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A.Tone Da Priest - October Sky (Track By Track Review)
Overview: This is A.Tone's third full length album and is drastically different sonic-ally from any of his previous works. Synthesizers and 808's traditional in most hip hop are traded for live guitar and bass licks over programmed drum beats giving it a less polished sound then most popular music these days.
1. A is for anarchy: 3/5
The message here is clear, the world is drastically changing for the worse and A.Tone refuses to be a by standard. This theme is driven home by brash atonal and sporadic instrumentation and is best served short and sweet.
2. Shadow: 4/5
A creepy song which uses the same power chord progression from the previous song providing some continuity. It features rapper O.S. who opens the song with a conversation with the devil. This track also features coolest guitar solo of the album after A.Tone's verse.
3. Three weeks a habit: 4/5
This is a very heavy and disorienting song with an exciting time change in the hook portion. Its content involves the act of making new habits after negative situations end. He slowly transitions from singing to rapping as if he is indicating getting back to normal. Unique is an understatement for this song.
4. Blue sky: 5/5
Sets the tone for the album, utilizing beautiful imagery to paint a bleak picture of a misunderstanding. Soft spinning guitars fill the verse portions leading to the screaming rock style hook. Very deliberate song with chilling lyricism.
5. Disguise: 4/5
Very creepy heavy song dealing with Satan, has a lot of character. Heavy guitars paint a very demented picture of frustration as few words are used on the verses leading to a quickly rapped hook. I could see this being really good live.
6. Rope: 3/5
Another creepy song, this one apparently about an abusive relationship with a selfish girl. There is a lot going on here, sort of a New Wave meets Hip Hop as the hook has Prince like inflections and the drums give have an 80's appeal. Nonetheless after a couple listens, these very awkward arrangements seem to fit this very awkward song quite well.
7. King of indecision: 3/5
An anthem for the indecisive, very cool song. Lyrically light, but fun to sing along.
8. Explain That: 5/5
A trap rap influenced style beat mixed with hard guitar and even harder lyrics. The most impressive part of this song is its simplicity and raw emotion captured thoughts tightly woven into intricate rhyme schemes. Its also ironic considering the style of beat and his stating in the hook "Its all been done before, there's nothing unique, but with out anything to say, we still speak, explain that". This song is one of my favorites on here.
9. Little Girl: 3/5
A whole lot of Caribbean flavor in this one... Electric guitars accompany salsa influenced piano and heavy bass making a full wall of competing sounds. No rapping on this track, thoughtful singing about young girls losing their innocence. Most different song on the album.
10. Technicolor: 5/5
Exciting, catchy and interesting computer age sounding song with fast drums and digital clicks and pops throughout. The only to not feature live instruments. The sung hook is extremely catchy as well as the choppy rapping which is completely open to interpretation as it is safely vague. This song with out a real topic is very easy to relate to, probably the most cross over-able song on here.
11. Normal: 5/5
Stand up and dance to this one, techno goth pop rap, I don’t know it sounds good. The lyrics involve the struggle of not being like anybody else and a sarcastic acceptance of giving into the pressure. Nicely done.
12. BlackDovesWhiteCrows: 5/5
The most hip hop cut on the album and some of the best lyricism and extraordinary bass guitar. Sean Spellz and A.Tone Da Priest show that chemistry just isnt a word. The airy whistling on the hook makes the song incredible.
13. Certainty: 3/5
Excellent rapping, cool guitars and progressing beat, but annoying hook.
14. You: 5/5
Catchy, pop punk tune with superb lyrics over distorted guitars. This is like the last song but good. The lyrics on here are quick and well placed together.
15. Gotta Love It: 5/5
This one is easy to get lost in, so much interesting stuff going on around you it’s hard to grasp. This is the happiest record on the album and the first time love is mentioned in a traditional sense. Borderlines pretentious poppyness, but is just benign enough for you to not realize it. Atmosphere is the word i would use here.
16. To A Place: 5/5
Feel good track, extremely prophetic lyrics here, cool warm vibe about getting back to your roots. More specifically though, judging by the lyrics, i think this song is about sex and procreation...
17. Shameful Pride: 4/5
The whining guitar solo on the hook makes this otherwise average track stand out. The lyrics are excellent however painting a picture of a desperate man begging for company.
18. Blaze Starr: 3/5
Good message for the kids, very avant garde take on reggae but nonetheless a decent song. Lyrics are very symbollic, so its really anybodies guess what this song is about.
19. Commune: 4/5
Awesome fun vibe with the drums and dance-able guitar riff, cool solo at the end. This song is about being trapped by societies oppression and giving into media pressures of ideal beauty.
20. Valiant Thor: 3/5
Strange guitar noise, bouncy beat, very fitting for the story of our visitor from Venus if you know it.
21. Awake: 4/5
Sleepy thought provoking track for insomniacs, very warm, slow and deliberate song. Reminds me of growing up.
22. Lullaby: 5/5
Great closer, very interesting, pretty introspective song with a big orchestral sound. The lyrics deal with facing your fears and not forgetting your dreams.
23. Burnout: 5/5
This hidden track is an acoustic performance of a song comparing life to the ashing of a blunt. Very creative, nice singing as well. No rap here. Perhaps this is an indicator of what the future holds as Fall In Line was on The Fi King.
In Closing: It is refreshing to here a rapper that does not talk about hoes, money or drugs. Not once throughout this album did A.Tone revert to cliches and I have to give him three thumbs up for some of the most thought provoking bars I've heard in years. There are no bad ideas on here. With that being said, some more polished production could have made some of these ideas clearer at some points, but nonetheless i think this is a great step towards what Hip Hop can become. I am starting to see A.Tone Da Priest as sort of a anti-celebrity for these modern times. The best way to describe this would be if Andre 3000 would have joined a punk band in the late 80s.
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