Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Common - Finding Forever (Review)

First Classic of the year!

Hey what's up all. I thought I'd drop by and drop in another blog post here. It seems this place is finally getting some hits...

So without further ado, hot off the press, I present my review for Common's new joint "Finding Forever." Common is sort of in a new phase of his career. Since Kanye's star started to shine bright, Common kinda got immersed in some of the surrounding glow."Be", the first album in this new G.O.O.D. music era for Common, made number 2 on the Billboard charts. Over Kanye's sometimes inconsistent soul offerings, Common was sounding as he had been for a few years: very mature. The album was almost even contemporary adult R&B rather than hip-hop. The album was good...but not great. Too short, and all too similar. Maybe even too "old."

From the instrumental intro to Common's Pop talking at end, "Finding Forever" is very much the sequel to "Be". But it's one of those rare sequels that improves on the original. Again with Kanye executive producing, soul is the order of the day. This time however, there are no weak productions. In fact, some of the soul tracks on here are incredibly strong. With chilled out, warm instrumentals prevalent, the hook melodies are consistently memorable and varied ("The People", "Black Maybe", "Break My Heart"). Will.I.Am brings some great drums again to another R&B infused jam on "I Want You". However, there is also room for straight up hip-hop. On the raw street gem "The Game" Common is pleasingly more aggressive and even youthful on the mic. Premo providing cuts for the song just elevates it to instant classic status. When Common says "This fist is like a symbol for black" you can't help but get caught up in it all.

And yes, this is noticeable throughout the whole album. Common seems less mature, which is great. Sometimes he is just putting in word plays and rhyming for the fun of it, which is a great compliment to his deeper thoughts ("She had some D's on her, but they weren't fake though..." is followed with "They say it's hard for a pimp, but extra hard for these h-" on "Driving Me Wild.")

The album has these consistent soul gems just littered throughout. It seems pointless listing the great tracks as I can just say "every track is dope". Again, there is an epic finish featuring Common's Pop with "Forever Begins" which, must like most of this album, manages to improve on "Be".

All in all, Common comes nicer, Kanye's productions are better, J-Dilla's production is better and Will.I.Am's production is dope. It is indeed a superior product to "Be" and up there with "Resurrection" as Common's best album. It is hard to say which is better, as those two are completely different styles: one is heavily soul and R&B influenced while the other is strictly hip-hop. But the fact that both quality albums come from different ends of his career should not be lost. Common has made great music, and continues to do so. While recently sounding very mature, it has been his willingness to add a bit more of his earlier style of just "spitting" back into the mix which has elevated this album high above his other recent offerings. Now he is again as fresh as he was at the beginning of his career. A little more hip-hop style jawns would push this rating even higher.


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