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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Chuckie Campbell

More Die of Heartbreak

Review by Gary Hill

I have to say that I like a lot of hip hop. I do have some problems with some of the stuff out there, though. For one thing, I don’t like the music that features little more than a rhythmic track as backing for the raps. I also don’t enjoy lyrics that use profanity seemingly without provocation or throw around the “n” word or glorify numerous negative aspects of society. Other than one guest rapper, this one avoids that second one quite well. It does a good, but not quite as effective job, on the first one, too. The result is a rap set that’s pretty entertaining, but has some weak moments.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Speak

The music on this has some modern elements, but in many ways feels like an old symphonic styled arrangement of pop music in the early part of the twentieth century. It’s mellow and pretty and the rap works well over the top of it.

Behind Her Eyes
In many ways the music to this is more like soundtrack music for some film. That symphonic quality is still present and it is dramatic. Really, though, the raps are what make his cut work so well. They feel genuine and impassioned and the track is even better than the opener was.
All I Meant featuring Cole Jonique
The soulful female vocals on this are definitely a great touch. This has a real retro R&B sound in a lot of ways. The rap brings more of a stripped back modern sound. This is a classy piece.
How to Know When featuring Willie Breeding
I’m not blown away by this one. The verses are a bit too stripped back. The chorus is better, though and the raps are good. It’s just a little lackluster compared to the other stuff here.
Synesthesia
There is a cool trippy vibe to this. It has some backwards tracked sounds and is overall a pretty tasty groove.
Father's Hands

I love this song. It’s arguably the strongest thing here. The rap is powerful and evocative. The music backing it up is pure modern hip hop sound. It’s also dramatic and helps to convey the emotional message of the piece.

Seasons

The rap on this is good, and there are moments where the music works, bringing some magic. Overall, though, it’s another that’s too stripped down.

Deus Ex Machina

Musically this is just a little better than the previous tune. The rap, though, is much stronger. It’s an awesome song, made so by the rap.

Against The Grain featuring Cappadonna, Block McCloud, and Solomon Childs

The lyrics on the first rap here turn me off. I think it’s unnecessary and trite. It seems to include “n word” drops and foul language just for the sake of the shock value. That’s a shame because the music and the rest of the raps on the tune deserve better. Without that opening part this would be the best cut of the disc.

Ancient Astronaut Theory

This one is sort of middle of the road. The rap is quite good, but the music is kind of average.

A Moment in Time

More interesting musically, this one is another that’s not one of the best here, but far from worst, either.

More Die of Heartbreak featuring Erin Breeding
I love this piece. It’s arguably the strongest of the set. The musical arrangement is proggy and quite nice. The female vocals add a lot. This is really a special song and a great way to end it in style.
 
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