clipping.
Splendor and Misery


3.5
great

Review

by NBA USER (86 Reviews)
September 9th, 2016 | 102 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An abstract painting of a simple sunset....

It’s been a couple of interesting years for Daveed Diggs, the talking head of Clipping, since CLPPNG was released in 2014. In addition to some stints on Law and Order: SVU and Netflix’s “The Get Down”, Diggs won both a Grammy and a Tony (for best actor in a leading role) award for his work on the Broadway hit “Hamilton”. Fortunately for him, starring in the biggest Broadway play in years means hordes of new fans eager to find other projects he’s been in. And how surprised they would be to come across Clipping, a harsh, industrial hip-hop project that could rightfully be called an acquired taste. How surprised even still would these fans be at Splendor and Misery, which is if not anything else, one of the most conceptually unique albums this year. For those who don’t know, the album focuses on the sole survivor of an uprising aboard an interstellar slave cargo ship and its AI system that falls in love with him. As outlandish as the premise may sound, Splendor and Misery does a fantastic job of touching on some poignant concepts like loneliness and sadness and backs up these notions with some truly inventive musicality.

Clipping’s stringent adherence to the experimental is further reinforced by Diggs’ complete omission of the pronoun “I”. The man plays narrator, the survivor, even the lovestruck AI but never assumes the role himself. Diggs is telling a story in Splendor and Misery, not playing a part in it, and the narrative is enhanced as a result. While the concept is central throughout Splendor and Misery, “All Black” is an example of a Clipping song that succeeds regardless of the motif. A brilliant backdrop of wind and electronic raindrops accentuates Diggs’ telling of the survivor’s realization that he’s alone on a cargo ship in the middle of space surrounded by dead bodies. In fact, this dystopian Afrocentric concept gives Clipping excuses to play around with some sounds that are both new and familiar. Splendor and Misery never sounds foreign to fans of Clipping yet group still finds new way to experiment with their sound. Tons of glitch, bleeps and bloops, hydraulics, and metallic percussion is utilized to give the listener the sense that this music is all coming from the ship and taking place in the survivor’s head as he struggles with his situation. The dedication to the concept of Splendor and Misery is certainly admirable but is the source of the album’s most glaring problem.

There’s a fine line musicians tow while creating a concept album, the line between telling the story and engaging the listener in the music. Splendor and Misery focuses far too much on telling the story, relying on Diggs’ lyricism to push the album forward. As mentioned before, conceptually, Splendor and Misery is damn near brilliant. The music, while sparse as Clipping is known for, reflects the emotions in each song very well. What the music doesn’t do is grab you in a meaningful way. It serves frequently as a mere backdrop for the story which makes Splendor and Misery feel too often like spoken word poetry rather than a hip-hop album. The plethora of interludes interrupt the short supply of full-length songs on the album and the best songs are the ones that aren’t completely tethered by the narrative and stand on their own merits. “Air Em’ Out” (the only certifiable banger) and “A Better Place” stand out as tracks which marry Diggs’ fire with the exceptional music, with the latter being an imaginative closer as the survivor accepts his fate as eternally alone and journeys into the unknown. Intellectually, Splendor and Misery is amazing and its sheer inventiveness cannot be denied. Clipping uses a seemingly goofy premise and tells a distressing tale of loss, loneliness, and love. However, the decision to present the album in the manner they did really cripples the visceral enjoyment that could have otherwise been experienced. As a result, Splendor and Misery is an album most enjoyed with your head, not with your heart.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Calc
September 9th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

https://clppng.bandcamp.com/releases



there was a stream available for pre-orders a long time before release but here's the bandcamp stream. I seriously think conceptually this album is brilliant, they tell the story very well and the music fits to a T. It's just.... not engaging except for maybe 2-3 tracks

Calc
September 9th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and I dunno why this review made a new album entry mods can you put this where it belongs please?



EDIT: thanks peoples

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2016


10304 Comments


I was about to say haha, how did this happen? Great review though

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2016


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Final line is excellent, as is the review, which I agree with completely.

wwf
September 9th 2016


7198 Comments


that's the sort of last line that would drive me insane if I was the artist the review was about

LotusFlower
September 9th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

im not even the artist and the line bothers me.

Calc
September 9th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol why lotus clover

LotusFlower
September 9th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think I may of actually misinterpreted what you meant before, never mind lol.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 9th 2016


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think the most apt example for the review's central argument is Interlude 02 (Numbers), which is a minute worth of static that then creeps into True Believer, atop of which a woman relays a bunch of code in phonetic alphabet. Which is something I can imagine someone absolutely reveling in, but it triggers an interest that for most people is separate from their enjoyment of music. That said, the only problem I have with this album is perhaps some of the awkward flows on Wake Up, and perhaps Story 5's title (which was a disappointment).

Calc
September 9th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you know those phonetic letter have some sort of meaning too but i'm not smart enough to decipher any of that crap.

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
September 10th 2016


4052 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I know there are a lot of theories out, and I've a feeling it has something to do with "You stuck on Morse code, player this ASCII / Your birthright make you scared to get nasty / The keyword is Kemmer, that's what yo' ass need". But I don't want to read them till I find some time to read more into the lyrics.

Calc
September 10th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

why's it suck sir?

TVC15
September 10th 2016


11374 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty damn good

iloveyouall
September 10th 2016


6312 Comments


it sucks

sonictheplumber
September 10th 2016


17539 Comments


Y'all like Celtic frost?

Calc
September 10th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

damn a 1 lol

rabidfish
September 11th 2016


8739 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

When I listen to this I feel like i'm in the theater watching some musical.



I hate fucking musicals.

Calc
September 11th 2016


17377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

too bad, musicals can be pretty great

TVC15
September 11th 2016


11374 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Musicals in general are great

LotusFlower
September 11th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i hate musicals



but this is an album so its already musical



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