Album Review | Atmosphere – When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

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This album was released on April 22nd in 2008. There was a pretty lengthy gap between the release of You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having and this album, so I’m hoping that it’ll actually have a different sound. Sometimes I feel like you could throw a lot of Atmosphere’s songs all on one project and it would sound fine. I’m not trying to compliment the cohesion of their music either; that comment was specifically designed to criticize the similarity of a lot of their songs. It kinda feels like I’ve been listening to re-releases of the same album. Actually, that was kind of an exaggeration. It’s not that bad. It’s definitely my biggest problem with them tho. Anyway, I’m expecting this to be dope. Even if they don’t really switch anything up on this album that much I think I’m gonna really enjoy it. Every song is produced by Ant.

Track 1: Like The Rest Of Us

This beat is dope af. I’m really feelin’ Slug’s calm, laid back delivery on this first verse. The hook is actually really fuckin’ dope too. I really love how calm and relaxing this song is. I feel like I’m floating on a cloud when I listen to the song. The second verse was great. This song is fantastic. I feel like I’m gently floating down a river while naked eating grapes. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Puppets

This beat is alright. Slug’s delivery isn’t as calm as it was on the previous track, but it’s still pretty laid back. The first verse wasn’t bad. Slug’s rapping about an ungrateful dick who’s always complaining about shit even though he has a relatively good life. Oh fuck… The way the percussion finally came in during the second verse was awesome. The way they built up to that beat drop was great. The second verse was cool I guess. I just… I don’t know if I like this one. It was cool at first, but… Fuck. I really don’t know how to describe it. It sounds corny to me. It sounds like… FUCK. I really don’t know what to compare it to. I know that there’s a popular song that’s kinda like this. Or maybe it’s an entire genre. I know I’ve heard this sound before. It’s corny to me. Is… Is it country music? It’s definitely a southern sound… Well, whatever. It sucks that I can’t really explain why, but I’m not really into this song. It’s not that bad, but I wouldn’t wanna hear this again. It’s okay. 3/5

Track 3: The Skinny

Where have I heard this beat before? I know I’ve heard this… Maybe it’s ’cause I watched that Paint It Gold series that they did on YouTube before listening to this album. Oh shit. This beat was in episode two of that show… Fuck. I kinda hope I haven’t heard a lot of the beats from this album already… It’s cool tho. I don’t dislike the beat. Slug kinda spoiled the concept of the song in that Paint It Gold series. It came out before the album was released, so it’s not like they didn’t know it’d be spoiling this song for their fans. Basically, Slug is personifying cigarettes as a pimp, and smokers are his prostitutes. It’s actually a really creative idea. It’s definitely one of the more creative songs I’ve heard from Atmosphere. The first verse was pretty good. The hook is dope. The second verse was great. “Suck that skinny white pimp dick; suck it.” I’m assuming this line is meant to emasculate male smokers in an attempt to discourage them from smoking. I don’t know if they still do it, but it’s pretty clear from the aforementioned Paint It Gold series that both Ant & Slug were heavy smokers around the time of this album’s release. Maybe Slug felt really shitty for smoking. I don’t know. The second verse was great. “Your lips taste like his dick / I can always tell when he’s been in your whip / You just one of a million, trick / Now take your ass outside and go talk to your pimp.” I actually really enjoyed this song. Slug still had that really calm, laid back delivery on this song. This is dope to me. I wasn’t in love with the production, but pretty much everything else is great about this song. I fuck with this. 4/5

Track 4: Dreamer

This beat is dope af even though it has guitar in it. I have more of a problem with electric guitars than acoustic ones, which is what this beat uses. Anyway, this first verse is really dope so far. Again, Slug’s delivery is really laid back and calm. So far almost every verse on this album has been almost conversational in terms of volume. If it weren’t for the flow and rhymes, this would just sound like a normal guy speaking to me. This is definitely one of the better beats so far. Ant did a great job with this one. Slug’s rapping about a girl who just had a baby even tho she’s “barely 18.” The hook is pretty good. Okay, this is actually a really awesome song. He’s just rapping about being a single mother. The third verse was fantastic. “When you smile and she doesn’t return it / Give her room, man, don’t disturb it / If it makes it hurt less to curse and fight / Go ahead and hate the world, girl, you earned the right.” I definitely fuck with this song. This is probably my favorite song on the album so far. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 5: Shoulda Known

