APRIL – ‘Malibu’ – Anderson .Paak

anderson-paak-malibuFor me, first and foremost this is a ‘soul’ album. There is extensive genre hopping on Mr. .Paak’s second album, but the overall impact as a body of work to me feels like soul.

As with my last AOTM (Miguel), Anderson .Paak is a mult-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter with some added rapper-ness for good measure. This is  lot less ‘love-sexy’ (R&B?) than Miguel and I think perhaps an easier listen for Brother Guy? I saw a number of very good reviews for this album but I fully engaged with it when I was in London for a very long day’s work on trains and walking across town. I got to listen to the album probably 4-5 times throughout the day and it put a big fat smile on my face.

This guys singing voice is gorgeous, his singing based tracks feel organically soulful and emotionally driven. There’s a sense of humour running through the album that  really resonates with me. It would take me far too long to reference all of the lyrics that hit home for me because the song-writing is so good and so mature. The album feels very socially conscious without ever feeling preachy. He’s obviously had an emotionally troubled life which he uses for inspiration in a very measured manner, never played for effect or thrust in the listeners face (ears?). Never greater than on the last track, ‘The Dreamer’ tell me you don’t love that track and it’s message?

There’s obvious Kendrick Lamar influences weaved through these tracks. You will hear it when you listen to it initially. I understand that the albums were recorded almost at the same time though so it would be interesting to understand how the artists arrived at relatively similar  places independently. They both worked with Dre extensively on Compton and come from the same music back-yard. As you continue to listen the Kendrick Lamar references soften (or they did for me but perhaps cause I have not listen to Pimp A Butterfly that much) and it blossoms as something quite different.

I hope you enjoy.

10 comments

  1. nolankane706

    I’m going to be the first one to wade into the waters on this.

    Anderson Paak has less popped, and more crashed into my music life over the last year. His work on the ‘Straight Outta Compton’ soundtrack was the glue that kept it all together in many ways. That work was soon followed by the news that Dr Dre had signed Anderson to his Aftermath Records. This as the time was a worry to me as I wondered if ‘Malibu’ would consequently see the light of day. Luckily it has.

    I was explaining Anderson Paak to a friend last week. It’s like D’Angelo, Cody Chesnutt, K-Os, Frank Ocean and John Legend all had a baby together, and he just happened to live next door to Kendrick Lemar and they shared the same view on music.

    Admittedly The album didn’t grab me from the start. Maybe it was my mind state as I can’t fault the way this album flows nicley. Anyway, the track that caught me was ‘Come Down’. From the first bass cord I was hooked! He had my attention and I was ready to get stuck in!

    End to end this album is strong. Each song stands out in it’s own way. Anderson Paak can sing, he can tell stories, he sounds current but the album has a timeless sound to it as well. The guest appearances are spot on and the producers are a who’s who of whom I love in hip hop at the moment.

    As brother Joey highlighted, there is a direct line to Kendrik Lamar and his sound but only in a natural way as they come from the same camp. Anderson holds his own salt. I would liken what both are doing to what everyone was doing when ‘G Funk’ was in its height, similar but all stood on their own.

    In conclusion I can’t get enough of this album. I love it! Good work brother Joseph!

    • misterstory

      Good chat Nolan. Come Down is a belter. It wasn’t my first touch point I don’t think but it is one that has really grown in my appreciation. It’s a solid chunk of a track.

  2. David Allison

    Sorry, been in London Marathon land (3:13:23, a PB by ONE SECOND!), and only just getting this on the turntable, as it were. I like what I hear, though it’s quite a dense beast. Reminds me on a first listen a LOT of D’Angelo and also Kendrick L. I will let it unfold on a few more listens and get back to you.

    • misterstory

      A PB is a PB brother, one second or not! If I’d broken my PB by a second I’d be famous, admittedly I wasn’t running as far as you. Yes David it is dense, good description. It is dense but I think it unfolds later. I had a similar response initially to Brother Kane but it is a grower.

  3. whyohwhyohwhy

    I’ve had a couple of goes at this. And there’s a lot to like, but also a lot that seems familiar. There’s a real Kendrick flavour about it, and it slides through nicely. It’s punchy, and good rhymes and beats. But I’m not sure if it’s enough to keep me engaged. We’ll see how it goes…

    As you know I’m no modern hip-hop dons like you, so I worry that stuff like this will not compete with the likes of Floating Points, Misty, Roisin Murphy, Prince, Bowie, LCD etc.

  4. David Allison

    Why am I struggling with this album? It has so much that I like. It’s proper funky and it’s got some great tunes on it. But it’s not grabbing me by the scuff of the neck. I think one of the issues is that he REALLY does vocally sound like Kendrick L at times, and I appreciate this is much more of a soul album, but perhaps it’s not carving out quite its own space in my brain. The one other comparison I’d make is to the last D’Angelo album – also a pretty dense, rich affair – but the D’Angelo grabbed me from the off.

    I don’t know. Perhaps it’ll continue to grow. But I keep listening to part of it and not quite getting through it…

  5. David Allison

    OK, so something weird happened to me and this album. Namely, that I’ve just GOT it. Started playing it as kind of background socialising tunes, and something clicked. It’s reeeeeaaaaally good. Why did it take me so long?

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