Friday, November 20, 2015

The Incredible Amateurish Review, My Big Fat Ukrainian-American Opinion, and Vera

This should be fun.

Today, I present to you a review of the album "The Incredible True Story" by Logic.  However, despite that I literally break down the songs and scenes one at a time, at least you can get a feel for what the album is really about, and my perception of the album (which I am safe to say, isn't the perception most people would get).

Here we go.

“Contact”

Sounds very theatrical, circa 1938.  Prepare for theater of the mind.  Steve (who plays Quentin Thomas; nice play off of his Toonami character T.O.M.) and Kevin Randolph (as William Kai) have some nice banter between the two of them as we are introduced into perceivably a spaceship going through the galaxy, just missing some planet rocks in the meantime.

“Fade Away”

This is where we get “introduced” to Logic, with this track, “Fade Away.”  I have to say it reminds me of the Rolling Stones’ cover, “Not Fade Away” (you knew I had to mention the Stones in here somewhere; this is probably the only place I can safely do so).  The flow is very nice, and the hook is very catchy.  This should be played on all the CHR (Contemporary Hits Radio) and Hip-Hop stations nationwide.  Whether that will happen (I’m side-eyeing you, Cleveland) is yet to be seen.

(Interlude at the end of the track)

Back to the radio show, if you will.  It sounds like Kai is a bit laid back, to the point where he doesn’t want to do this upgrade for this computer with a voice, named Thalia (performed by Anna Elyse Palchikoff).  Apparently, if Kai wanted to speak to anybody in the entire universe, dead or alive, he would like to talk to Big Sean.  I think Thomas needs to broaden Kai’s horizons a bit.

“Upgrade”

Using a sample from “Clair” by the Singers Unlimited, we hear our civilization saving mastermind describing his success and his plans to go from where he is to where he wants to be.  Yeah, the use of the word “g-ddamn” is a bit used much here (as well as throughout the rest of the album); otherwise, I would give this record to my rabbi to play for himself and his children.  (*psst* a need a cleaner cut, #plzkthxbai) Another interesting tidbit is a shoutout to Timbaland: “Let me bring in them new kicks like Timbaland / I gotta reboot this upgrade / My metaphors on Cloud 9 and the meter behind them is so vague.”  Considering Tim’s song production features a lot of futuristic sounds (see “Promiscuous Girl” by Nelly Furtado, “Are You That Somebody?” by Aaliyah, or “Lose Control” by Missy Elliott), it’s nice to see Logic give the nod as the album is basically one far out concept.

“White People (Scene)”

This scene is hilarious, as Thomas and Kai with Thalia (reads almost as bad as Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, but I digress) are coming across another ship.  Randolph delivers with the line: “Man, why white people always got to go investigating shit, man?” leaving Blum to defend himself with: “Shut up, Kai.  Thalia, play that message.”  Battle of the boss modes, I can feel it coming.

“Like Woah”

Not necessarily how I spell whoa, but the delivery of the lyrics and the beat is very smooth and enticing.  “From London to Paris (pronounced in French, and not American), yes it’s very extraordinary / Fuck around and took a bus and a ferry / Should’ve seen the itinerary” stands out (at least to me it does).

“Young Jesus” featuring Big Lenbo

This track is a dedication to the 1990s (or at least when the good shit was really starting to take off, like when Tupac Shakur, Big Punisher, and the Notorious B.I.G. were hitting their peaks).  The interweaving of the MCs in this song is very reminiscent of “Guilty Conscience” by Eminem with Dr. Dre, very well done.  You know you have made it into the big leagues when you can give an autograph to a individual’s endowed chest with a piece of colored wax.

“Innermission” featuring Lucy Rose

This track goes deeper into what is Logic’s true “mission,” his “inner mission,” a word play taken off of “intermission” (kind of like having our boys Blum and Randolph taking a union break or something, heh).  A bit cerebral, yes, but you’re not getting the same old baby mama drama found in most other records.  “Now take a trip with me and vibe / I’m on this interstellar mission, is you down to ride? / Hold up, I know this innermission feeling like a tribe / Life is beautiful I’m so lucky to be alive” that set of lines has to be a direct influence of one Steve Blum, since both Blum and Logic are neighbors in real life.  Meanwhile, the song is very reflective and show’s Logic vulnerable side, as he discusses about a friend of his who is currently incarcerated.  It really does make you feel blessed when you’re on the correct side of a bar barricade.