Shoulda Known.png

This beat was used in the first episode of Paint It Gold. I don’t know how I feel about it… It kinda sounds Pop-ish. I feel like that could be said about the beats for the second and third tracks too. It kinda sounds like these beats have 80s Rock influences too. I guess just 80s music in general. I think Funk would be the most appropriate genre to compare this song to in particular. It’s a pretty simplistic beat. It’s just a repeating bassline with some light bass and handclaps. I think those are handclaps. I don’t know for sure tho. It sounds like Slug’s rapping about a female drug addict. I don’t know if I like this song. The beat did pretty much nothing for me, and the content didn’t either to be honest. Slug’s vocal delivery is still pretty toned down. The song wasn’t very good to me, but I don’t think it’s bad. It’s just not really that entertaining to me personally. It’s decent tho. 3/5

Track 6: You

This beat was in Paint It Gold too. It’s not bad, but I’m not crazy about it. I’m definitely not feelin’ this hook. Slug just sounds goofy singin’ this shit. The first verse was alright. Wow. I’m… I’m not feelin’ shit. The second verse was decent I guess. I don’t know… I just listened to the whole song; it’s just not really doin’ anything for me. The more I listen to the beat the less I like it. The hook is wack. The verses were fine I guess. I’m just not feelin’ this. This song is wack to me. 2/5

Track 7: Painting

Hmm… I don’t think I’ve heard this beat before. It’s dope af. I guess they only used the weaker beats for the Paint It Gold series. I’ve noticed that Slug hasn’t really been talking about himself on this album like he usually does. This is easily the least personal album they’ve done up to this point. It feels like every song has been a story about some random person. This song is about some guy who’s depressed because of something that happened to him in his past. I guess he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or something. This is actually a really well written and poetic song. “Ain’t no color paint gonna cover the stains / But if the oxygen escapes it’ll smother the flames / No introduction, doesn’t speak his own name / Gonna beat them demons at they own game.” I love how there’s no hook. This is just one really sad, emotional verse. I love this song. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 8: Your Glass House

I haven’t heard this beat. It’s dope af. Slug’s rapping about some chick with a hangover who woke up in a random house. This is basically like the movie The Hangover in the form of a song, except it’s not supposed to be funny. The hook isn’t bad. Slug’s singing it, but he sounds fine. The second verse was dope. The final verse was pretty good too. I don’t really have any problems with this song. It’s not one of my favorites, but I still enjoyed this one. The production was great, and I think Slug did a really good job rapping about this shit. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 9: Yesterday

I’ve heard this beat before. It’s not bad tho. I like this beat. Slug’s actually rapping from his own perspective on this song instead of telling a story about someone else. I’m not exactly sure who this song is addressed to, but he’s basically talking to someone whom he hasn’t spoken to in a long time. Maybe it’s about Spawn? That’d be dope if it was. I’ve watched a few interviews with Slug, but he never gets asked about Spawn, and I’ve yet to hear him acknowledge him. The hook is dope. “Yesterday, was that you? Looked just like you / Strange things my imagination might do / Take a breath; reflect on what we’ve been through / Or am I just going crazy ‘cause I miss you?” The second verse was great. This Spawn interpretation I have works really well. Maybe it really is about him. I kinda hope it is now. “You disappeared, but the history is still here.” I’m assuming the history he’s referring to is Overcast! Oh shit… Never mind… It’s about his dad. “I thought I saw you yesterday / But I know it wasn’t you ‘cause you passed away, dad.” That’s actually pretty sad…

That's sad…

I think it would’ve been really cool if this song was about Spawn, but I’m not really disappointed. This is still a really good song. I definitely fuck with this one. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 10: Guarantees

The production on this track is really simplistic. It’s just someone playing the acoustic guitar. I don’t know if that was Ant actually playing it. I think I remember him saying that he doesn’t play any instruments. Slug’s flow is slightly melodic, and his delivery is still really toned down. As far as I can tell every single word on this album is delivered at a speaking level volume. The first verse was really dope. This song is pretty much about the average white American man’s struggles. Well, this person’s life sounds more difficult than I think the average white American man’s life is. Maybe this song is about the average low-class white American man’s struggle. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever italicized anything on this blog. Anyway, the second verse was dope. I enjoyed the song, but I’m not blown away by it. The replay value is pretty low for me personally. I don’t know if I’d wanna listen to this again. I can tolerate acoustic guitars, but I still don’t love them. That’s literally the only instrument on this whole song as far as I can tell. I enjoyed the song tho. I just don’t think I’d ever have the desire to listen to this again. It’s alright I guess. The music video was nothing special. 3/5

