Friday, January 15, 2016
Red Pill | Look What This World Did To Us | Mellow Music Group
"Look What This World Did To Us." The command is rhetorical. You're already aware of the echo, the generational discontent and alienation, the whispered and denied calls for absolution. No need to look around, just check your bank account and sigh-or echo Biggie and scream, "fuck the world." Or melt into the couch and absorb Red Pill's debut for Mello Music Group-a novel disguised as an album, a surly hymn from poisoned lungs. It's a confirmation of what John Cage once declared: "all great art is a form of complaint." Or maybe the better comparison is Bukowski, memorializing the "broken factory windows of emptiness." That makes more sense in Ferndale, Michigan where Red Pill calls home. After college graduation, "Leonard Letdown" started working at a machine shop. A temporary gig turned into a labor daze. The dream of converting music into rent money seemed more elusive by the day. Depression compounded. The empty packs of cigarettes turned into cellophane towers. The whiskey mixed with an absence of hope. This album is a signal flare, an escape route, and catharsis. This isn't just hip-hop, this is an attempt to distill the disillusion and cure the hangover. It's both a brilliant mission statement and a jazzy funeral for what was promised but never delivered. This is for those who played by the rules only to discover that the game was rigged. This is a toast for those entering their late 20s and still acting like adolescents. It's an anti-Valentine to marriage and mortgages. It offers empathy for those buried under student loan and credit card debt, but who refuse to sink. Even if the smoke rings appear like nooses, this is an artful rebuttal to the nihilism. Your favorite song will be determined by what theme you relate to most. Look What This World Did To Us is in league with the best of early Atmosphere or Open Mike Eagle's Dark Comedy, a modern hustle of machinery and migraines. A commemoration of going a quarter century without a foundation and an acknowledgement of the nerves that accompany a future built atop fault lines. These are the late night conversations you have with your friends. The idle nights and empty bottles, the hard questions that come after you realize the world might not be yours.