The Ordinary Man
One on of his first solo outings in some time, Nashville producer L’Orange brings a strong sense of theatrics on his latest release. Tying in samples and clever instrumentation like a jazzy Inspectah Deck, the record is a production marvel that always feels suave and fun. Along with the excellent writing are the fun guests who occasionally outshine L’Orange enough to make his tracks feel flat. A masterful example of imagination curated, the album is a fun listen that only feels a tad repetitive.
Opening the album with a sense of hip hop theatrics, countless samples play out on “Third Person” to set up the magical themes of the record, and give a light taste to the jazzy undertones that the album thrives on. Del The Funky Homosapien brings his grimy lyrical edge on “Blame The Author” as the heavy piano hooks drive the song, as endlessly catchy vocal samples make each chorus pop. “The Everyday Illusion” hits a steady groove on unexpectedly creamy pitch-warped vocals, as juggled beats become funky nonetheless.
“Parlor Magic” beats out with an ominous take of retro orchestral tunes, switching to a darker piano glide as the song takes on a heavy anthem tone in its second half. Blu and Elzhi trade verses with exciting chemistry on “The Difference” as a quiet keyboard hook loops through the background, and the light changes in production for their sections makes it all the more exciting on each switch. Using swelling string remixes, “The Love/Hate Relationship Between Rabbits & Magic” is a soothing track that shows L’Orange’s mastery of aesthetic while shifting grooves repeatedly.
Leaning into a spooky edge, “Suspension” carries much more eerie tones as it moves suave foreign vocal lines over one the strongest bass lines of the album. “Stage Magic” gets aggressive as it simulates a live show, blending in the theatrics of a trick as well as the song and dance for a bizarrely dynamic song. Koreatown Oddity commands attention on “Things Are Just Props” as he questions worry itself over the huge choir chants that dominate the track.
“Cooler Than Before” starts to get more playful with the use of samples as huge trumpet lines play out across the track without taking away from the rocking beats of the song. An intoxicating guitar hook sets off “Plastic Fame” as Chuuewee and Solemn Brigham spit lines with relentless energy, making one of the most hilarious lines about Leonardo DiCaprio in years as the strings shimmer on this excellent song. “Anywhere Is Just Everywhere I Haven’t Been Yet” takes a smoky and cheeky take on the melodies as a loose piano line flickers back and forth, while the vocal line does feel a little less gracious on this track.
Keeping things short, “The Misery Routine” slows down moody harmonies between slick bass runs for a track that feels retro and new in bursts. Letting Oddisee offer up his velvety cool vocal attack, “Look Around” shines in its sporadic production as its simple key hook does feel a little underwhelming compared to the vocals. “Vanishing Act” takes a fiery approach through its simmering guitar lines and hazy spoken-word samples, letting one big vocal drop offer up a huge climax for the track. Closing on angelic voices for “Broken Wand Ceremony” the off-kilter beats make the vocals all the more hypnotic for a finale that carries the right sense of mysticism.
Words by Owen Maxwell
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