Time is of the essence as the saying goes and I’ve been spending a good bit of it catching up on a few projects that have been sitting on the hard-drive and staring at me every time I turn the laptop on.
One LP that’s been patiently waiting for me to preview it, especially after hearing “Reach” last summer, is Wordsworth‘s June release, “The Photo Album“. The Lyricist Lounge alum’s release shows him back in normal form, dropping multisyllabic introspective flows over sample heavy production, which has always been his musical earmark and well documented on favorites like “Twice Inna Lifetime” and “Rock, Rock Ya’ll“.
For the most part, it holds true for this project as well, though for a second outing there are a few missteps that may hold it back from reaching it’s potential with new listeners and will likely frustrate his strongest supporters, limiting it’s replay value. This isn’t to say that there won’t be a few good rotations of the album, as there are several keynote tracks that do well in displaying Wordsworth’s lyrical prowess and knack for choosing tracks that fit best with his formula.
Standouts such as
Destiny feat. Adanita Ross
allow him to kick a bragadocious hodgepodge of his past accomplishments coupled with why your favorite Emcee can’t compare, over The ARE‘s horn and cymbal heavy production and vocal assistance from newcomer Adanita Ross. With this track as the opener, he gets a good bit of this mantra out of his system with lines like
“Told that I’ve got an old soul but the flows are new / One of the chosen few, when my shows are through / I tore it down, nothing left for the closing crew to do / What it is? / Here’s an overview / If a three gets the win, why go for two? / I’m a pro, bold and true / What I say, hold me to / What you say wouldn’t hold with glue”
and though the train of thought does minorly surface in other songs, it doesn’t become the album’s one trick pony to Words’ credit.
Later, after getting introspective about his life, social ills of the world, his affect on them and vice versa on the Hezekiah laced “Mirror Mirror“, Words gets color struck in regards to all of the hues that bring vibrancy to his existence on the Meleni Smith assisted “Coloring Book“, again brought to fruition over TheARE’s brand of cymbal, hand clap, doubled up drums.
Two other solid joints come later in the album both over stellar Apollo Brown production in the form of
Joy & Pain
where Words gives equal voice to the light and dark spectrum of existence over Brown’s piano stabs and patented drum kicks, spitting lines like
“Let’s go mano y mano, not to follow’s my motto / Like nozzles with hollow tips, making hits with Serato / With a model mulatto that flew in from Colorado, with bottles of beer and better hair than Troy Polamalu”
Much later in the disc finds one of the few posse cuts of the project
which highlights two of his eMC brethren, on second and third verse duties. Like Wordsworth, Masta Ace stays within his storyteller comfort zone over Apollo’s masterful chop of Mary McCreary’s more soulful gospel cover of B.J. Thomas’ “Mighty Clouds of Joy“. They both take a heads on approach to the track, incorporating the sample in their bars to expound on the “easy come, easy go” dynamic of wealth, friends, fame and social status but it may take a few listens to find commonality in Punchline’s verse as he opted to use the sample in a more indirect way.
Within the 18 tracks housed on “The Photo Album” (strange enough it’s the same number as it’s predecessor “Mirror Music“), roughly half of the songs seem mismatched with Wordsworth’s delivery, candor and past benchmark, due either to less engaging production, hard to digest hooks, uninteresting features or a combination of the three and will be a decided listening challenge for those with attention span issues. Regrettably these shortcomings make the album have less solid, re-playable moments than his previous offering.
Wordsworth’s latest set are snapshots of his life, placed between the laser etched pages of a poly-carbonate circle, for those willing to audibly flip through it’s pages. Some of the songs are akin to nostalgic Polaroids of memory worthy times. Those candid Holiday moments with family or fun spirited camera mugging and posing with friends. The kind that are well suited for scrapbooking or using as your Facebook profile picture. Other tracks are more similar to candid still life studies worthy of Bob Ross’ talents or the expensive Olan Mills kind, which should be properly framed and hung in a conspicuous place for all to marvel and ponder upon.
Hopefully with his next release he can better combine the two into more of a cohesive piece of work, like a Felipe Jesus Consalvos collage.