Album Review | Atmosphere – Fishing Blues

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This album was released on August 12th in 2016. I really don’t know if I’m gonna like this shit… I haven’t heard any of the singles; I did watch that YouTube series that they had with Sway before the album came out. They played a few snippets in that series, and what I’ve heard actually sounded pretty cool, but I’m not gonna get my hopes up too much. I usually review music as I’m listening to it, but I think I’m gonna listen to this once without writing, and then say how I felt after. I’ll still be talking about every single track, so don’t worry about that. One thing I’ve already noticed is that there are a lot more features than there usually are on Atmosphere albums. That should keep things interesting if Slug isn’t doing well. As always, every song is produced by Ant.

Track 1: Like A Fire

Actually, you know what? Forget what I just said. I’m gonna review this as I listen to it, just like I normally do. This beat isn’t bad. I’m not in love with it, but it works. Hmm… Slug’s goin’ in right now. Something seems different. He seems to have a lot more energy on this song than he did on the past few albums. It’s not on the level of Overcast! or Headshots: SE7EN, but it’s definitely a step up from his later work. The first verse was dope. The scratches on the hook are cool. Wow. I actually like this song. I’m not in love with the beat, but Slug sounds like he was actually trying a lot harder on this song than he did on the previous few albums. Hopefully he keeps that shit up. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 2: Ringo

Ringo

This beat is cool. Slug’s rapping about being hungover again. This almost feels like the older shit they used to put out. I mean, the production style is still different, but… Well, to be honest, even the production sounds a lot better than it did on the previous album. I don’t know if Nate Collis & Erick Anderson are still involved, but this sounds a lot more lighthearted than anything on the previous few albums. The first verse was dope. The hook isn’t bad. The second verse was nice. The third verse was good too. Damn. I fuck with this song. The synths in the beat sounded pretty bad, but aside from that—and maybe the hook—I don’t really have any problems with this one. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 3: Besos

This beat is dope. It has the hard hitting percussion that I’ve been missing from Atmosphere lately. It actually sounds like a real Hip Hop beat that was made to be rapped over. The first verse was great. I coulda done without that line about Slug flooding “nut on her sponge butt,” but for the most part I really enjoyed it. This whole project is actually a lot better than I was expecting it to be. The hook is nothing special. The second verse was dope af. Same goes for the “bonus” verse at the end. Should I give this a 4 or a 5? I don’t know. I really enjoyed it, but I don’t know if I liked it quite enough for it to be “dope af…” Yeah, this is just dope I guess. It’s very good. I’m still not super in love with it sonically, but I definitely enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 4: Pure Evil Feat. I.B.E.

Pure Evil

Damn I just got REALLY distracted. It’s been like 10,000 hours. Just kidding. I really haven’t worked on this review in a long time tho. Okay, this song is starting now. I think this is I.B.E. singing at the beginning. He sounds pretty good. The beat’s fine. Oh shit. This is fucking awesome. Slug’s rapping from the perspective of an evil police officer. “I know I’m more than just a badge and a weapon / But when you see me comin’ you recognize my profession / You should believe that Ima leave an impression / Even if it means I gotta put my knee on your neck, man.” This is fantastic. Oh. It just ended. There’s only one verse. That kinda sucks. Man. This album just keeps getting better and better. I still don’t think I’ve heard a song that I feel comfortable calling “dope af,” but they’re definitely getting close. I probably would’ve called this dope af if it had at least one more verse. Aside from that, I don’t really have any problems with this track. This is really fuckin’ dope to me. 4/5

Track 5: Perfect

This beat is dope. Ant must’ve been taking the feedback pretty seriously ’cause the percussion on this album sounds way better so far. This hook is dope. The first verse was really short, but it was good. Damn. This album is already so much better than Southsiders. “If I had a spare moment / I’d probably loan it to somebody who needed to hold it / Life’s indecisive; might slice you open / And show compassion and throw you back into the ocean.” The second verse was really good too. I just wish these verses were longer. The first two verses were only 8 bars long. Oh shit. Damn. That final verse was dope af. It was longer than the other two. Slug is pretty much the same race as Logic and I—super mixed—but as far as I know he still has all the privileges of a straight white man, so it was cool to hear him address that. I probably would’ve taken a point away if the final verse was as short as the first two. That wasn’t the case tho. I really fuck with this one. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 6: Seismic Waves

