Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ second official studio album “This Unruly Mess I’ve Made,” feels like 14 different lectures condensed into a 140-character Twitter update. There is a lot missing.
Going into this album, I was honestly expecting something a bit more funky and upbeat, if the popular single “Downtown” was any indicator. Lewis pulls his weight here to be sure, and the sound is clean. Unfortunately, aside from “Downtown” and new songs “Dance Off” and “Buckshot,” Lewis stays in his comfort zone of simple (if any) percussion and operatic piano melodies combined with the church choir. This allows Macklemore to occasionally fall back on his common rap style, which is similar to someone talking in your ear with Beethoven in the background.
Macklemore has his heart in the right place but the substance of his music makes it seem like he is struggling to get his own thoughts together. He is midway through a conclusion, not well formed, and what we receive is something that should have more substance, but just doesn’t translate. His frequent and erratic gaps between social commentary, tender introspection and humor are severe. The album’s tone goes from melancholy to outlandish, and doesn’t seem to take itself seriously which comes off as slightly insulting.
The standout song of the album is “Kevin,” which takes a hard look at the problem with rampant prescription drugs in America. This is where both Macklemore and Lewis hit their stride. The duo admittedly has appeal by putting their awkward growing pains out to the world. So whether you like them or not, I believe they can do better.
Rating: 2/5 Stars