Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Album Review- Big Boi -Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors

Big Boi
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
*and1/2 out of *****

In recent interviews Big Boi has mentioned that the process for his newest album, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors was the smoothest of his career. If this is the easy way, struggling to get a disk done suits him better.  

The over arching feeling here is that Antwan Andre Patton has moved out of his normal realm and is exploring the world of indie/electonica/dream pop to collaborate with in vogue hipster artists to try something different.  It isn't that the overall product is bad, even worse, it is boring. The first large scale "Dream-Hop" release, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors is a dull experiment in moody vibes and lame sounds.

Big Boi needs to shoulder most of the blame as he surrounds himself with artists he seemed to pull randomly out of Pitchfork reviews (Little Dragon, Wavves).  Vocally he never sounds all that urgent or alive on the disk; there is a sedated feeling even with his boasts like in "Mama Told Me" where he unconvincingly states "Cause I make major art/Like Beethoven, Van Gogh, or Mozart so don’t start". Perhaps in the past but not this time around, in fact starting is what is needed.

Experiments like "Raspberries" and "Tremendous Damage" are slow R&B tinged workouts that go nowhere. "Thom Petty" ends up sounding disengaged on all fronts while the programming and acoustic guitars on the disk closing "Descending" at least describes what is going on as you feel like you are floating to the bottom of a hole on a bad trip.   

His MC guests such as Killer Mike and A$AP Rocky sound more urgent then their host when they deliver their verses which is shocking as Big Boi has long reigned as one of the fiercest MC's.  While those guests work well it is all of the indie artists that dominate the disk.   

Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors plays as a showcase for Sara Barthel from Phantogram as she is the focus of 3 tracks here, singing the chorus on all of them.  She does an admirable job with her light wispy vocals, but in front of such minimalist music and lacking beats the impact is fleeting.

The best songs here would just be average to forgettable on any other Big Boi release including his last, the underrated Sir Lucious Left Foot...Son of Chico Dusty. "In The A" is a fitting if scattered anthem for his hometown with Ludacris and TI while the best indie-hop combo is "Shoes For Running" with contributions from Wavves and B.O.B. "Apple of My Eye" is the closet thing to a single while "She Hates Me" feels extremely personal and a rare moment of honesty in hip-hop which adds a new dimension to the disk but one that only sticks around for this song.         

There is a telling line in quirky chirping of the dull "CPU" where Big Boi states "We like to role play/throw on some Coldplay" perhaps General Patton should be reaching a little higher up the musical food chain next time he dips into "rock" waters.
This one hurts.  We have always liked Big Boi since Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, and gained even more respect for him recently with his first solo album trumping all of what Outkast had done since Stankonia.  If anything we probably rated Chico Dusty... too low when we officially reviewed it, we would probably add a star to that review if we wrote it today.

Vicious... however is a dull boring exercise in what I am calling Dream-Hop and lets hope this wave doesn't catch on.  Nothing here is memorable and it is doubtful much of any of it will live on in any speakers or fans hearts...then again maybe this is what the kids like these days, who knows?!?!  It is easily one of the most disappointing efforts we have heard in some time.

You can check it out for yourself though, grab the album here.  Support the artist here and peep a few samples of the better songs below:      
"Apple Of My Eye"

"Lines" makes me want to check out A$AP Rocky's new release...

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