Thursday, March 19, 2015

Songs of the Day

Today, we've got tracks 5-8 up for review today: "These Walls (ft Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat)," "u," "Alright," and "For Sale (Interlude)"
Another solid day of songs starts out with "These Walls." I love the ongoing line of "I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence" as it contiues to build throughout the album.  It's such a self-reflection, you can really understand that this is a personal statement to and by Kendrick.  The groove on this track is one of the more mellow thus far, but still has that backbeat that keeps your head moving.  Anna Wise's voice adds such a smoothness to the hook, as does Bilal's (they blend so well together).  While it's not oh so subtle in its sexual content, it's not so brazen and in your face as so much rap these days - it's respectful and has deeper (no pun intended) meaning behind it.  Because, what if these walls could talk?  What stories would your inner workings tell you?  Sex can be so beautiful, but it can also have consequences, and that seems to be the battle that Kendrick seems to be envoking in this track.  I dig how the groove slows down towards the end with the sax, it's quite relaxing.  Such a solid number.
"u" is certainly one of these heavier hitters on this album, both in feel and context.  You can hear the struggle off the bat in the way Kendrick says "lovin you is complicated" (10 times, each time different).  A track about the conflicting feelings that come along with rising to fame/success, Kendrick really makes you feel it.  The feeling is made that much more prominent when the groove switches and Kendrick continues to rap in a pseudo wailing/crying tone.  The pain is so real, so difficult to ignore - how does one balance being the person from home and the person that fame has turned you into?  I mean, the guy is talking about being depressed, how many rappers are willing to be that vulnerable?? Turning to the bottle because you can't handle it, that's some real shit.  So heartfelt, it's hard not to connect to this song.
When it comes to bangers, "Alright" probably takes the cake on the record.  This track's been on repeat since day one for multiple reasons.  First of all, the beat is so fucking dope with the vocal (albeit tracked) samples, and the hook "nigga we gon' be alright" is just so damn catchy.  Also gotta love that sax in the background.  And Kendrick's flow, talking about self doubt but knowing you're gonna be alright, he's straight killin it.  "And we hate popo/when they kill us dead in the street fasho," a line that is far to prevelant in today's society.  I love that the line "what you want, you a house, you a car, forty acres and a mule" comes up frequently throughout the album - it hits home for so many, and it helps tie the whole thing together.  I have stank face through this whole damn song, it's too damn catchy!  Love love love love love.  It ends with the ongoing "I remember you was conflicted, misusing your influence/sometimes I did the same/abusing my power, full of resentment/resentment that turned into a deep depression/found myself screaming in a hotel room/I didn't want to self-destruct/the evils of Lucy were all around me, so I went running for answers" - so fucking heavy, Kendrick.
"For Sale (Interlude)" can certainly be considered a song in its own right.  I love the "what's wrong nigga, I thought you were keepin it gaaangsta" in the beginning, I'm sure that's something Kendrick has been conflicted with.  The beat has a trippy, underwater kind of thing going on that I dig.  He's going on about Lucy, which I can't tell is an actual female, or LSD.  I'm assuming the latter in the manner that he refers to her, particularly the "paper on top of paper" line.  Regardless, you can tell it's a confliction about whether or not he should go down a certain path, both a female and/or drugs could be applicable.  Kind of sounds like he's falling down the rabbit hole at the end, with the same recurring line with the addition of "so I went home" at the end.  Solid, oh so solid.

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