Sunday, February 4, 2018

SiR - November Review

Around the release of SiR's November, TDE announced the Championship tour, a who's who from the record label that's still at the forefront of Hip-Hop. Everyone, excluding Isaiah Rashad, will be present, which calls for a certified Black Hippy reunion. Now-a-days, TDE's more than just their four head horsemen though, what with the success of Rashad reaching his Southern charm niche, and SZA, somehow, achieving mainstream success through CTRL. Theoretically, SiR is next up to bat. And if the quality of November, his debut album, is anything to judge, his potential popularity swing would be well-deserved. Still relegated to his west coast Neo-Soul, something prevalent on last year's Her Too, November disguises itself as something larger, through the eyes of an interstellar concept. And while the inclusion of such an idea may have been short-sighted, pointless, and astonishingly weak in execution, the good news is it's also, easily, the worst aspect of November. Take away 'Kate,' SiR's automated caretaker whose presence bares no correlation to the music itself, and you're left with ten enticing R&B cuts that, while failing to evade any comfort zones, provide an enjoyable palate that proves SiR's place in the genre's next iteration.

Believe it or not, with November, SiR's strongest inspiration in the TDE camp isn't the greatest (Kendrick Lamar), the most poignant (SZA), or the most relatable (Lance Skiiiwalker). It's Schoolboy Q, who also doubles as the only TDE feature on the slick 'Something Foreign.' The Trap-flavored outcast of November, 'I Know,' borrows heavily from Q's Blank Face era, not only through the verses (sans SiR's excessive autotune), but also in the sinister hook ("bad ass kids, she's got some bad ass kids"). Previously, criticisms on my behalf towards SiR was that he wore his influences on his sleeve, something that doesn't change here. 'Something Foreign,' even with the provocative piano riff, slams right up against Anderson .Paak's Malibu wave with unabashed similarities. However, on November, SiR's influences expand, causing new ideas to emerge, successfully, in the process. Both 'D'Evils' and 'Dreaming Of Me' utilize Timbaland's patented vocal cuts in the beat, reducing the eccentricity in favor of a droptop bounce for the former and a dreamy night cruise for the latter. Then there's 'Never Home,' where SiR relies on smooth verses over coherent Jazz Rap a la Posdnuos during De La Soul's Stakes Is High era.

However, when the production value doesn't provide enough temptation (the horn arrangements on 'Something New' go swimmingly, both with SiR and Etta Bond), the content of November lacks the grace and creativity to draw listeners in. Nowhere does SiR offer lyrical content that ventures out from R&B's strict parameters, dissolving into a pool of nothingness on tracks like 'War' and 'Better.' The latter even features the trope utilized, in better circumstances, by Tyler, The Creator on the ironically-titled 'November,' in which he recites a love letter over voicemail, only for the message to never reach the intended target. Even 'Summer In November,' which ends the album with a twinge of conceptual relevance, lacks a curious thought, establishing the brightness of a lover by comparing her to summer in winter. The production quality is there, the knack for nuanced sounds is too. SiR's vocals as unruffled as ever, his charisma expanding with risky ventures like 'I Know.' All that's lacking is unique content that abolishes forced concepts and amplifies the complexities of romance.


No comments:

Post a Comment