Danny Brown
Atrocity Exhibition


5.0
classic

Review

by S.E. Murphy USER (6 Reviews)
September 29th, 2016 | 1736 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is the way, step inside.

I will admit, I’m a little worried for Danny Brown.

It’s a natural reaction. Upon my first listen of Atrocity Exhibition, I found it hard to think about anything besides the album’s encapsulating atmosphere. It’s dreary, and half of the beats sound like scraps from a straight-to-TV movie about a suburban Halloween gone awry. The sound of the drums are deep and loose, giving off a drug-laden industrial vibe. The lyrics are hedonistic (a sort of buzzword when it comes to Brown) and almost entirely dolled-up in overt nihilism. A little misanthropy here, a little xenophobia there. It’s odd, it’s pretty incredible, and yes, the Joy Division influence comes through in spades--more-so than simply the album title. What’s most apparent though is not the influence of Joy Division, nor is it the proposed “post-punk rap” that some have chosen to wrap the album in (it’s hard to disagree, considering the album’s consistently impressive bassline). No, the most jarring aspect of this record is the undercurrent of emotion that runs like wiry static throughout the whole damned thing.

It’s really sad, it’s really angry, there’s a song about getting high that could become a cult classic, and it’s all here in this weird, writhing package and it’s probably going to be the best album this year has to offer. And that’s not a settling; oh boy, is it far from it. Let’s be clear, there’s not a wasted moment on this record. Every song is hugely diverse from the next, whilst still maintaining a flawless cohesion. Whatever song comes next just makes sense. Even on Atrocity Exhibition’s most star-studded track, “Really Doe” (featuring the rather stacked talents of Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, and let’s not forget, Black Milk), reality rears its ugly head; rooting even the posse’s most outlandish claims to the earth. The song is something of a perfect contrast, and what follows it is a middle-section that can only be described as awesome in the most biblical sense of the word. “Ain’t It Funny”, “Golddust”, “White Lines”, “Pneumonia”, “Dance in the Water”; all warped, party-fueled fever dreams that thrust the album unto a level of creative wit with no-holds-barred insanity. The production is insane.

And, as we’ve seen on some of the recent hip-hop outings in 2016 (yes The Divine Feminine, yes Coloring Book), it’s easier than ever for artists to get lost in the weight of their own work. The production talks over them and their guest artists talk louder than all--and, in the end, it becomes hard to distinguish if the artist at the helm is the maestro of his own work, or a curator of others’. There’s no debating that on Atrocity Exhibition. Danny Brown thrives atop the scatterbrain production of each track, finding new ways to piece his flow together in the strangest of ways. Arguably the least-accessible song, the album’s opener “Downward Spiral” at times can hardly even be labeled as rap. Instead, raucous drums stumble their way into oblivion and Brown squawks incongruently, a man unhinged from too many benders and too few benzos.

But, despite the determined nature of the album’s closer, “Hell For It”, I left this album worried. Not for its lasting power or longterm appeal, nor for what others would think, but for Danny Brown as a person. What he’s given us is something that, in due time, will be remembered as a masterpiece--the album really is that good. But I don’t want to remember Danny Brown how we remember Ian Curtis; I don’t want such comparisons to pervade mortality. To kill himself would be the dour note, easily predicted and a natural extension of whatever has come forth, with all his work amounting to what? A final, artistic statement?--or perhaps, a gesture marred and controlled by the overwhelming pressure of an ultimate relief?

I don’t know, honestly. I just hope he ends up okay.



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user ratings (698)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Chris Maitland (4.5)
Welcome to Danny Brown's personal hell....

RaymondPelayo (5)
Atrocity Exhibition is a masterpiece of emotion...

Kyle McCluskey (4)
"And it's the downward spiral--got me suicidal, but too scared to do it so these pills'll be the rif...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
FullOfSounds
September 29th 2016


11406 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

man i cant wait to hear this

excellent review

Digging: Snow Ghosts - A Wrecking

Ryus
September 29th 2016


13001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

opener and aint it funny are prob the best

TheMrAlexK
September 29th 2016


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Aye this finally got a review

Flugmorph
September 29th 2016


14007 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

is it tho

Digging: Sepultura - Machine Messiah

iloveyouall
September 29th 2016


6320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this don't bop what the fuck?

theNateman
September 29th 2016


2525 Comments


Is danny supposed to bop?

Flugmorph
September 29th 2016


14007 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

bloop

newsteamchannel4
September 29th 2016


21 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

for some reason the album titles won't italicize but w/e.



thanks for the positive words @fullofsounds

Rowan5215
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2016


37731 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like how you humanised this review, pos. Album's crazed

ConcubinaryCode
September 29th 2016


3888 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nvm ya

dihstyle69
September 29th 2016


5 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

dope review, best album since tpab imo

dathvada321
September 29th 2016


1811 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Incredible record. AOTY so far for me.

Lucid
September 29th 2016


7490 Comments


"A little misanthropy here, a little xenophobia there"
what's xenophobic here?

iloveyouall
September 29th 2016


6320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

danny brown is actually a xenophobic ejaculation side project did you know

LotusFlower
September 29th 2016


12002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I hope this is the album that dethrones terminal redux

TheMrAlexK
September 29th 2016


6252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Probably won't happen because it isn't m/etal

50iL
September 29th 2016


2442 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This isn't as good as TR but it certainly gives it a run for its money.

Weird albums to compare, btw.

Digging: Necrophagist - Onset of Putrefaction

Sinternet
September 29th 2016


11427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

god knows something has to after bladee failed us

Digging: Say Hi - The Wishes And The Glitch

Anthracks
September 29th 2016


5759 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Aoty aoty aoty

Digging: David Bowie - No Plan

iloveyouall
September 29th 2016


6320 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

bladee >>>>> danny brown

fuck off everyone that disagrees



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