“I Am the Greatest”

This track, unexpectedly, has become my favorite track on this album.  Sampling from Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) on this track gives it some raucous auditory flavor.  “And now I bet they bitchin’ cause my flows switchin’ / Tryna tell me what I write, up on some fan fiction” and now there goes my mind, doing a canon scene of Thomas and Kai, Thalia is all helpless and I….I better get back to the script, never mind.

“The Cube (Scene)”

Our protagonists Thomas and Kai come back.  Apparently Kai is playing some video game that is similar to a Rubik’s cube, and Thomas is all RCA dog (picture a big ol’ head tilt from Thomas).  And apparently, whatever Kai is playing, he says that it helps him big time with the ladies, prompting Thomas to want to learn.  And this is where we start to notice a blur or a blend of the character Thomas and the voice actor Blum (neither play video games).  We will hear this more throughout the album.

“Lord Willin’”

The music is very head banging.  The delivery is like an AK-47.  The guitar and drums on here really give the track some massive punch.  The only flaw is that the song is short in length.  I certainly got lost in the melody, and towards the end finding myself doing a DBT (dialectical behavorial therapy) meditation.  I have to score some brownie points for my psychologist at some point.

“City of Stars”

Here, we are treated to Logic singing in this track, in a fedora hat tip to another influence, Kanye West.  Think of “Love Lock Down” or “Flashing Lights”.  “In the city of stars / Where there’s flying cars / A brand new home for everyone / And even life on Mars” reminds us that this album is all about the concept of a better life in the future, perhaps along the lines of “tikkun olam (reparation of  the universe)”.

“Stainless” featuring Dria

Right after “City of Stars” ends, “Stainless” starts.  And it’s a very noticeable train wreck segue (a radio term to describe when one song of one tempo ends and one song of a much different tempo begins).  That aside, Logic attacks hard with his delivery while Dria glides in with their bridge work.  “I know my mind is sober / But I’m so high, it’s over” gives me the impression that because one can be “stainless,” doesn’t mean it’s not subject to abuse or neglect that will still destroy.

“Babel (Scene)”

If you want to know anything and everything about Steve Blum as to the type of world he lives in, he pretty much sums it up when Thomas utters this one sentence: “I just can’t imagine my life anywhere but inside a space station.”  When you look at some of his past and present voice works that involve some form of science fiction (Star Wars: Rebels, Transformers: Prime, Cowboy Bebop) you can clearly hear Blum in his natural element.  And again, this is where the ears hear the fuzz between “Is this Thomas or is this Blum?” become very evident.  Also, I am beginning to pick up a little bit of a concept as well from Blum himself, about his own “innermission” if you will. Thomas drops this sentence like a hot anvil onto your foot: “I guess my fear isn’t that we won’t find paradise; it’s that we’ll create purgatory.”  Not only does the whole “tikkun olam” theory come into play once again, it parallels with Blum’s philosophy of making a world, literally, a better place.

And speaking of Jewish stuff, this whole “Babel” thing?  Yeah, it comes from Genesis 11:1-9, where G-d discovers the descendants of Noah moving east, all talking the same language, and building a city and a tower ascending.  G-d comes in and destroys the city and tower, and takes these fools and scatters them across the world.  The city, now in ruins, was named “Babel (speech)”.  In history, “Babel” was a precursor for “Babylon,” which is now modern day Iraq.  (Heh, I did a sermon on this topic last month, so it’s totally coincidental that this happens to pop up.)

