd Future or Cool Kids). But on the other hand, Murs and Terrace Martin are spitting single-syllable, not-even-clever rhymes about chasing tail on the strip, which wouldn’t really be out of the ordinary if it was 1993. The worst offense of all is that they sound like they aren’t even trying. While part of that could be the fact that Martin sounds like that guy in your high school gym class that does the “awesome Snoop Dogg impression,” this lack of effort from Murs is somewhat surprising and definitely appalling.
To put it frankly, the production on Melrose
isn’t exactly breathtaking, but the album would have definitely been better served as a collection of instrumentals (or, the soundscape for a more vital rapper at this point). While the music lacks variety at times, every so often a musical flourish will pop up and catch the ear off guard (see the Parliament-esque synths in “Ding Dong” or the saxophone in “Dandruff”); but rest assured, whenever an occurrence such as this takes place Murs or Terrace will swiftly kick it in the groin before the listener can extract much enjoyment.
It’s sad that the same rapper who laid out such consistently captivating verses on albums like 3:16
and The End of the Beginning
seems to have completely lost his touch – it may be time for Murs to hang up the proverbial sneakers. Only hardcore fans need apply.