Cardboard Castles



by NevermindAlex USER (1 Reviews)
February 22nd, 2014 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cardboard Castles: A Hip-Hop Album For Kids +12 and Up

Approaching this album with the clear objective of reviewing it was no easy task... Now it's important that we not write George Watsky off as a novelty, as much as we're inclined to do, because there's quite a bit of substance to his songs. Yet, to call him a hip-hop artist seems to undermine the genre itself. It's important to remind ourselves though that as the genre becomes increasingly inclusive, artists like George Watsky are inevitable. A byproduct of a varied music scene, though not always a bad thing, has for the most part given him little ground to move forward on. He clearly wants to avoid being taken seriously, at least initially, and offers us an image that is silly and slightly awkward. His music for the most part, is extremely listenable and catchy, if not overly-saturated at times. Even his songwriting is admittingly clever at times. So perhaps the only detriment at all to his style and by far the most prevalent, is that it's impossible to enjoy his music for long without requiring something more substantial in a way you require water after drinking nothing but soda all day. Still, love him or hate him, Watsky has successfully gained quite a solid fan base creating music he finds relevant, and that's something I can respect.

There's no mistaking that George Watsky has grown since his first debut, Invisible Inc. Other than better production quality, songs like "Tiny Glowing Screens Pt. 2"(Quite possibly one of the greatest track on the album) and "All I Need Is One" offer some of the best lyrics on Cardboard Castles. The album itself tackles a variety of subjects. Watsky seemingly aims for something greater than his previous efforts, offering some of his darkest songs to date. But even the most emotional track, "Dedicated to Christina Li", though sincere, comes off elementary in a very literal sense of the word. Not many hip-hop artists bring up middle school as much he does on this album. Then there are songs like "Strong As an Oak" and "The Legend of Hardhead Ned" which occupy subject matter so light you'd mistake them for pop pieces. There are many tracks on here that hold out promise for me, but don't ultimately unfold the way I was expecting. A perfect example is "Sloppy Seconds" with the briefly slow, cautious piano piece and distorted guitar creating a promising melody, only for the silly subject matter to take over. "Cold pizza, tie dye shirts, broken hearts, give them here, give them here" may not be the most original chorus, but it's anything but a trademark for Watsky.

On a more positive take, Cardboard Castles does an excellent job in holding your attention. "Hey, Asshole" offers one of the strongest guest appearances with Kate Nash and instrumental powerhouse "Tiny Glowing Screens Pt. 1" offers instant replay value. Though the album appears to lack originality lyrically, it does boast a handful of innovative tracks instrumentally. I'll give him that. The entirety of the album though, is a mixed bag. It's fun to listen to, but also comes off as annoying and childish. Watsky is perhaps best situated outside of the traditional musical realm and kept somewhere closer of that to the niche he has created for himself among fans.

Recommended Tracks: Tiny Glowing Screens Pt. 2/Hey, Asshole/Send In The Sun/Strong As an Oak

user ratings (57)

Comments:Add a Comment 
February 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

I agree with you on pretty much every aspect here. Well written. Have a pos.

Maaaaaan, I've seen him live the evening before the "incident" and he is a damn great live-performer, a lot of energy and you definitely see that he is coming from a spoken-word poetry background with all the extremely clever poems thrown in between songs. Also he is a damn nice person, got to chill with him afterwards for a bit.

February 22nd 2014


I didn't even know this guy had an album

February 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Agreed with the parts of this review where you talk about how wack this dude is

February 22nd 2014


Agreed with the parts of this review where you talk about how wack this dude is[2]

Contributing Reviewer
February 22nd 2014


well written and well argued review, have a pos. I think your rating is spot on, it's just a good album, nothing more.

Digging: Toska (IS) - Toska

February 23rd 2014


Yeah fuck Watsky, for real. My ex used to try to get me to enjoy his music, but what I'd explain to her is that while he's undeniably talented, his persona and production are equally god-awful

I'm paraphrasing, but!

February 23rd 2014


So this is more rap for white college girls? Because I know some college girls that make references to this guy but I never knew until now what they've been talking about. Thanks for clearing that up OP!

February 23rd 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

Glad to see this review hits well with everyone. It was pretty challenging just figuring out where I was with this album.

I saw him in concert last March and it was actually pretty entertaining. Really nice guy. Just not my thing musically...

February 23rd 2014


haha i listened to this dude in like 8th grade so much

February 26th 2014


this guy needs to fk off forever

Digging: Depeche Mode - Violator

July 8th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

"Tiny Glowing Screens p. 1" and "Hey Asshole" are fantastic, although i can't seem to get over his Nothing Like The First Time mixtape. "Stupidass" will always hold a special place in my heart, as well as the title poem.

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