Bar Exam: AnotheN – Speak Louder With Action (Album)
A One Listen Album Review
Up and coming CHH artist, AnotheN dropped his project “Speak Louder With Action” on our soundcloud last week. At first blush I can appreciate a challenging title enticing people to do something in the world. Using art to be an agent for change in a culture full of people who “talk first, and act later” is a powerful thought in itself. Hopefully this boldness is represented well in the music.
We start out with the song “Skyrocket,” that implements some static sounds and synth vocal samples in the introduction. AnotheN has a old school tone to him. His punchlines aren’t bad, and he’s got a decent flow. This track is an okay start to the album.
We roll from that song into “Schooling Systems,” with a basic beat. There’s some unique flanges on the snare in the beat, and AnotheN drops some multi-syllable words over it. I really dig lyrical rappers, but if you’ve read my reviews at all you’ll also notice that I’m big on intention. So when lyrical rappers are only focused on saying a bunch of long words in a row, the flow is sacrificed and the subject of the song gets missed. The ironic thing here is that the topic of discussion in the song is about getting back to the basics. That’s always a good place to start.
Piano loops and boom bap kick off the next track. AnotheN’s flow isn’t too bad on “Simply Complex.” This performance reminds me a little bit of Braille from back in the day. There’s a sample from the movie “Inception” that’s actually used quite well. Sometimes snippets from pop culture can detract from the over all motive behind the art. That doesn’t happen here, it actually enhances the song for me. While I’d still place this beat below the bar, the performance and direction here is above.
“Still Sons And Daughters” – The flow begins right off the bat with AnotheN telling stories. Some of the rhymes seem forced, and the beat is disjointed. The mixing overall on this project so far has been fine, but these beats need some work. Also, I feel like he’s trying to make his flow fit this beat. I would suggest that instead of speeding up to get the end of the bars to fit with the beat, there may be some production drop outs or swells that could be added post-capture. This also could be a call for more concise rhymes. Honestly, I think this is just the wrong beat for this rap. The topic here is heavy and would be better suited with more appropriate music beds.
Out Of The Box
It’s not that AnotheN doesn’t have anything to say. The way each tune is constructed just makes it difficult as a listener to want continue listening. As “Suppression out of Season” plays, I understand the desire to get out of the box with beats and even with flows. He’s doing just that, but eventually it ends up sounding like a bunch of noise. We’re dealing with a gifted writer who needs some production help. Production as in creative direction and planning. A song is nothing but an idea until you let it out into the world. Collaboration in the studio is sometimes necessary to help mine the gold out of a song. Producers and other people around you in general as you create are huge assets to have when you are honing in on your sound and your craft.
As we close out the album with “Stop The Silence,” we have similar issues. The message is on point, but it’s the execution of delivering the art in a well packaged manner that is lacking. Creating good art is difficult. This is why not everyone does it. It’s also hard to please everyone who consumes your art, and that’s okay. It’s the constructive feedback that can encourage and motivate for the future. AnotheN has a lot of potential, but that’s not always all that it takes.
Overall Rating – Below The Bar