By Jonathan Fuchs, Copy Editor
[Steel Wool; 2016]
Key Tracks: “Heart Don’t Stand A Chance,” “Am I Wrong,” “Room In Here”
Mainstream modern R&B music is beginning to become a stale and bland genre. Though occasionally fans get albums from outstanding artists like D’Angelo who break away from the generic style, many R&B artists today rely a little too much on pop and trap inspired sounds. However, Malibu, the sophomore album and commercial breakthrough from singer, songwriter and newest protégé of Dr. Dre, Anderson .Paak, is the kick in the ass the genre needs. It is an ambitious record with a new and original sound of its own that takes influence from hip-hop, soul, disco and Motown.
Malibu starts off extremely strong with songs like “The Bird” and “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance,” which show off .Paak’s incredible singing and the album’s catchy flow and instrumentation. Other amazing tracks on the first half of the album include “The Season / Carry Me,” which has amazing instrumentals and vocal harmonies, and “Am I Wrong,” which has an unexpected disco feel to it and a really good verse from rapper ScHoolboy Q.
A huge part of what makes Malibu truly unforgettable is the second half of the album, which almost feels like a completely different experience. Since the latter half focuses more on love songs, the album begins to center itself around a specific person or theme, which is something we don’t get enough of in many albums today. Highlights on the second half include “Room In Here,” probably the best song on the album because of the spectacular vocals from The Game and Sonyae Elise, “Water Fall (Interluuube),” a surprisingly strong interlude that acts as the emotive slow jam of the album, and “Celebration,” an upbeat track with a funky bass line and great piano.
Malibu has quickly shown itself to be a breath of fresh air for the R&B genre. It has also put Anderson .Paak in the spotlight of mainstream music, which marks the beginning of a promising and successful career for him. If we get more interesting and thoughtful records like Malibu from .Paak, he has the potential to become a decade-defining artist in the future.