Review Summary: On BBNG2, the trio shows huge strides in songwriting, while also showing some of the best covers the group has ever done.
Rejection is a feeling that no one wants to experience. Whether it be getting rejected by a girl, or getting rejected by a college or university; it is always an awful experience. BADBADNOTGOOD, a Canadian jazz trio, had to experience some rejection themselves in their music career. They not only were rejected, but they were rejected by their own instructors about the music they were playing. The story goes that the trio played a song based off of an Odd Future track for a panel of their jazz instructors, who claimed that the piece had no musical value. Most artist at that point would just call it quits right there, but that's not what happened to BADBADNOTGOOD. They released the track on YouTube, and Tyler, the Creator of all people found it. He praised the video, and actually helped it go viral. Tyler actually probably helped BADBADNOTGOOD have a career, so even though you might not like him or enjoy his music, he has actually had impact in the music career of many musicians. Now they are proving wrong jazz critics everywhere. They have released two full length albums, and are continuing to get critical acclaim from all different types of critics. They continue to hit it big with their hip-hop fused with jazz sound on their second LP entitled BBNG2.
On their first release BBNG, original songs were very scarce. Most of BBNG are covers of different kinds of songs the group enjoys. However, original songs are a different story on BBNG2. On BBNG2 almost half of the tracks are originals, so you get to see a bit of a new side of the group on this album. Their most popular original track on here is easily Rotten Decay. The song is really just a constant build up to the chorus. It starts out with very slow and eerie piano and bass, and just keeps getting more and more upbeat. By the time you get to the chorus, the piano playing just gets out of this world good. The chorus is almost like one big piano solo, and it all just sounds phenomenal. Rotten Decay is easily my favorite of the original tracks. The original track CHSTR is also very good. It features very technical and obscure drumming throughout the entire song, along with some interesting sounds coming from what sounds like a synthesizer. Other than those two, I really wasn't into the other originals on this album. Even though DMZ had some great piano, the track as a whole just didn't really get me interested. The song Vices is easily my least favorite track on the entire album. It never really does much else besides create an eerie vibe with the slow piano playing, which for me translates into a snore fest. Overall, the original tracks improve greatly from the previous release, and start to show loads of new-found potential with the band's songwriting ability.
The band BADBADNOTGOOD isn't really known for their originals. They've always been known for their fantastic covers, and this album is full of them. The album kicks off with a cover of the song Earl by Earl Sweatshirt, and it really gets the album going on the right foot. The track has some great drumming and very hard hitting bass, but what really impresses me on this track is the incredibly distorted synthesizer usage. It just makes the track way more intense sounding. There is even a saxophone feature here by Leland Whitty, but I was never a fan of it. It sounds out of place for the song's intense vibe, and it kind of throws you off course. That wasn't the only OF cover on here. There was also a Gucci Mane and Tyler, the Creator mash-up with the song Bastard/Lemonade. The track had always been around with the group, but this is the first time it has been featured on an LP. The song starts out very slow and almost creepy with the vibe set out with the Bastard cover, but when the Lemonade cover comes around, the group goes nuts. They all are pretty much playing as fast as they can, but they still manage to make it sound great. I especially like the grooves that come right after the Lemonade beat, which is pretty much the piano going crazy while the bass keeps everything in tact with a hard-hitting steady beat. Overall a very interesting and fun song, which also happens to be one of the longest on the album. The track that probably had everyone scratching their head was the My Bloody Valentine cover of the song You Made Me Realize. The track, a lot like the song Bastard/Lemonade, features the group going nuts again. This time they sound much more organized. The drumming is a lot faster, but the bass and piano play at more of a technical slower pace. There is even a featured guitar solo on here that fits perfectly with the song. It isn't too overbearing like the saxophone solo was, but it still is very good.
Even though all covers are good, the best two are easily the Kanye West cover of the song Flashing Lights, and the James Blake cover of the song CMYK. The Flashing Lights cover is an epic seven minute song, and it is interesting and catchy every step of the way. There is even a string section on here that is pretty much to die for, especially when the strings mash up with the bass and hard hitting drum playing. Overall it is just a beautiful cover that is sure to impress any jazz critic. The CMYK is easily the most catchy and infectious tracks on this LP. Like most tracks I have talked about on this album, the piano playing again is phenomenal, especially towards the end of the track. The synthesizer, even though it wasn't used very much, gives the song some great heavy sounding bass in the chorus of the track. One of my favorite songs off the album, and maybe even my favorite song every done by them.
BADBADNOTGOOD's second LP shows more potential in songwriting, some phenomenal features and cover tracks, and of course shows the band's talent as a whole begin to grow more. The band's future is extremely bright, and it is going to take a lot more than a couple of jazz instructors to bring them down.