18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
No more 'Outsider' than purely conventional.,
This review is from: The Outsider (Audio CD)
I've been a DJ Shadow fan since his very first Mo' Wax releases way back in the early 90's. Unlike other reviewers I like west coast hip hop and the sort of sample based crate digging constructions for which Shadow became famous, yet I still can't comprehend the totality of this album. What this record appears to represent is DJ Shadow struggle to both evolve a new and innovative sound while avoid lapsing back into familiar methods of his former glories and, unfortunately, not succeeding in either task.
While much of the production on this album might well be amazing (something you'd expect from any Shadow release), good production alone doesn't make a record worth listening too unless the songs themselves can somehow offer something more rewarding. Apart from maybe track 2 which shows hints of Shadows knowledge, versatility, and constructive expertise, any other noteworthy elements are swamped by the barrage of obtuse and mediocre vocals served up by the likes of David Banner. I can only assume that many of the positive reviews of this album came from people caught up in the hype of mediocre west coast rap 'music' (I use that term loosely) seemingly spewed out en masse nowadays, and not the sort of Shadow fans that expect more musical diversity than what is found here. While many of the previous reviews claim that this album is innovative and progressive I completely disagree. Shadows previous album 'The Private Press' reflected both a real progression and a sophisticated experimentation that did much to abate the appetite of fans expecting the impossible - i.e. another 'Endtroducing'. In contrast 'The Outsider', turns it's back on these developments while achieving nothing but giving a snapshot of a predictably cliched contemporary west coast hip hop culture. Far from representing the outsider-esque inspirational genius kind we know he truly can be, this DJ Shadow album merely demonstrates how even his par efforts are of an equivalent standard to those of the conventional and unimaginative hip hop crowd.