Paradise” featuring Jesse Boykins III

A very laid back melody starts off a very hot button topic for some; describing your childhood in intimate detail.  That was Logic does here, and his ability to be completely open and susceptible to criticism makes this track very intense, despite the track’s name of “Paradise.”  “Then they would handcuff my mama and take her away / Over down on the driveway / Fast forward a couple of years and I’m bumpin’ that Sade / Fast forward a couple more and I’m bumpin’ that “My Way” / By Sinatra” provides more detail into what Logic had to face as a child, and the musical influences he listened to, giving Logic that “Young Sinatra” identity. After we hear the bridge from Jesse Boykins III, the melody completely changes.  However, Logic hits a nerve in reference to a part of this track dedicated to folks who gave it their all, but yet failed.  It reminds me of me; I did my time giving it my all in the workforce, and yet I ended up getting mad sick and on Social Security Disability.  Nonetheless, the message of the song is what gives me hope: you can never hang your head down because you tried and failed, hold your head up high because you tried and your haters didn’t.

“Never Been”

Wow.  This track is a definite addition to the Toonami play list if there ever was.  The message is very clear cut and dry: if you say you will, then you will, and if you say you won’t, then you won’t.  Simple as that.  “You gotta climb the highest mountain to master the hill / You gotta climb over your ego to master your will” is probably the most prophetic verse in the entire album, giving Logic a credibility of promoting positive influence to music lovers and fans alike.

“Run It”

Technically the last offering by Logic, this track pretty sums up what the album is supposed to do: put everybody on their ears, he is here to stay and he is pretty darn grateful for the work he put into his craft.  “Not a single second chilling in my new place / Motherfuckers getting two-faced / Cause a brother finally eating / Not to mention everybody gettin’ two plates / You know I got two traits / Drop hits, get money.”  Drop the microphone, walk off the stage, and have a seat, Logic.  You have been officially “Approved by Vera.” (Yeah, I know; it doesn’t mean much, but it means that much to me.)

“Lucidity (Scene)”

Yeah, what happened to our boys?  Ah, here they are, and Thalia too!  The exchange between Thomas and Kai is hella more relaxed than it was in the beginning, as if Randolph sounds like he found his place.  Meanwhile, “Lucidity” is pretty much a signal to me that Blum needs to get back into his own studio and RECORD A FREAKING ALBUM.  (Heh, he’s told me he’ll “leave it to the professionals.” We’ll see about that.)  When Kai asks: “what’d you wanna be when you grew up?” Thomas replies: “honestly? A musician.” (that’s more like Blum being Blum and not so much Blum being Thomas).  And in the scene, where Thomas laments that even though life is “good” on the ship, he admits that he needs “something more.”  A Grammy, maybe?  I can see that down the line for you and Logic, sir.  That and tickets to go see the Stones in South America, heh.

Bonus: “The Incredible True Story”

You know what?  Listen to that for yourself.  All I will say is that this track pretty much wraps up the entire album with a pretty bow and leaves you both breathless and searching for that proverbial post-coital cigarette.

If anything, the hype for the "The Incredible True Story" is real, just like the hype was for the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".  Both are legit testimonials of life in their respective communities, both geographical and cultural.  I see really good things in Logic's future, and I wish him much success moving forward.

As for Mr. Call Me Lord himself?  Allow me to address this one, personally, to Steve Blum.

Steve, you know I love you.  I wouldn't give you foul advice, I just can't do it even if I could.  With that said, seriously, you need to drop an album - something, anything - because that musician flame of yours still burns like a high school homecoming bonfire (and that shit glows for hours on end).  Just give it some serious thought, is all I am going to ask of you.  If you don't end up doing an album, that's fine; maybe just show up on some random track (I hear the Stones are recording a new album, heh heh).

Oh, and if you do put together an album, I have the perfect name for it:  "I've Also Got My Own Album To Do," wordplay from Ronnie Wood's 1974 debut "I've Got My Own Album To Do."  It fits, seriously.  Heh, or not.

I think I'll go hide now.

1 comment:

  1. I think Logic is pretty great, but I think G-Eazy really passed him up. They kind of sound the same, but I really like G-Eazy's flow better. I have listened to These Things Happen so many times. That was a great album for me last year. It really got me through a lot of hard times. I think it is his best album to date.

    Jason Hayes @ DECORM

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