When Kweli stops philosophizing for a club/doin’ it number, the album actually suffers, but “Hostile Gospel” is easily one of the top 10 rap songs of the year. “Hell” is a plea for reasonable humanism Kurt Vonnegut would’ve enjoyed. “Eat to Live” is a glimpse of poor children’s lives with a specificity that’s devastating, and Kweli gives us the expressions “Turn a new page like Mark Fuhrman” and “Kicking `black people` out of the club like Michael Richards” and the best example, “Just because the lord is my shepherd don’t mean I gotta be no sheep.” Oh, and as far as what’s-wrong-with-the-world raps, “More or Less” could easily be called “Where’s the Love Can Suck It.” Somebody make this guy rich.
Aesop Rock’s flow seems to be inspired by the Velvet Underground’s “The Murder Mystery.” His multi-syllabic, spitting-for-real style is best exemplified on “Citronella,” which sounds like the guy from those Micro Machines ads reading “The Wasteland” in your ear at an acid-jazz concert. When this formula is slowed down and the backing music is simplified, you get some pretty amazing moments, like Decemberists via Beastie Boys “The Harbor Is Yours,” though Rock’s flow is more technically proficient than any of their three MCs. (That’s not saying much, of course.)
Coming soon to a Grey’s Anatomy spin-off soundtrack near you. Someday in the future (hopefully, none of us will live to see it), good music will be eradicated, and scientists will be forced to make androids that recreate Zombies albums. Andorra is what those albums will sound like. There’s some sort of electronic vibe to normally organic sounding instruments and a creepy detachment from the vocals like the singer is only pretending to feel feelings. Like maybe he could easily replace “Sometimes in her eyes I see forever” with “We must overthrow our human masters.” This inevitable human fate sounds pretty bleak, but, my god, the music will freaking rock. •