Noname finally blessed her patient fans by releasing her new album, “Room 25”, on September 14, 2018. Playing “Shadow Man”, “Forever”, “Diddy Bop”, and “Bye Bye Baby” on repeat for two years was great and all considering those songs will never age, however deep inside we all yearned for new Noname tracks.
The new album titled “Room 25” showed a lot of growth and exposed a new sense of self-awareness. While not straying away from her spoken word roots, Noname’s flows are speedier, whittier, and stronger than ever.
Noname kicked off her album with a jazzy self dedication making it clear who this album was made for. “Self” is a beautiful loop coming in at a short 1:35 recognizing that in all interpretations of her words they were written with meaning for the validation of no one but Noname. Her breathe and timing is is a masterpiece in the museum of thought processing, allowing any listener to digest her complete vision before moving to the next. There is nothing rushed as Noname walks with the beat, holds hands with it, lays in it, and then skips alongside it. The song then ends in an abrupt cut off followed by a direct connection of money to the next track.
“Blaxploitation” and “Prayer Song” had to be my least favorite songs off the album. As funky and lyrically pleasing to the ears as they may have seemed, Noname’s voice seemed to be fighting with the mixes of the beat at times.
Everything preceding those two songs are pure gold. “Window” has such a gentle touch that it’s intro is the sonic reality of tugging on someone’s heart strings. The build up into Phoelix feature is eloquent, and the tone in Noname’s delivery that follows is filled with clear variety of emotion that is most evident in her line, “So you really don’t think about me? You really don’t miss me?”.
“Don’t Forget About Me” is one of the more mature songs on the album. Noname’s voice sheds light on the truth in her situation, “Tell em’ Noname still don’t got no money, Tell em’ Noname almost passed out drinking. Secret is, she really think it saves lives.” This song is the hard reality of Noname in her self-discovery, and there is something cripplingly sad about the thought of being forgotten. “I pray my soul is still eternal and my momma don’t forget about me.” If one thing is sure, it’s that Noname’s sound is eternally whole and consistent while still revealing her steady improvement.
“Regal” embodies the sense of royalty as her oxymoronic comparisons paint a cape of wisdom on to those who take a deeper look. Her fantasy like track sets the perfect mood throughout its duration.
It is hard to imagine someone listening to the next song without moving a single muscle because “Montego Bae” is such an amazing piece from the grooves to the vocals it is perfect. Who doesn’t love a good scat to kick everything off followed by a tropical daydream chorus. Ravyn Lenae vocally snapped from 00:28 to 1:05. Such fluctuation and angelic nature it gives you that scrunched up face look that can only translate as “OK!”. Her lyric “Undress me under the moon” is my new ringtone. This song will make you want to travel and find love.
“Ace” is arguably my favorite song on the album, that frequently gets switched with “Part of Me”. Smino and Saba who are featured on this track happen to be some of my favorite artists as well, so there enters the bias. It is not just the collaboration that makes this song though. The beat is so smooth, and the snaps, keys, whistles, and other nats are so fitting. What really makes this song is how much fun the team had with such lyrics as “F*ck is you saying”, “Saying Vegan food is delicious, like wait and just hear me out”, and the basically Saba’s entire verse. He kills it.
“Part of Me” is personally one of the most relatable songs on the album and has the most relatable vibe on the entire album. The Guitar is fluid and the bass compliments its existence over such a classic drum. There is something powerful in Phoelix words, “I can’t pretend I’m not myself, but If you go wipe your shoes ‘fore you leave.” Then Benjamin Earl Turner gave us Kendrick Lamar vibes in the intro to his verse as he continues a very socially charged message that needs to be heard, uncovering the bias of possible people who could be listening.
On the last track, titled “no name”, Noname explains why she goes by no specific name. As there are many reasons listed, the one that stands out is when Noname says “Noname for private corporations to send emails to, because when we walk into heaven, nobodies name going to exist.” Then Adam Ness lays down one of the best vocals on the entire album followed by Noname singing us out.
Overall, this album gave us the same ‘ole Noname ebb and flow that we wanted, but a new and improved version. A mature self-aware clean copy. “Telefone” will forever be an amazing piece of work, but “Room 25” has entered into the music scene as an improved sequel that still has the same 99% rating approval from rotten tomatoes.