Anderson .Paak
Ventura


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
April 19th, 2019 | 31 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: can't a young man dream? can't we all live the life on a widescreen?

Anderson .Paak's decision to leave "'Til It's Over" and "Bubblin" as one-off singles, despite releasing two full albums in their timeframe, initially seemed a dumb one given their sheer quality and accessibility. In the former song, a personal and vulnerable singalong for the crowd lamenting missed connections and opportunities; in the latter, a stupid summer banger you can blast on every car ride with the bass cranked up. They seemed to many like instant locks for an album: in retrospect, the songs work as brief roadmaps of the two albums he'd go on to release, indicators that the whole thing was maybe a little more planned than the 'Ventura is damage control from Oxnard' narrative would suggest.

What I'm saying is, while "Bubblin" was a great primer for Oxnard's hedonistic, banger-oriented mindset, the delicate "'Til It's Over" was a perfect microcosm of Ventura. Not to say this album isn't also interested in the harder shit. Andre 3000's verse on the opener, the latest in a long long line of dumb, sensitive and beguilingly percussive bars, quickly establishes that Ventura isn't laying around feeling sorry for itself, even with the unexpectedly touching "I'm begging you please come home / no-one even begs anymore" refrain. But no one with as much game as Anderson .Paak goes the ballad route unless there's inherent justification: the wonderful "Make it Better", maybe the year's best pure R&B cut; the motivational and Pharrell-worshipping "Twilight"; even the blatant, borderline-cheesy romanticism of "Chosen One" betray a comfort with outright lovey-doveyness that the tryhard fun of Oxnard had no time for. Dr. Dre's mistake, maybe, was outsizing and bold-underlining Paak's sound when the rapper-singer-drummer can already make simple songs feel so full of life. Ventura is full of fascinating production left turns, like the proggy time signature switches in "Reachin' 2 Much" or the keys-heavy jam of "Yada Yada" barrelling straight into "King James", but it never feels desperate to adhere to any new sound or style.

Anderson .Paak splitting his shit-talking funny side and his sensitive crooner side into two albums was never as appealing a notion as it seemed. He's always best flicking them on and off like a light switch, as perfected on the all-time great transition between the ridiculous "Silicon Valley" and his best song, the heartfelt and timeless "Celebrate". This album is largely just content to be itself, and it's easy to imagine a superior album being made from sequencing it with the best of its predecessor. But there's a simple, unassuming quality that would be lost if you did, the same breeziness that made "Celebrate" so unforced and lovely - and anyway, when "Winners Circle" dips from a scat-jazz opening to a verse that makes you sit up and remember this man can fucking rap, it's more than enough adrenaline to ride to album's end. There's always something to be said for taking a swing for the fences, but when an artist's old sound fits like a glove and still feels like a breath of fresh air? Maybe staying where they're comfortable can be the boldest choice to make.



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user ratings (154)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jamdbz
April 19th 2019


336 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review as always



So happy he put this out. Oxnard was such a let down to me

botb
April 19th 2019


12980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hell yeah, glad this got a review. This has been on constant rotation.

bloc
April 19th 2019


55949 Comments


Just downloaded this yesterday, will check it soon

Digging: Paris - Sleeping with the Enemy

Relinquished
April 19th 2019


40260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

SOLID GOLD, BABY

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2019


42016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

JET BLACK HAIR BABY JET BLACK HAIR



(I should have taken time to mention that song specifically it fuckin goes)

Digging: Cave In - Final Transmission

Jamdbz
April 19th 2019


336 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So many ear worms on this

nolerthebowler
April 19th 2019


3683 Comments


So this album sounds like ‘Til it’s Over? Cuz that’s the best track he’s ever released. The synth harp riff in the chorus is mind-fuckingly tasty.

botb
April 19th 2019


12980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

If you like the jazzy r&b side of paak you’ll like this. Also, twilight is so infectious it’s just stupid

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


7157 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Some godawful songs but a stupendous improvement over Oxnard

Digging: State Faults - Clairvoyant

botb
April 19th 2019


12980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Which ones do you think are godawful I couldn’t name one off this

Slex
Contributing Reviewer
April 19th 2019


7157 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Honestly I'd have to listen again, it's been about a week, but I remember there being 2 or 3 songs I hated

jpaulwegenast
April 19th 2019


72 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Much better than Oxnard. Instrumentation is great on most of these.

Digging: Unprocessed - Covenant

Lucman
April 19th 2019


2729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Class review. This was pretty good but a little out of my ballpark.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2019


42016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks Luc! it's a grower for sure I think you'll get drawn into it



I think godawful is an overstatement for anything here, lmao. Yada Yada n Chosen One strike me as a bit more on the filler side but they're still ok at worst

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2019


42016 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not to mention the switch into the "pistol grip pump from the kitchen to the living room" in Chosen One is unbelievably tight

botb
April 20th 2019


12980 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Agree with okay at worst being the par here. The bass work at the very least keeps me coming back to every song, it’s unreal

nolerthebowler
April 20th 2019


3683 Comments


The bass is indeed insane

Lord(e)Po)))ts
April 20th 2019


43287 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Sup nolisandre I found ur band



https://youtu.be/00T5-OLdjno

Digging: A l l i e - Nightshade

nolerthebowler
April 20th 2019


3683 Comments


Request: can you stop? I did.

Spudjam
April 21st 2019


18 Comments


I don't understand the dislike for Oxnard, on this site especially, by far my favourite. The instrumentals are so so good.



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