MSI is one of those bands that you either absolutely love or don’t understand and hate them. Last December fans were ecstatic when it was announced that a new album was on the way and thanks to a successful Kickstarter, we finally have the record in our greedy little hands. The perfect way to describe the album as a whole is all over the place. That describes the band in general and usually it’s not a bad thing; in this case it’s different. There are some really strong songs here that harken back to their early days, but there are also a lot of forgettable tracks that don’t stand up lyrically or musically.
One of my favorite songs on the album is the opener “Witness.” The way it begins with Jimmy Urine screaming “Son of a bitch! God likes me!” is like a slap in the face. You hear it and think “Oh, how I missed you, MSI.” It’s just an in your face song with the snotty, cynical attitude that we expect from the band. And though the chorus doesn’t match the same energy and aggressiveness of the opening, it’s still a super catchy song. It sounds like something that could come from anyone of their previous records. It’s a great, energetic, and aggressive way to start the album. If only the other songs here were as promising as this one.
“Fuck Machine” is another one of their fun, odd songs about being a fuck machine. Unlike the previous song, it doesn’t grab you instantly. It just doesn’t have the same energy and vibe as the opening track, but it’s one of those songs that will eventually grow on you. After a while you’ll be singing along and moving to the chaotic mix of guitars, booming drums, and sporadic synth going on. “It Gets Worse” finds the band’s sense of humor at full force. It’s another high energy track that begins with super fast, crazy sounding 8-bit music that instantly gets you moving. Also, the message of the song is funny and somewhat true. It’s basically saying life is only going to get worse for you unless you’re pretty or have money. It’s not their best work ever, but it’s certainly one of the best songs on this album.
From there the songs get a little weird and forgettable. While “I Want To Be Black” does sound like it could’ve come from their debut album, but it’s still odd and aside from lyrics like “I want to be black like Morgan Freeman” there’s not much else going on. Maybe it’s supposed to be making fun of white kids from the suburbs who try to be black, but if that’s the case the message doesn’t come through very clear. “Hey Tomorrow Fuck You and Your Friend Yesterday” just sounds weird musically. It has this strange amalgamation of pop going on that’s only made worse with the cheerleader like style of the chorus. The tempos also constantly change and while it’s not really bad, it kind of throws the whole song off. There’s just nothing about these songs that make you come back for more.
The songs found on the second half of the album may not be terrible, but they all start to run together. Songs like “Anonymous,” which could be making fun of the “anonymous” movement, “Stalker (Slit my Wrists),” “Jack You Up,” and “Ala Mode” have nothing about them that make them stand out, not only musically, but lyrically as well. MSI fans know that the band have some of the wittiest and cynical lyrics out there, even if they come out in a ridiculous manner. But here lyrics seem to take a backseat, especially on tracks like “Ala Mode.” It does seem like one of their more ridiculous tracks, but the opening line of “I like my girls like I like my women and my women like my girls/with ice cream on their ass and my dick in their world” pop out like a sore thumb. But the song does get good when Jimmy lists a bunch of horrible situations and then screams “Ice Cream will fix it!” It seems like the lyrics for most of the songs are just a bunch of random stuff put together and while sometimes it works, it’s disappointing overall.
The two songs where MSI does get witty are “Ass Backwards” and “Kill You All in a Hip Hop Rage.” The latter song again isn’t their best work, but the subject of it is really interesting and something that long term rap fans can agree on. It’s about how much rap sucks now; rather than rapping on problems in the ghetto, we get rap songs about partying and love. When Jimmy sings “If Biggie and Tupac was alive today/They would kill you all in a hip hop rage,” you can’t help but to agree with him. “Ass Backwards” finds the band poking fun of themselves again with lines like “I’m a break the English language with my four letter flow/I know you fucking hate it that’s what I’m paid for.” It’s this cocky attitude that makes this song something that could be found on their previous albums. If only there were more clever lyrics found on these songs.
Overall, the album gets 7.5/10. While there are some great, fun songs here, most of them are forgettable and don’t stand out at all. Only a handful of them will instantly grab your attention; the others will gradually grow on you. MSI songs have always been chaotic and spontaneous, but they also seemed focused in a weird way. Here, that just goes out the window. A lot of the songs are all over the place and some of the songs seem like they were written in three minutes. It’s not a terrible album, but it’s far from their best. For their first album in five years, I was expecting something more. I hate to say that I’m slightly disappointed.