Track 1) “I Carry Anyway” feat. Lil Durk [Middle 6/10]
Keeping up with the professional vibes that Aland$$ has been utilizing lately, “I Carry Anyway” is sort of the track in which the scene is set. Taking an old Lil Durk acapella and making it into something new was a fantastic idea although the results are a bit mixed.
In terms of production, Aland$$ comes through. The vocal samples seem to blend in with the smooth synths and the kick-and-snap pattern isn’t overpowering (if anything, the drums are too minimal). It’s usage of off-tempo sampling is great.
Lil Durk is probably my biggest issue here. I’m not sure if this is Aland$$’s fault, but Lil Durk sounded incredibly offbeat the whole song, making the experience a bit confusing. His delivery was a bit monotonous, although his lyrics were dope.
Track 2) “Wolves” [High 7/10]
This indie-rock influenced beat is certainly a step out of Aland$$’s comfort zone. This distinct atmosphere is constructed through a Bon Iver sample of a song of the same title. Its lyrics dabble in love and separation…two themes of the project as a whole.
Not only do Justin Vernon’s pitch-shifted vocals sound quite smooth, but the backing instrumentation is also quite nice. The wolf sound effects were vital, and the filtered hi-hats sound very cozy and natural. When the full drum pattern comes in, “Wolves” definitely sounds reminiscent of something DJ Dahi would produce.
There were times when the drums and sample were a bit off-tempo…this is an easy fix that Aland$$ should have made, but this is certainly one of his most impressive beats to date, and sounds quite nice at the same time.
Track 3) “Pinocchio Story” feat. Bowtye [Low 7/10]
I am proud to admit that this song has definitely grown on me since I reviewed it as a single. Originally, the mellow atmosphere and lackluster melody felt bland to me, but as I grew accustomed to both of them, I started to enjoy listening to this more.
I don’t think I need to say much more than what was said in the review. I still think the instrumental is well thought out and that Bowtye is a good singer. I still like the lyrics and concept of the song. I still think that both artists are quite talented.
Track 4) “You Lose” [Low 4/10]
Perhaps this track wasn’t a bad idea, but the execution here is quite sloppy. The Kanye West “Love Lockdown” sample isn’t pitched correctly at all, and the other various samples scattered throughout the track make “You Lose” seem quite overwhelming.
On the contrary, the drum patterns rolling hi-hats and snares sounded quite nice. Once again, the concept of the song is good in thought, but the overwhelming components of the song make it come off as quite amateur.
Track 5) ”Backwards” feat. Klaye Creation [Low 4/10]
Once again, this seems like a muddled mess to me. Let’s start off by talking about the production. It’s very mellow and calm atmosphere does not seem to suit the subject matter at all, and the repeat of the Kanye West “Love Lockdown” samples was not quite welcome.
Moreover, the drum pattern on here seemed a bit generic and bland. The instrumental was mixed quite poorly, which seems to be a reoccurring issue for Aland$$. Klaye Creation was almost impossible to hear, though his role didn’t seem impressive from what I picked up.
Track 6) “The Woods” [Middle 7/10]
After a set of mediocre tracks, the EP finally picks up with the title track. Although there is no guest feature credited for the distorted vocals placed within this track, I’m fairly certain that Aland$$ is not singing on the track. It is most likely a sample that I have never heard of.
The production definitely has a nocturnal feel with its main synth placed in the key of G minor. I really like the rustic feel of the instrumental, definitely making me feel like I am in the woods with Aland$$ and his singer. The various sound effects weren’t overwhelming either.
The drum pattern was simplistic…perhaps a bit too minimal. It did leave room for the vocals though. The singer has a unique and mature voice, and his lyrics definitely suit the song quite well. His haunting melody definitely makes you feel like you are in a dark place.
Track 7) “Dust” feat. Daniel Caesar [Low 8/10]
This was the first single off of the project, and I did actually review it before. I wouldn’t say that my opinion of the track has changed at all. I still am impressed by Daniel Caeser’s vocabulary and can still vibe with the piano-driven instrumental. Here’s the link to the review.
Track 8) “Hallucinogenic Love” [Middle 5/10]
I didn’t necessarily dislike this song by any means. I just wish “Hallucinogenic” was better. The guest feature’s vocals are mixed too low, and track drags out for a while. The whole subject matter of an intoxicated love doesn’t really fit within the context of the EP (although the alarm clock outro was a cool idea).
I did think the unknown guest feature (or sample) has a decent baritone voice, and his melody was pretty smooth too. I just think the track became repetitive, and almost filler as it didn’t really fit in the context of the EP.
Track 9) “Where Do I Go” feat. Merc Maj & Daewoo [Middle 6/10]
This unique anthem was a highlight of Aland$$’s previous project, Shipwrecked. It boasted one of the most professional mixes, intricate atmospheres, and creative subject matters on the entire project. In the context of this project, it’s a bit more out of place.
Daewoo’s autotuned vocals still hold their own, but Merc Maj’s rap verse is held back by his cringeworthy vocal delivery. I did like what he was saying, but his flow was also kind of generic. I prefer the version without him.
I still also don’t understand what this and the previous song are doing on the EP in the first place. I thought this was supposed to be talking about the woods, not a drunk love relationship on the island. It goes to prove that the project is inconsistent.
Track 10) “Liquor” feat. Klaye Creation [High 5/10]
It’s a real shame, because I really wanted to like this track. However, a few key components pretty much ruined its listening experience for me. The first is the “Hold My Liquor” sample, which was completely unnecessary and distracting from the listening experience.
Another component is the inconsistencies within the beat structure. I can appreciate Aland$$ switching up his instrumental to make it charismatic and enthralling, but his execution failed. It merely came off as sloppy and amateur.
On a brighter note, I thought Klaye Creation’s contribution to the track was above average. His subject matter was slightly vapid, but he delivered his clever bars with a compelling flow and vocal delivery. I guess it sums up the EP too.
Here are my favorite tracks on the project.
3) “The Woods”
“The Woods” is a concept song in a strange and interesting way. It is quite atmospheric in everyway possible from the nocturnal melody to the guest feature/sample’s vocal delivery. It’s a very exciting listen and definitely takes you to another world while listening to it.
The Bon Iver sample really works for me. Aland$$ adds in hi-hats and other various components to the beat, giving it a rustic feel. This is definitely one of his most experimental tracks to date, but I can’t help but fall in love with his trap-influenced drums.
1) “Dust” (feat. Daniel Caeser)”
I loved the lead single off of the EP when I first heard it, and I still love it now. Its minimalism is what makes it so deep, and Daniel Caeser is definitely the best guest feature on the EP. His voice is great, as well as his lyrics and melodies.
- Aland$$ is definitely on the right path, but he needs to stop adding excessive samples. They usually make the tracks overwhelming and not as good as they could be.
- Aland$$ should learn how to mix vocals a bit better…some of them seemed quite muddled.
- Aland$$ needs to learn how to stick to a theme. There were multiple awkward gaps within the storyline of the EP.
That is all! Stay tuned for more true music reviews!