De La Soul
and the Anonymous Nobody...


4.5
superb

Review

by Nathaniel USER (22 Reviews)
August 29th, 2016 | 58 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Welcome back Messrs. Posdnous, Dave, and Maseo. It's good to have you home

It's been a long minute since we last heard from De La Soul. Their last album was in 2004, and they've been practically invisible to the mainstream (save for a couple inspired guest features with Gorillaz) ever since. Making a comeback from that long a hiatus should be difficult, especially in today's ADD addled give-me-a-new-sound-now Hip-hop climate. But De La Soul have a loving public to rely on and an air of genius about them. Having their album funded through Kickstarter was an inspired choice, as it allowed their fans to rise up in one voice and demand another LP and gave the group the freedom to explore and experiment in musical directions free from label pressure. The group turn their loan of $110,000 into an investment well paid for and deliver on the promise of a album worth hearing. Despite the fact that the album came together through loose and random improv jam sessions, And the Anonymous Nobody… ends up a resounding success. Over the course of an hour, De La Soul become chameleons, eschewing what could have been a formulaic but acceptable east coast rap record for sounds and styles far more unpredictable and obscure.

The album's greatest strength is its variety. We get a different style on every song, ranging from funky soul, to explosive 70's prog rock, to experimental art pop, then back to jazzy hip-hop and dreamy pop. The production is lush all around, incorporating tons of orchestral elements, full bands, clean synthesizer lines, and a general atmosphere so playful that it hearkens all the way back to the group's debut . The lyrical topics are as varied as the songs themselves, dealing from everything to corrupt governments to getting the attention of that hot babe on the bus. The eclecticism is a huge positive, as the change of styles, paces and moods is sure to keep even the most ADD of listeners interested.

As for the featured guests, all bring their A game. Even the lowest of the low here brings something great. Usher's verses on "Greyhound" are quite beautiful and really brings some soul to the tragic tale of lost dreams the song tells. Late album standout "Drawn" features Little Dragon in a vocally intricate trip hop slow burner about feeling worn thin. Damon Albarn's appearance in "Here in After" is sure to whet Gorillaz fans appetites for their new album with an approach that blends the sounds of Blur and Gorillaz with De La Soul's quite seamlessly. The best guest here though has to be Snoop Dogg's. His smooth flow and wordplay lend well to the hazy philosophizing found in his featured song, "Pain". A moment, though, must be taken to analyze the hard rock epic that is "Lord Intended". Beginning as a sludgy call back to Black Sabbath, it explodes in a display of Queen worship to amazing results and the last third's proggy guitar solo is as impressive as it is long. Justin Hawkins brings his best Ozzy Osbourne and Freddie Mercury impressions to the table, and paired up with De La's funky rapping makes for a surprisingly fun contrast not often successful or even seen in pop music.

Unfortunately, the flow of the album presents an obstacle. Not all of the songs work well back to back, and a couple songs stop right as they get going. A couple of the experiments don't work all that well either, such as the David Byrne featured song, "Snoopies" which pairs David's art rock verses and chorus with offbeat and sample heavy verses from De La that don't flow well at all even though it is interesting musically. The worst songs found here though are the ones where De La Soul experiments the least. "Sexy Bitch" and "Trainwreck" for example, are nice little ditties all by themselves but are uninteresting both lyrically and instrumentally in the scope of the whole album, and their placement disrupts the flow of the last third of the album, as their sharp stops are jarring and frankly a bit annoying.

And the Anonymous Nobody isn't going to be the most important hip-hop album this year, and it probably won't even chart on the billboard 200. But it doesn’t need to do so. What is important about it is that it supports freedom of music; the freedom to love, to experiment, to think outside the box. De La Soul are a crew that no longer needs to prove themselves to anyone. This album came together because of a love of music from everyone involved, from the fans to the guest artists. The variety of people featured here and a freedom from label restrictions allowed this record to be as weird and eclectic as the people involved, and this freedom is what mattered most in the end. That is why we got such a great record from De La Soul, because they're free. Today, that means the world.



Recent reviews by this author
Polyenso Pure In The PlasticHands Like Houses Dissonants
Twenty One Pilots Regional At BestThe Neighbourhood Wiped Out!
Barenaked Ladies GordonFrank Iero And The Patience Stomachaches
user ratings (59)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
theNateman
August 28th 2016


2838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

How do i indent my paragraphs?

Digging: Fleet Foxes - Crack-Up

LordePots
August 28th 2016


37225 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i have a hard time believing this will be 4.5 worthy

Digging: Ambassadeurs - Patterns

theNateman
August 28th 2016


2838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's easily one of the most solid releases i've heard all year.



that and i'm probably biased cuz i've become quite the De La Soul fanboy recently

laughingman22
August 29th 2016


2748 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Listened to the track featuring David Byrne, it was great. Will check out the whole thing soon

LordePots
August 29th 2016


37225 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i mean i love De La Soul i just haven't loved their recent material too much

theNateman
August 29th 2016


2838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Potsy this is worlds apart from their recent stuff

Davil667
August 29th 2016


2655 Comments


Damn, a new De La Soul record? That's really cool, will check.

Nice review Nate, have a pos.

PappyMason
August 29th 2016


5702 Comments


Nice one.

This is interesting me, will check it out.

Voltimand
August 29th 2016


653 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The best way to go into this album is to not expect a traditional rap album but an experimental project that celebrates creativity and craftsmanship.



Should be noted that all samples were created by De La and guest artists for this album with live instruments.

Digging: Arch Echo - Arch Echo

DinosaurJones
August 29th 2016


5339 Comments


Nice review. Definitely want to check this out.

PappyMason
August 29th 2016


5702 Comments


I didn't realise that their first few albums aren't on itunes and spotify because they can't now clear the samples

JAV
August 29th 2016


2679 Comments


I knew this was out but I guess I'll have to look into it now.


Voivod
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2016


7490 Comments


Used to jam Ring Ring Ring video hard

Digging: Decapitated - Anticult

oisincoleman64
August 29th 2016


2042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of the only albums of year I've had any interest in. Listening right now and it jams hard

oisincoleman64
August 29th 2016


2042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

People complaining about it's length. Of all the overblown overlong albums in 2016 this is one of the only that deserves it

theNateman
August 29th 2016


2838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^^this hard. Like the flow is wonky at times but never once did I become bored or tired while listening to it

oisincoleman64
August 29th 2016


2042 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Those last two songs tho

theNateman
August 29th 2016


2838 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Right??

Thank god for Damon Albarn

Voltimand
August 29th 2016


653 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

FUCK EVERYONE



BURN EVERYTHING

rabidfish
August 31st 2016


2619 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

jamming this atm and so far it's chill af dude.

Digging: Shelagh McDonald - Stargazer



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy