California R&B artist Anderson .Paak is back with his second full studio effort, Malibu, the album meant to serve as his breakthrough commercial success, and while it does achieve that feat, it still falls a bit short musically. Chocked full of hip-hop vibes and soul twangs, Malibu gives you a Californian feel but over saturates it by including a bit too much.
This album does have its ups. Opener track ‘The Bird’ is a chill track featuring clean guitar chords, jazz backgrounds, a laidback hip-hop beat, and a gospel backing it. The song is pretty minimalistic, never becoming too layered at any point. But, it does make use of many elements that make it a very diverse track. It’s a great song to walk through the streets with on a rainy day, with it’s piano licks and trumpet punches. ‘Put Me Thru’ is another standout on the album, a bigger track than ‘The Bird’, inspiring a scene of riding through Los Angeles. Backed again by a gospel, it has a punchier vibe with pianos and grander guitar licks. The album’s basslines throughout are all very funky, and a highlight of every song.
Unfortunately for .Paak, the praise has to end there. Throughout a good majority of the album, most songs sound like carbon copies of songs from other artists. ‘The Waters’ featuring BJ The Chicago Kid sounds straight off a Kendrick Lamar album. The album also has issues using certain elements effectively - the random background noise in ‘Heart Don’t Stand A Chance’ make it no more than annoying to listen to, which is a shame, since the song is fairly solid without the added noise. By the end of the album, everything begins to sound repetitive, too. The songs have good messages, though unlike ‘Your Prime’ which covers the story of a woman who gets around and can’t stay loyal, the real meanings get lost. The album becomes boring and uninteresting by the end, and with an album that contains sixteen tracks that clocks in over an hour, that can’t be something that happens.
.Paak’s commercial success is good from a spectator’s point of view. If it’s not your thing, it’s a pretty big flop. The album does, in fairness, have some catchy licks and melodies, but isn’t able to keep these good moments consistently rolling, causing the album to fall short of what it could be. At least it has the basslines. Hopefully .Paak doesn’t lose those on his next effort.
Favorite Tracks: The Bird, Put Me Thru
Least Favorite Tracks: Heart Don’t Stand A Chance, Silicon Valley