Review Summary: You've Never Heard Anything Like It
We’ve truly seen quite a growth of popularity of the R&B genre so far in the 2010s. Acts like Frank Ocean, Janelle Monae, and The Weeknd have been leading the charge, bring with them some of the best R&B records of the 21st century. However, while all of these artists are phenomenal, originality isn’t the first word you’d use to describe them. Even Monae, known for her mixing of multiple genres together constantly, still has influences from the early greats all over her work. But here we have up and coming producer Clarence Clarity, delivering to us a fresh take on the genre that feels 100% new.
R&B may be known as a genre that has a generally smooth feel, but Clarity turns that expectation on its head. The production on here is jagged and bold and embraces maximalism; holds no bars back. Every second you’re being barraged with bold, dense sounds; whether it be sparkly synths, layered vocals, or just fuzzy noise. However, the madness of it all still feels tight enough to keep the album from falling apart. But if your gripe with pop/R&B music is the predictability of it, you will be quite surprised. The song structures on here are unpredictable, schizophrenic at times. You never know what you’ll get; the song could start off normal, but then break into a glitchy bridge, and then drop into a totally different sound.
But what is an R&B album without the lead singer, and Clarity does not disappoint. His voice has a soulful feel to it that compliments the frantic production style quite well. Tracks like “Bloodbarf” and “With No Fear” have him crooning over some of the more ballad-like tracks on the album, and “Meadow Hopping, Traffic Stopping, Death Splash” and “Those Who Can’t Cheat” have him bringing a more strange, sinister sound as he ecstatically delivers choruses that will stay stuck in your head whether you like it or not. “Cancer In The Water” has him belting the same four lines across 3 minutes, but he sells it so hard that the track seems anthemic in a way.
While there are highlights galore on here, this album honestly could’ve had a few cuts. Tracks like “Porn Mountain” and “1-800 WORSHIP” seem to just retread ground already covered. At just over an hour long and 20 tracks long, this is quite the album to get through, as it’s so dense. Plus, while it is amazingly rewarding after a while, the abrasively loud sound of the album will take some getting used to. But that’s what every album that does something new needs: time to settle in. But I guarantee, once you give it time, you will receive clarity of this album’s glory.