Review Summary: Stare into a mirror.
When you think "rap" or "hip-hop", what comes to mind? Aggression, arrogance, self-delusion, vanity and a lack of depth? You wouldn't be alone, I held that view a few days ago. Even for die hard fans of the genre, this view should be entirely understandable: we live in an age where one man's self flattery can be placed amongst all the masterpieces history has to offer us. It says a lot when a man with the power to change this view is unheard of.
The title should make it clear that this LP is deeply personal: a window into a proud, troubled, introverted mind, one which should relate to a significant minority of people reading this review. Milo is a man who doesn't feel as if he has a place in this world, who struggles to deal with the death of a dear friend and lashes out at the social norms that he feels are pressuring him. Though every line he spouts is painfully self aware, self deprecating, giving the impression that Milo is viewing himself in the third person. This cynical approach to himself makes his off-hand comments towards others more accessible and acceptable, it's clear that this is not a man who's trying to gain personal prestige by belittling others. So when he does attack advertisers and the hip-hop norm, it's suddenly different than your standard scene-kid laying his arms out wide before his peers. It certainly helps that Milo slips in these jabs with a warming, sarcastic style: "I'll arbitrarily pronounce myself as the best rapper of all time/ without consulting any of you other rhyming guys"
This revolutionary side to Milo, however, is the least important in the scope of this LP. The nerd and philosopher behind it all takes centre stage. Surprisingly, there's no show and spectacle going on here, Milo is in no way a "cool" (i.e. Hipster) nerd. Regular references to Diablo, general nerd culture, gaming, Futurama movies and forums ("Maybe one of these days they'll make me message board moderator!"
) make this obvious. What really sells this, and sadly the most relatable aspect of it, is the way he contrasts his social aptitude and success both offline and on: finally proclaiming that it's only on the internet where he's found people who he can relate to. Then there's all the stuff about Facebook stalking and frequent pornography viewing... but let's not go into that.
Ultimately, Milo is the every-man of the detached youth. Not the artistic, pretentious kind, he's very clear of his wish not to be associated with them, but the real kind. His constant questioning of "why?" will resonate with many people who, similarly, aren't happy with the world and their position in it. The calm, restrained and somehow defeated delivery with which he performs his lines only serves to enforce this: it echos the silent voice of everyone. On top of this, the minimalistic beats underlying Milo, often complete with heavily distorted vocal samples, distill an even greater sense of disparity into the rhymes.
It's a test to the sheer amount of thought, love and effort which has gone into this LP that Milo has managed to fit in so much. Wit, depression, revolution, self deprecation and isolation culture go hand-in-hand, woven together so finely that they compliment each other. I Wish My Brother Rob Was Here
has almost passed without so much as a whisper - I get the impression that maybe Milo prefers it this way.