The follow up to the rapper’s 2016 album, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made is somewhat of a tossup between better and worse than previous attempts. In Unruly Mess, Macklemore promises to “Make better music,” on one of the more serious tracks, “Bolo Tie,” and Gemini is a strong attempt to do so.
Though, Gemini may be Mack’s first release without his frequent collaborator. Ryan Lewis, he does bring back Eric Nally of “Downtown” fame for a second run with the album’s opener “Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight.” The opener had me singing along and ready for more, but didn’t hit the high notes that “Downtown” did a year ago (literally).
Gemini brings in many collaborators to belt out some of rap’s most familiar choruses. Both Kesha and Skylar Grey appear very early in the Gemini album in tracks, “Good Old Days” and “Glorious” respectively.
With only a year or so between album releases, Macklemore had to adapt to the new sound of 2017’s rap style brought in by acts like Migos and Lil Uzi Vert. On “Willy Wonka,” Mack blends his signature style with something more fitting for a new listener to get into. Compared to his Unruly Mess album, Macklemore’s music seems edgier, and targeted for a wider audience. “Marmalade” might be the biggest selling point for Gemini, with no over the top hooks and a solid backbeat.
The 15-track album is great for fans looking to dive deeper into Macklemore’s discography and growth as an artist, but may not be the best in his collection. While, “Intentions,” “Levitate” and “Good Old Days” could reign in his legacy forever, there are a few throwaway tracks in the mix as well, which is expected from a 15-track record anyway.
Gemini offers a lot for listeners, but most will likely end up picking and choosing a few favorites to listen to regularly and skip through the rest. I’ll probably keep it in the CD player for a few more listens, but I might make a few cuts along the way.Note: Populove is currently undergoing site maintenance following a hiatus. Some post images and comments from previous months may not appear as we work on the issue.