SOHN
Rennen


2.0
poor

Review

by cavalrycaptain USER (15 Reviews)
January 14th, 2017 | 24 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

SOHN, aka Christopher Taylor, is an electronic producer / soul singer from England. Rennen is his sophomore album, and is quite possibly the most dreadfully boring piece of music I’ve listened to in a few years. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against SOHN. I was actually quite fond of a few tracks on his debut record, Tremors, even though I felt it was somewhat lacking as an overall album. However, the main problem with Tremors was how it shamelessly hopped on the electro-soul bandwagon that was so prominent at the time. Artists like James Blake and Alex Clare had already taken this sound into the mainstream, which left Tremors looking like a poor man’s Overgrown. Surely, I thought, he’ll find his own unique style in future releases. Boy, was I wrong.

The thing that initially struck me about Rennen is just how ugly it sounds. The album’s opening track, “Hard Liquor,” begins with a strange vocalization somewhere between a burp and a moan and then loops it together with a series of muted thuds and distorted belches to create a truly obnoxious beat. The first line- “My baby don’t turn around”- brought back memories of OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” along with the depressing reminder that I was listening to a song far less enjoyable than that. Shockingly, SOHN is able to create even more disgusting noises throughout the album’s duration, from the mish-mashed gurgling at the end of “Signal” (an otherwise great track) to the tired overuse of ghost vocals in the middle of “Proof.” Yet the worst sonic misstep is clearly the strange mix of abrasive farting synths and cliche water-droplet beats in “Dead Wrong” that end up sounding like a dubstep remix of SOHN dropping a deuce, toilet splashes and all.

Irksome as these moments are, at least they manage to provide some much-needed texture to a record that is otherwise as dull and flat as possible. Electronic music is drab by nature, which is why the most successful artists in the genre are those who bring enough emotion and passion to their music to make it stand out. Even James Blake’s most recent album, though excessively dark and gloomy, had enough heart and soul shimmering below the surface to make it a worthwhile listen. Rennen has none of this. It is a record lacking atmosphere in every possible way. Much of this is due to the vocals, which fail to convey much emotion despite SOHN's wide range and talent.

The cover art is bland and geometric, accurately reflecting the tiresome, formulaic nature of the music inside. Slower, more minimalistic numbers like “Primary” and “Still Waters” meander around aimlessly, as if trapped in a dreary musical limbo. However, these problems persist even when the album picks up speed. “Conrad” is the most exciting and enjoyable thing here, yet is essentially a carbon copy of “Artifice” from SOHN’s first album. Rennen's contrasting styles share a comically absurd relationship: the quieter tracks are so bare and plodding that the listener yearns for something more engaging, yet every time SOHN attempts to make a club banger, the results are either unoriginal or annoyingly mechanical, which, in turn, makes one long for a return to the initial boredom that they wished to escape.

Lyrically, the album is a hodgepodge of themes varying from father/son relationships (the title track) to climate change and politics (“Conrad” and “Primary,” respectively). While SOHN’s desire to address such topics is admirable, the lack of a central theme is another reason that Rennen makes for such a dull listen. Though SOHN is probably tired of the James Blake comparisons, lyricism is yet another field in which he is outmatched. The Colour in Anything was full of poetic gems on loss and heartbreak that helped tie it together as a cohesive collection. Rennen, on the other hand, continuously fails to make interesting statements of any kind, and thematically suffers as a result.

In my opinion, weak albums fall into three categories. The first category is for albums made by genuinely creative artists whose experiments, while noble, end up falling flat (think Kid Cudi’s Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven). The second is reserved for radio-friendly artists (Meghan Trainor, Shawn Mendes, etc.) who are expected to make bad music and will probably never release a good album. While both of these categories end up producing some godawful records, the music that is truly shameful falls in category three. This category is home to albums totally devoid of creativity, purpose, and craft. Albums made by artists who don’t even seem to be interested in the music they make. Albums like Rennen. I know SOHN can do better, but I'm left with the feeling that he doesn't really want to.



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user ratings (36)
2.6
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
cavalrycaptain
January 15th 2017


65 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Man, I'm really not getting much out of this thing. Sucks too because I was hoping it would be great. Let me know what you think.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2017


31837 Comments


Oh dude, is that bad!? I kind of liked the single. I will check it out.

cavalrycaptain
January 15th 2017


65 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

It's only occasionally awful, the main problem is that it is consistently mediocre.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2017


31837 Comments


lol!

Funeralopolis
January 15th 2017


14586 Comments


So disappointed I was really looking forward to this album

Skoop
January 15th 2017


2201 Comments


Damn, I enjoyed Tremors well enough. Shame to hear this doesn't stack up.

VaxXi
January 15th 2017


4418 Comments


Well damn, this is the last thing I wanted to hear.

wtferrothorn
January 15th 2017


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Besides the album, heyoooo



jeez, the synths on Dead Wrong and Primary are...not good

wtferrothorn
January 15th 2017


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Falling is probably the worst song I've heard this year.

VaxXi
January 15th 2017


4418 Comments


setting tremors CD on fire, brb

wtferrothorn
January 15th 2017


5849 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

+0.5 for the first two tracks, but yeah. Not the best way to introduce myself to SOHN.

davidwave4
January 15th 2017


93 Comments


SOHN has the same problem that PND and other major writer/producers have in that he gives away all his best songs to other people. Like, he produced half of Banks' album, and he's all over the indie electronic circuit. He keeps the tracks no one wanted (for good reason) and puts them on his album. Nothing against him, but them's the breaks.

brandontaylor
January 15th 2017


1227 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i really enjoyed the first album but after one listen of this i agree that its painfully mediocre in comparison. a 1.5 seems a bit harsh but good review nonetheless

luci
January 15th 2017


12844 Comments


he's always been mediocre, didn't bother with this

TwigTW
January 15th 2017


3934 Comments


This is a big disappointment. After enjoying the first album, I was really looking forward to this one. But his new sound is just not that interesting.

kwitel
January 15th 2017


5 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ya'll on crack.

Some seriously beautiful here. (albeit dissonant and very dark)

Its simply not as fleshed out as his first and quite a bit more minimal in structure, but very good nonetheless.



"This is an album for no one, about nothing, full of sounds I’ve already heard or would rather never hear again. This is a textbook case of a bad album."-



What a truly idiotic statement. Did SOHN date your sister?

VaxXi
January 16th 2017


4418 Comments


Listening to the title track, it seems like SOHN just seems to gloss over really obvious choices in songwriting that could make each track more interesting. Rennen as a track is super repetitive and uninteresting, but if some really minimalistic drum beat and a low-key bass/kick backed the piano and even had time to play on its own, it would be a pretty neat track. It seems to be the same case for everything else on here.

VaxXi
January 16th 2017


4418 Comments


Same thing with Still Waters, the track starts with a few notes from a horn and then it barely appears in the rest of the track. You could probably get some kind of skittery beat and more horns for an interlude and some glitchy background noise and you could get another neat track. He doesn't sound like he even tried.

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2017


31837 Comments


Jamming it now, it's not so bad.

Sinternet
January 16th 2017


26514 Comments


Yeah i mean its bland but i really dont see hiw its less than a 2, like its not offensively bad



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