Review Summary: Opening new doors.
I really admire Mike as a person; throughout his entire career he’s had an uphill struggle with garnering the credits he’s rightfully owed. Even now, I still don’t think he quite gets the recognition he deserves for his works, and I feel to some degree that’s precisely what keeps him so sharp today. Yet the fact endures, more so today than ever before: Mike Shinoda is an incredibly effective songwriter. It’s easy to overlook his potent writing prowess when Chester was singing over his compositions, but now that Mike has taken the reins and gone out into the open world as a solo artist, there’s no such excuse to overlook his abilities. Indeed, if Fort Minor’s exceptional debut album wasn’t enough to convince you of his writing chops, the number of engagingly experimental soundtracks he’s composed in the past, or even his extremely resilient solo debut, Post Traumatic
, then I’d at least hope to God you can respect his deviations here. After Post Traumatic
’s heavy proclamation on the seven stages of grief, it comes as a refreshing change of pace – but not at all surprising – that Mike has decided to make a mostly chilled out, relatively upbeat electronic album, one that could easily be taken as an abstract soundtrack.
With the exception of the inspirationally themed “Open Door”, which challenges any detractor’s opinions on ambition, this album is devoid entirely of vocal work, leaving only Mike’s skillset on the open stage. The lean run time coupled with the excellently developed production ensures that Dropped Frames Vol. 1
says what it needs to before any kind of boredom begins to manifest itself. The artwork accompanying this album essentially sets the tone for what you’ll be getting yourself into: it has a colourfully benign feeling to the way the music is directed – the feeling of exploring an alien planet, filled with vibrant colours and exquisitely bizarre creatures, as tracks like “Doodle Buzz” authenticate the world’s mood with trill electronics, the static humming of synths, and the chiming of the drums while lush melodies flutter across the spectrum. It’s a brilliantly composed album that blends the likes of drum and bass, house, contemporary lo-fi hip-hop, and a kind of traditional movie-score structure together to make it all function synergistically. This, of course, is also presented with Shinoda’s distinct writing style and sound. Literally the only track here that makes you go ‘wtf?’ is closer “Booty Down” which tonally shatters everything, but comes across as a bit of satirical humour, rather than a proper closer – or track for that matter. In short, this is a really engaging piece of work that continues to solidify my adulation for a guy who’s worked his ass off in the music industry, and unfettered proof hard work can pay off.
SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: