Macklemore’s not so solo yet solo album has one track on the entire list that is solely him. The rest of the songs on his newest album “Gemini” vary in decency. This is Macklemore’s second solo studio album created without his usual musical companion Ryan Lewis. The separation of the duo after nine years of working together has no official reason behind it. There are rumors of a controversy from not turning in their latest album to the grammy’s, however, nothing can be confirmed. What can be confirmed is what a great pair they made.
Ryan Lewis and Macklemore were never afraid to address controversial topics like white privilege and gay rights. Now that Macklemore has chosen to go solo once again, he has lost his genuine content and personal touch. Each track is heavily influenced by the featured artist on it. This lack of originality makes the album lack consistency and involves under developed tracks alongside great collaborative hits.
“Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight”
The album’s first track is a turnoff as Eric Nally screams its title in your ear (“Ain’t Gonna Die Tonight”). Nally sounds very aggressive, which is understandable and quite passionate, but also scary and a little unnecessary. There is also a choppy piano in the back which eventually becomes agonizingly repetitive and annoying.
The next track on Macklemore’s “Gemini” is called “Glorious” and its title defines its quality. The track is extremely uplifting and optimistic. Skylar Grey sounds like an angel who is radiating hope and inspiration for anyone who is willing to hear it.
The third track features Lil Yachty and has the young rapper written all over it. With yet another choppy piano in the background, Macklemore subjects himself to all of the Lil Yachty stereotypes in their song “Marmalade”. What really gives away the artist’s contribution to the production of this song is the child nursery rhyme sound mixed with the unnecessary auto-tune over it all.
Coming in at number four is another unoriginal song on Macklemore’s part. If anything It is more like an Offset song featuring Macklemore, and what kind of title is “Willy Wonka”? I have a feeling that after Macklemore separated from Ryan Lewis he chose to focus more on his rapping. Therefore, Macklemore decided to collab with as many famous trap artists he could get in contact with in order to create pointless trap music (considering that is what qualifies as good rap nowadays). This causes the artist to steer far from his usual sound. I encourage Macklemore’s choice to try new things, but this new vibe is a little hard to digest.
Track five, “Intentions”, featuring Dan Caplen, is a cute laid-back track with an R&B feel to it. Caplen’s voice is simply gorgeous with the accompanying guitar strums and soft drum. The lyrical pattern in this song is what stands out the most.
“I want to get exercise, but I’m too lazy to work out. I want all the finer things, but don’t wanna go to work now. I wanna go outside, take my family to the beach, I wake up in the morning, first thing I do is look at the screen.”
Macklemore is going to strike a chord with many of his followers on this song due to its relatability.
“Good Old Days”
“Good Old Days” is another highly relatable song that features a popular name: Kesha. “Good Old Days” contains a great message about enjoying life in the moment and learning to appreciate all that you have around you while it is still there.
“Gemini” as a whole
Much like the previous tracks, the rest of “Gemini” is heavily influenced by the artist it features. Macklemore must be rusty in working independently on his music. Ryan Lewis was always there to help him find the right sound to balance his honest lyrics and unconventional rap vibe. This entire album sounds like a confused artist trying to find a balance among rap, soft indie rock, and R&B. Instead of mashing all three genres like Macklemore and Lewis had done in the past, Macklemore just separates them and tries his best to dedicate a specific sound to each.
Could Macklemore do better? I doubt it. That is not because he is a bad artist. Macklemore still has mad skills. It’s just that after the Mona Lisa is painted, no one cares what comes next unless it matches such prestige. After songs like “Downtown”, “Thrift Shop” and “Same Love”, which were created through a collective effort, Macklemore is left with a lot of pressure to release the next “Can’t Hold Us”. To do this alone is nearly impossible, and working with a myriad of different artists and styles is not the answer.