I have to say I’m definitely a fan of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and in my opinion, their debut was a seriously slept on album brimming with exciting production and underrated lyrical ability. Excempt of world beaters like Thrift Shop and Can’t Hold Us, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ sophomore LP may have slid under the radar for most people, in part because of this lack of big single. Nevertheless, after a four year wait, This Unruly Mess I’ve Made- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ second album is upon us.
This Unruly Mess I’ve Made starts in a peculiar fashion. Dramatic and gospel-esque, over the top appreciation for ‘all those who’ve supported him’, and a dramatic epilogue to close, it’s the sort of the track you’d expect to see at the end of an album, but nevertheless it’s got my attention. Such as with the following track Downtown among others, Macklemore and his content are often lost or forgotten in excessive production and dramatic grandeur. And often is the case, the content isn’t that great once you get there: ‘Made an Instagram for my cat / And my cat doesn’t even rap / And got more followers than you.’
Rhyming Subway with ‘monay’, too many tired references to things like his cat, or having an entire ‘jokey song’ about his eating habits are reasons why a lot of people don’t take Macklemore seriously. ‘And I really want a donut, shouldn’t get a donut / Bought a donut, fuck it man it’s really hard’. There’s people dying in the world guys. The annoying thing is, the way this project was prepped and promoted led me to believe it was supposed to have more content and substance than The Heist, when in fact is has very little. Macklemore lazily enlists cheesy piano chords or stirring percussion to rap about go-to debatable topics such as race or sudden fame, and while he can raise his voice to pep the listener as much as he likes, I’m not falling for it.
This Unruly Mess I’ve Made was ultimately disappointing. Uninteresting content and lyrics, a painful lack of substance, and often needlessly dramatic production, are all keys to the album’s downfall. Closing track White Privilege II encapsulates my opinions of This Unruly Mess I’ve Made From one cheesy race-keyword-hitting verse, to an excellent Colossus-stemming (Tyler The Creator song) lyrically-excellent one, is why this album is a frustrating one. It shows that the talent is there, it’s just being used in the wrong way. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis seem torn between ‘big single’-quality tracks, and intuitive layered album gems, unfortunately, these two intentions just clash, in the end displaying the worst of both.
Verdict – WW