The multi-platinum award winning duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are back! This time with their sophomore album, This Unruly Messed I’ve Made, and reviews are in!
This Unruly Mess is a perfect blend of quirky and conventional, ranging from the uneasy “White Privilege II” to the witty “Brad Pitt’s Cousin.” In the latter, Macklemore raps about topics including his now-famous cat, texting God, and even gives shout out to the homie D. Who’s homie D? As Macklemore will tell you in the track “DEEZ NUTS!” Needless to say, “Brad Pitt’s Cousin” is nothing to take seriously, but there are plenty of other tracks for the serious listener.
In the album’s opener, “Light Tunnels,” Macklemore drops a bombshell of candid thoughts respecting award shows, “They want the gossip, they want the drama/ They want Britney Spears to make out with Madonna/ They want Kanye to rant and to go on longer, cause that equates to more dollars.” “Light Tunnels” is the song that makes winning a Grammy seem like a chore, but brings fire as the opening number.
“Downtown” follows “Light Tunnels” and shines as the supreme of the tracklist. Debuting this summer as the second single from the record, “Downtown” features Eric McNally along with rap vets Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee and Mellie Mel. Probably the closest resemblance to the artist’s 2012 hit “Thrift Shop,” the song is triumphant and theatrical in all ways Macklemore. Though, “Downtown” might not be able to soar to the heights of the singer’s Heist singles, it was a strong attempt at giving fans what they love.
In songs like “Downtown,” among others, Ryan Lewis definitely portrays some of his finest work so far. From start to finish, production on this album works even when lyrics fall flat. “White Privilege II” might be one of the most talked about Unruly Mess tracks, due to its controversial subjects (and that Iggy shout out), but coming in at nearly 9-minutes in length, Lewis saves the song from not being a total bore. By now, even if you don’t know what Ryan Lewis does exactly, you should know he earned his space in limelight.
Since winning a Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2015, Macklemore had his first child, and also relapsed into drug use following his sudden rise to fame, as he explained to Rolling Stone. Both of which are themes on the album. In “Growing Up,” Macklemore openly speaks to his new born, Sloane, and gives her tips on the life ahead of her including, “I recommend that you read “The Alchemist,”/ Listen to your teachers, but cheat in calculus” and to “Tell the truth, regardless of the consequence/ And every day, give your momma a compliment.” The chorus, sung by Ed Sheeran, is one of the most memorable from the album.
Sheeran is one of many features on the album, others include: Chance the Rapper, XP, and Carla Morrison. Leon Bridges, another notable feature, joins on “Kevin,” the true story of a friend’s overdose. To reiterate the title of this review, “Kevin” comes only a few minutes before tracks like “Dance Off” and “Let’s Eat,” which are as comedic as their titles suggest.
Still, Macklemore’s humor brings light to an otherwise preachy hip hop record. As promised in “Bolo Tie,” the Seattle duo does “make better music” that highlights both talents in equal light, but you might feel the urge to skip a few tracks along the way. This Unruly Mess I’ve Made comes as a strong follow up to The Heist, but lacks the singles to carry it to the height.
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