This beat is dope af. Damn. Slug is rappin’ his fuckin’ ass off right now. This is awesome. The first verse was fantastic. I loved the way they built up to the beat dropping. The production on this track sounds really experimental and almost electronic compared to the other shit Ant normally produces, especially on the more recent shit. Slug killed both of the verses on this song. I don’t even know… Well, I guess the main reason I’m enjoying this album more is because Slug’s delivery and flow are a lot less boring. It actually sounds like he was focusing more on just the content of his verses. Now it seems like he’s actually paying attention to the way his rhymes are structured. I don’t know. This shit is dope af tho. I definitely fuck with this. 5/5

Track 7: Next To You Feat. deM atlaS

Wow. I haven’t disliked a single song on this album so far. I’m so happy. No seriously, y’all don’t understand how fuckin’ worried I was about Atmosphere. I haven’t enjoyed one of their albums this much in a long time. This is actually very dope so far tho. Alright this song is about to start now. I’m not super familiar with deM atlaS. I know he signed with Rhymesayers a few years ago, and I’ve heard him on some features here and there. What I’ve heard from him sounded really dope. He recently released a project called mF deM, which was him rapping over a bunch of old MF DOOM beats. I should probably check that out. Anyway, he sounds pretty damn good singing the hook on this song. This beat is dope too. I don’t know how I felt about the first verse from Slug… I guess it was cool for the most part, but he had some questionable lines. The subject matter of this song just isn’t really for me. There were some slightly corny lines in there too… “I had so much to drink that you’d think / I’m ’bout to go and paint the bathroom sink pink.” The second verse… Nah… I wasn’t feelin’ the second verse. “I’d love to press my face into the flesh / In between your pregnant breasts / I’d love to squeeze your butt and make you horny / But I know you gotta wake up in the morning.” Nah… I don’t know about this song… I think deM atlaS and Ant both did a good job, but Slug… The subject matter just isn’t my cup of tea. I don’t like hearin’ motherfuckers rap about shit like this. It’s a decent song. I kinda enjoyed it sonically, but the lyrics really hold this one back for me. It’s alright I guess. 3/5

Track 8: The Shit That We’ve Been Through

This beat is dope af. The first verse was cool. The subject matter isn’t really that interesting to me, but I think he’s doin’ a pretty good job with it. It sounds like he just broke up with his girl or something. Or maybe they’re ABOUT to break up. Or maybe they’ve just been arguing a lot. I don’t fuckin’ know. The hook’s alright I guess. The second verse wasn’t bad. Uh… I guess this song is alright. I’m a little disappointed. I really like the production, but this just isn’t my kinda song. It’s definitely not bad. It’s just not that interesting to me lyrically. I’d probably be able to enjoy it more if the hook was a little better. The hook isn’t even that bad. It’s just not that good. This song is alright. 3/5

Track 9: When The Lights Go Out Feat. MF DOOM & Kool Keith

Okay, this should be great. I’ll probably do a Kool Keith Marathon eventually. He has a shit load of albums tho, so it might be a while before I actually do it. There’s a lot more… uh… Well, you know… I don’t really think it’d make sense to start a Kool Keith Marathon when I haven’t done a Biggie, Pac, Em, Jay, or Scarface Marathon. I’ll probably do a MF DOOM Marathon before I do a Kool Keith Marathon anyway. Okay, this song is starting now. This beat is actually REALLY fuckin’ cool. It sounds really dark, but not in a super depressing, emotional way like the Southsiders & Family Sign production. This sounds dark in a Horrorcore way. I’ve only heard the first two lines of this song from Slug, but I think I’m gonna really fuck with this shit. “Do you remember that knife you wouldn’t part with? / You kept it sharp just to carve my fuckin’ heart like a park bench.” I’m REALLY hoping that they don’t fuck this shit up with a wack hook or something because this is fucking awesome so far. Yes. The first verse was dope af. YES. “By the time you hear this song I’ll be singing it from down at county jail / Still filled to the maximum, so fuck Bill Clinton with his saxophone.” YESSS. That line was fantastic. This song is perfect so far. THANK YOU LORD. The hook isn’t wack. Oh shitfuck. DOOM’s verse was great. Dude, fuck. This song is fucking fantastic so far. DOOM sounded so fucking good on this beat. Oh God… Fuck, man… Kool Keith didn’t have a verse… WHY? He just kinda rambled at the end of the track about random bullshit… WHY? WHY, GOD? This is still my favorite song on the album so far, but a Kool Keith verse would’ve been the fuckin’ icing on the cake. This cake has no icing. Atmosphere served my an icing-less cake. It’s still a good cake, but goddamn. Anyway, I really fuck with this song. Kool Keith’s contributions were pretty underwhelming, but aside from that this song is perfect. This shit is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 10: No Biggie

