Thursday, July 28, 2011

Leap Year - Hoodie Allen (Short Version)

(The full review is a bit long and heavy to read through, so I did a short version for you that want to get straight to the music)

Hoodie Allen is an up-and-coming MC from New York City with a taste for 90's beats, a chill flow, and a remarkable work ethic. He released the 11 track Pep Rally Mixtape just a mere 10 months ago and he is not done yet. On Tuesday, at 12:00pm EST, the new album Leap Year was released for free download on his personal website

This album overall in a word - smooth. The songs are relaxed and meant to be appreciated for their lyrical depth. Though the superficial take of the album is Hoodie settling into his sound and an overall chill outlook on life, his lyrics reveal an artist aware of his surroundings. He is a man filled with hunger, hope, and a completely unapologetic take on his life and career. An image of a cobra seems suitable to use as juxtaposition - perfectly still, but poised to strike.

The best part of this album is the clear effort to make each song a complete musical package. From the instrumentals to the mixing, from the lyrics to the vocal harmonies, each song aims to not be fully understood on the first hearing. Rather, they are to be listened to again and again, and appreciated once you get a glimpse of all the things that each song brings to the table. It is a dangerous game, for many lack the patience to revisit a song that didn't floor them in the first five seconds. However, it did pay off with yours truly, who was determined to hear every little detail and analyze the crap out of every track. 

After several listening sessions and typing away on my Notes App on my phone (I guess my texting speed helps out with developing these music reviews), these are the tracks I found to both enjoyable and smack full of musical prowess: 
  • The Chase Is On
  • Push You Away
  • Stick and Stones
  • #WhiteGirlProblems
  • Dreams Up
  • Moon Bounce
All in all, it was an enjoyable album and was on par with the Pep Rally Mixtape. I am still waiting for a song to beat out You Are Not A Robot as my favorite Hoodie Allen track in both strong beats and even killer lyrics. My main fear with HA's music is also my favorite part of his work - his unique sound. I admire how HA has honed his specific take of hip-hop music, but I hope he will incorporate other sounds and tackle the challenge of evolving his music. I do not want to hear a similar template for various songs, repeating what works until it is bland and depleted of its punch. That being said, I liked the tracks on this album that were more forceful and emotion-filled, like arrogance in You're Welcome, than I did the more relaxed songs such as Song for an Actress. Hopefully Hoodie will keep bringing the power to your earbuds in the future. Now, pop in your headphones and listen up to the sound of Hoodie Allen.

Leap Year by Hoodie Allen