on 5 June 2013
First of all, it is utterly heartbreaking (as a loyal grime fan) to hear that after this album Wiley will release one more album and retire as a solo artist. But by all means, Wiley will be leaving enough music for us to cherise when that day comes. In the past year alone he has released two albums and two mixtapes. But now to this album.
First of all, considering this album is aimed at a mainstream audience it is extremely pleasing, Grime wise. "Ascent Intro" I find to be one of the best songs on the album and find it utterly powerful. From there on, this album continues to be abundantly pleasing with songs "Hands in the Air" and "First Class" combining grime and pop excellently. Despite Wiley's absence from "Skillzone" the first half of this album is extremely pleasing to the grime fan in me.
Par "Heatwave", which I now find slightly annoying after months of constant plays on radios and television channels, the second half of this album remains to be nearly as pleasing as the first.
Admittedly, "My Heart" and "So Alive" aren't exactly the best songs on the album but guest features from international stars French Montana and Far East Movement is something to respect.
And finally, "Humble Pie". A song I fell instantly in love with when I first heard it on It's All Fun and Games Till, Vol.1. The combination of Wiley's introspective lyrics and Kid D's soulful production make this The Ascent's best offering and the perfect closer to what is overall a very great album.
Whereas Grime militants will probably only like "Skillzone" and "Chainsaw" (Both great songs), it can't be denied that Wiley has finally done the 'Mainstream Grime Album' thing right this time.
Long Live King Wiley.
on 2 November 2013
Wiley's new album, The Ascent, pushes towards newer boundaries and has an offer with nice tracks, most club-bangers.
The album has stars like N-Dubz singer, Tulisa to hip hop/pop stars, Far East Movement.
Songs like Reload and Can You hear Me are club-bangers whilst laid back songs like Humble Pie and My Heart are ones listen to whilst you are sitting on the sofa, relaxing.
However, the quality of songs on here feel like a mixtape or a EP which can put people off to start with.
Overall, The Ascent is a good album/EP/mixtape/bleh to listen to if you like pop and grime mixes. Just don't be put off by the music.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2013
I was excited by the look of Wiley's new album, mainly because of the line-up of all star guests, which enticed me into purchasing it on the day of release. Don't get me wrong, i've always been a fan of Wiley, but this album is very mix and match for me. There are some amazingly stand-out tracks, and others which are just not up to the mark.
ASCENT: The track is very much scattered and doesn't really seem to withold any direction. It has a very disorganised introduction, and the actual vocals are just lost in the blur of weird sound effects, synths and jumbled instrumentals. A very poor start to the album. (2/5) FIRST CLASS FT. KANO AND LETHAL BIZZLE: This is one of the more successful pure grime tracks, making use of the two featuring MCs well as adding some structure to proceedings. Saying that, however, from the moment it starts to the moment it finishes, it doesn't seem to want to go anywhere. It stays very safe, and very calm and collected, which in this case, is a disadvantage. (3/5) SKILLZONE FT. GHETTS AND CO: This track has to be one of the worst grime tracks ever produced. It just sounds like noise. Seven very weak vocalists with some poor lyrical ability served atop a once again scattered and crazy instrumental. How somebody high up top didn't refuse to release this is beyond me. I've heard poor grime tracks in the past, but this takes the biscuit. (0/5) HANDS IN THE AIR FT. TULISA AND ICE KID: Finally, the album begins to pick up with the appearance of N-Dubz's finest and grime trainee Ice Kid. Sticking true to Wiley's roots, yet moving slowly towards the mainstream, this is a fine mash-up of two genres. Tulisa's autotuned vocal works well against the backdrop of Wiley's verses, an ideal use of autotune. (4/5) RELOAD FT. CHIP AND MS D: Reload is the best track by a clear mile. It's the most mainstream effort on the album, but perhaps gives us a sign that Wiley should turn his hand to mainstream rap more often. Chip's feature is also a standout moment, giving an amazing performance atop some pumping club beats and a suave and calculated hook from Ms. D. (5/5) CHAINSAW FT. WRIGZ, J2K AND KEVANC: Now the grime side of proceedings begins to come into it's own, with a powerful, yet risky hook-laden anthem involving three of the underground's finest MCs. The situation is calculated and controlled, and gives an excellent result with a selection of lyrically-advacned verses surrounding a succinct, powerful hook. (5/5)
HEATWAVE FT. MS D: Despite the fact it became a number-one record, Heatwave doesn't really do anything for me. Don't get me wrong, it is nowhere near the worst track on the album, but apart from Ms D's sulky, smooth hook, the track is really lacking in get up and go. (3/5) SO ALIVE FT. FAR EAST MOVEMENT: Hooking up with one of America's most commercially awful acts was a bad move. Grime is essentially a british genre, and therefore adding American and Asian rappers to an esentially british anthem is simply a bad idea. Once again, it's not the worst track on the record, it's just nothing stand-out either. (3/5) LIGHTS ON FT. ANGEL AND TINCHY STRYDER: The second best track on the album, aside from 'Reload'. The commerical aspect is strong enough for it to become another number-one record, with dark and soulful tones from Angel, added to a surprisingly frank appearance from Tinchy makes this a shining light amongst a select set of dark tracks. (5/5) CAN YOU HEAR ME FT. SKEPTA, JME AND MS. D: A slight improvement on 'Heatwave' as the second single, but again, Ms. D's appearance is the only highlight. To me it sounds like two tracks that have been spliced together, with rather disastrous results. The appearance of Skepta and JME fails to do anything for the track either. (3/5) TOMORROW FT. MEGAMAN AND STYALZ FUEGO: Where has this little gem been hiding? An under-rated yet sophisticated vocal from Styals Fuego on the hook is a piece of musical perfection on the ears. The sultry drum and bass backing Wiley and Megaman keeps the track flowing right through until the very end. Definitely has to be released as a single at some point. (5/5) MY HEART FT. EMELI SANDE AND FRENCH MONTANA: I was seriously looking forward to hearing Emeli hook up with Wiley again, after the amazing 'Never Be Your Woman' back in 2010. But a poorly-written hook from Wiley, extremly autotuned beyond recognition vocals and repetitive lyrics make Emeli sound as the worst performer on the track, which is a huge disappointment. Emeli's beautiful vocals and songwriting ability have been ruined by Wiley and his awful production. (2/5) HUMBLE PIE: The album closes with the second and final solo effort on the record. It's a slight improvement on the opening track, but again fails to really lift off. By this point, i'm starting to wonder if there's enough on this album for it to be worth purchasing. (3/5)
I would seriously reccomend listening to samples of the album before you purchase it. If you're a big fan of the grime genre, it may suit you more than the average listener. "Tomorrow", "Reload", "Lights On", "Chainsaw" and "Hands in the Air" are the stand-out tracks for me. If you're not interested in buying the entire album, these are the tracks i would reccomend. Hope for better things from Wiley next time.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2013
This.. is.. the perfect example of modern day rap, its not as pop as the singles make it out to be, instead its a pure hip-hop gem featuring songs with big name collaborations like Ms.D , Tulisa(N-Dubz), Tinchy Stryder, Angel, Skepta, Kano, Ghetts, Ice Kid and even EMILI SANDE! Plus many more!
The highlight tracks on this album are 'Hands In The Air' 'Skillzone' 'My Heart' and on the deluxe edition there is a song called 'Ninja' which unfortunately isn't on the standard version, and this standalone track should be heard by everyone.
A Huge well done to Wiley, despite this album probably charting low, its one of my favourite Hip-Hop/Grime LP's this year