Rhymesayers ; 2008. Drug addiction is bad, but drama addiction might be worse.
That is the lesson of "Shoulda Known", Atmosphere's salvo at that stock character, the enabler. Taken from Minneapolis duo's fifth studio album, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold. the song is more dramatic monologue than soliloquy-- one of those rare moments when Slug isn't plumbing the depths of his favorite subject, Slug.
Atmosphere : предварительный просмотр и загрузка песен и альбомов, включая When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, Atmosphere. 3.
Atmosphere When Life Gives You Lemons
When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (2008) Atmosphere. Share. Facebook Twitter. Copy. Edit the description to add: A sentence or two. Atmosphere, the prolific duo of Slug and Ant return with their highly anticipated 6th official studio album When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.
(Watching the video for "Shoulda Known", you might gather that Slug's new subject is soon-to-be-rescued American Apparel models. ) Even the album's title-- judged against their college-rap classics Overcast and Lucy Ford -- hints that this outing may be less, well, narcissistically emo.
Could Atmosphere's sad-clown era really be over. Slug's lyrics, it turns out, are refreshingly mundane. When Life Gives You Lemons comes off not so much as a memoir of a bohemian artist, but as an old liberal's debut short-story collection. It isn't as dull as it sounds. The enabler is one of many resolutely unglamorous figures here, joining a procession of rust-belt standbys-- late-shift waitress, warehouse worker, deadbeat dad, homeless man, Tom Waits-- straight out of Studs Terkel. It's a noble idea, but it doesn't quite suit Slug's talents, which can veer, in typical backpacker fashion, toward the didactic and sentimental.
Even so, it is a welcome leap for the MC to step out of his turbulent inner life and into the shoes of unsung-- at least, unrapped-- working-class men and women. Producer Ant isn't retracing old paths either-- though he finds more success than his partner. He sets "Shoulda Known", for instance, above synthetic handclaps and a glum, coldly fuzzed bass that, together, seem like the embryo of a Justin Timberlake track, before the star's producers add the de rigueur layers and velocity. It's a far cry from the humbly retro collage of samples that grounded Ant's signature sound in the past-- and it works. In a marriage of live instrumentation and vintage analog synths, Ant finds a new way to build set pieces for Slug's tortured narratives.
Take the soulfully cheesy, ersatz-Gnarls Barkley "You", for instance. Sticking to the second-person perspective, and unburdened by the gnawed-to-oblivion themes of drug abuse, "You" could have been a strong lead single. Everyone knows about the needle and the damage done; the question forgotten by too many songwriters, faithfully remembered here, is how ordinary folks make it through the day and make ends meet.
Along the same lines, at the heart of "Dreamer" and "Guarantees" are families trying to get by in a broken, dead-end economy. Obviously the trials of parenthood, not exactly a staple on DJ playlists, loom large in Slug's visions of 9-to-5 life. Lyrically, like the songs in between, those that bookend When Life Gives You Lemons are adventurous precisely because they're not adventurous, not spectacular, not sensational. "Like the Rest of Us" introduces the album with a sleepy melody from a child's music box. The song proceeds with a loop of smoky-nightclub pianos, a plaintive backdrop for Slug's smooth whispers about mothers-to-be and casual cocaine users.
But a brighter, faster music box gives the album's closer, "In Her Music Box", a vibe that is wrier and angrier, perfect for a song about the R-rated nihilism streaming out of parents' car radios. The thread that runs from the first song to the last is a warm sympathy for working-class heroes and antiheroes-- especially the ones trying raise kids.
More energy and less uniformly drab scenery might have kept these well-intentioned stories from blurring into each other. One that stands apart is the mainstream-aimed "Guarantees", which treads dangerously close to mall-core. Too often the duo's slow, spartan approach just assures that songs like "Your Glasshouse" and "The Skinny" never leave the ground.
And the middling tempos are only partly to blame. "Wild Wild Horses" leans on a metaphor that, let's face it, will never be pried from the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers. That said, When Life Gives You Lemons still helps lift Atmosphere further out of indie-rap territory. The shaggy-dog narratives of ordinary people buffeted by everyday tragedies are still rare outside the genre, despite rap's origins in exactly that hue of storytelling. So even when Slug gives in to his inner corniness, we let him off the hook.
Granted, the production makes the naturalism pill easier to swallow. Open-minded fans will thank Ant, whose piano-driven works ("Yesterday", the opening two tracks) and darkly pretty "Painting" reveal a mind keeping up with his partner's, amplifying and deepening and, in his phrase, Quincy-Jonesing the record's vistas of blue-collar melancholia.
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