Track 11: Me

This beat is dope af. The acoustic guitar is still very prevalent, but it’s not the only instrument here. There’s actually some percussion in this song. It’s very light, but it’s better than nothing. This song is just one long ass verse. The story is told in third person, but I think he’s rapping about himself. It’s kind of an autobiographical song with a strong focus on his relationships. He talks about how seeing his parents break up and get a divorce made him worry about his own relationships. He got married as soon as he finished high school, had a son with his wife, and then got a divorce. It sounds like he’s still friends with his ex-wife tho. I enjoyed this song. It’s not one of my favorites, but I still think it’s good. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 12: Wild Wild Horses

This beat was also in the Paint It Gold YouTube series, but I actually like it. The first verse was cool I guess. The hook isn’t bad. The subject matter just isn’t really for me. “Everything is all I have to give you / And I’m afraid it ain’t enough / And you’re not so young that you believe me / Just because I say it’s love.” The second verse was fine. I don’t know… I don’t think this is a bad song, but it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s cool tho. I liked the beat, but that’s pretty much it. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 13: Can’t Break

I’m not really feelin’ this beat personally. Oh shit. Slug’s actually kinda raising his voice for this one. It’s not like he’s screaming really hard, but this is easily the most aggressive song on the album so far. The first verse wasn’t bad. This hook is wack to me. The second verse was really dope. Slug’s flow on this track is great, but the production and hook just really hold it back for me. I’m not feelin’ this song. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 14: The Waitress Feat. Tom Waits

Oh shit. This is easily the most energetic song on the whole album. Well, I guess the previous track was more energetic, but the percussion is more hard hitting on this song. The beat is dope af. This song sounds like it’s rapped from the perspective of Charlie Kelly. If that means nothing to you then you’re missing out on one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Oh shit never mind. I thought he thirstin’ for this waitress, but she’s apparently his daughter. They just have a really bad relationship that he’s tryin’ to fix. There’s no hook. I’m not exactly sure what this Tom Waits guy did… Maybe he helped with the instrumental or something. Lemme see… Oh. Apparently he was beat boxing in the background. I… I didn’t hear him. Hmm… Oh shit. Okay, I hear him now. It’s just really quiet. That’s cool I guess. I like this song. The beat was cool, and Slug did his thing on here. It’s pretty much just one long verse with a beat break in the middle. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 15: In Her Music Box

This beat is dope af. This first verse was dope. Slug’s rapping about a little girl and her father. It sounds like they live in a car. Or maybe they just spend a lot of time in the car. Basically, the girl focuses on the music from the radio to distract herself from the fucked up shit that her dad does. I think that’s what’s happening. The hook is cool, and the verses were good. I don’t really have much to say about this one. I’m just really hungry right now. I fuck with this song. This is dope. 4/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is dope. It’s definitely one of my least favorite Atmosphere albums, but I still enjoyed it. It’s clear that they were trying to do something different with this album, which is what I thought I wanted, but I just don’t really like the direction in which they went. The production was really hit or miss with me. They used a lot of guitars and a lot of 80s sounding synths that just didn’t sound very good to me. The beats didn’t really sound like traditional Hip Hop instrumentals, which is cool; I’m just not really a fan of the genres they pulled from. It seems like Ant was really influenced by uh… Maybe 80s Rock? Well, I said this earlier. It just sounds like he was listening to a lot of 80s music when he was working on this stuff. I don’t really know why. That might just be me. As I said earlier, this is the least personal Slug has been on an album so far. The majority of these songs were stories about random people. It was also kinda weird how calm his delivery was. He never really raised his voice at all. I guess that’s not really a bad thing. It just seemed kinda weird to me. I think I liked the majority of what was here. It was just different. That at least kept things interesting for me tho. I enjoyed the album. It’s dope to me.

Favorite Song: Painting

Least Favorite Song: You

Verdict:

74%

70-79

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