Open Mike Eagle — Dark Comedy

Music in this post:

faviconfaviconfaviconnofuegonofuego Open Mike Eagle — Dark Comedy [youtube, spotify]

Dark Comedy starts extremely strong then loses a lot of momentum as it progresses. I tried to break down and understand exactly what pushed me out of sync with it. Full review after the jump!

The earlier tracks on this album really got me going, with a couple of lines in particular, like:

And let’s talk about the nada this positive shit gets me
This is my emotional ape face
I’m president of the rappers that don’t condone date rape

Those are some pretty powerful lines, at once addressing the difficulties of commercial success with indie rap, as well as attacking the pressure to include misogyny and violence against women in lyrics because it sells records. Moments like this make the album shine hard, but then with later tracks it’s almost as though Eagle loses all his energy. For example, this verse later in Informations:

Both of my feets is iPads really
And this hand here’s an iPad Mini
And this other hand is an old Wired magazine
When I pass gas it sounds like a fax machine

is just wack. By the time Hannibal Buress cameos with a lyric that’s half rap/half joke about Honda Civics being girly, I’m not clicking with this album at all anymore.

There were a few points listening through where I laughed out loud, which is strange for a rap album. I wouldn’t normally expect to be laughing with that genre. He delivers some jokes successfully and you can tell that he has a background in comedy — whether or not it’s intentional, it definitely splashes into his rap. I like it; if anything this album could use more spice to keep the listener engaged.

I pushed myself to come up with exact reasons why I disliked how this album progressed. Here’s the list I came up with:

  1. No coherent theme or concept, either in subject matter or in style. The lyrical content is all over the place.
  2. The intellectual indie rap style was sometimes turned on topics which aren’t that intellectual, and then it’s just a lot of words you have to get through with no great payoff.
  3. Following up on the last point, there isn’t much of a riddle or metaphor in his delivery. It’s all fairly literal, which over time starts feeling like you’re listening to a disjointed story that you can’t put together.
  4. Musically some beats are pretty fresh, and he has an interesting super clean delivery, but it was a very classic hip hop style that’s been well explored.

I came up with these criticisms for my own sake to remember them for my own music, but I did feel like this was a well-executed album overall (otherwise I wouldn’t waste my and your time reviewing it), but the initial sparks didn’t manage to keep me excited by the end. Nevertheless the beats and rapping were both solid, so I’d recommend a listen, at least to the first couple tracks.

Overall fuego, but I was left feeling like this artist had more potential than what I heard. Still, it’s not easy being an indie rapper and he has my respect for going for his own style in the face of all the challenges he recognizes.

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