No Biggie

Huh… I just listened to this whole song, and I really don’t know what to think… I mean, I definitely like it. I really like the production, and Slug sounded pretty good on it, but… What the motherfuck was he talking about? The lyrics were pretty confusing to me… Maybe I’m thinking too hard… At first I thought the girl he was rapping about was a metaphor for America because of the shit he said about territoriality, but the more I listen to this shit the more confused I am… I don’t know… I really don’t fuckin’ know. I mean, I DO know that I like the song… I wonder how long it’ll take me to actually figure out what the hell he was rapping about. I don’t know. Well, I enjoyed it. I’m probably thinking too hard. I bet it’s really obvious and simple. I’m dumb tho, so it’s going over my head. Whatever. I still enjoyed the song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 11: Everything

This beat is dope af. The first verse was pretty good. The song just ended. I don’t have anything to say. It’s just another good Atmosphere song. I love the beat, and both of the verses from Slug were pretty good. The hook was fine. This obviously isn’t one of the most amazing songs I’ve ever heard or anything, but I still enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 12: Chasing New York Feat. Aesop Rock

Fuuuuuck… I gotta do an Aesop Rock Marathon too… I really wish I did it before his new album came out earlier this year… Whatever… I’ll just have to remember to do it before the end of the year. Anyway, this beat is really dope. Slug did his thing on the first verse. Okay, thank God; Slug’s on the hook, so I don’t have to worry about Aesop Rock not getting a verse. Unless he does what Kool Keith did. This beat is REALLY fucking dope. I think they might’ve actually gotten rid of Nate Collis & Erick Anderson ’cause the beats on this album have been really great so far. Yup. According to Wikipedia, Nate Collis & Erick Anderson were “touring members” from 2004 to 2014. I guess they’re just completely gone now. I’m not tryin’ to be an asshole towards those guys, but I’m really glad they’re gone. I really didn’t like the sound they brought to Atmosphere’s later shit. They’re absence seems to have had a positive effect on Slug too. His flow and delivery are just so much better on this album for some reason. I don’t know what it was about the past four albums, but it just didn’t even feel like the same guy. I’m honestly really surprised that they were able to come back from that. This shit is so much better. The second verse was dope. Okay, Aesop Rock’s goin’ in now… Uh… What the… Oh NOOO. He… He just did the outro… He didn’t have a verse… Was that feature really necessary? Why couldn’t Slug have done that himself? Hell, even Ant could’ve done that shit… Whatever. I’m not gonna get too upset about that shit. I actually really enjoyed this song. It would’ve been nice to get a verse from Aesop Rock, but it doesn’t really feel like the song is missing anything without him. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 13: Sugar

This beat is cool. The first verse was decent I guess. The subject matter isn’t interesting to me. I’m not really feelin’ this hook that much. It’s not terrible, but it’s not enjoyable for me personally. The second verse wasn’t bad. The final verse was alright… This… Nah. I don’t really like this one. I don’t think it’s a bad song, but I’d never have the desire to listen to this again. Nothing about this song stands out at all. It’s decent tho. 3/5

Track 14: Fishing Blues Feat. The Grouch

I’m not familiar with this Grouch guy. Okay, I just looked him up. Apparently he used to be a member of Living Legends, which is the same group that Murs was in. Oh. I just noticed that Murs has never been on an Atmosphere album. That’s weird. Maybe he was on one of those Sad Clown projects. Anyway, this beat is fucking awesome. It’s sooo fuckin’ smooth. The first verse from Slug was dope. I’m REALLY fuckin’ with this hook from The Grouch. He sounds great over this beat. His voice sounded kinda weird to me at first, but not in a bad way. He did a great job. The second verse from Slug was really dope. The song just ended. I REALLY like this one. The beat is smooth as FUCK, Slug did his thing on the verses, and the hook is surprisingly catchy for me. I don’t even know why I like the hook so much. Anyway, this is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 15: Won’t Look Back Feat. Kim Manning

Oh God… I don’t think I’m gonna like this song… I’m not feelin’ this sung hook from Kim Manning, and the beat isn’t really doin’ anything for me either. The first verse wasn’t that bad, but this just isn’t my kinda song. “Who was your first love? / And I ain’t talking about your first crush / I’m referring to the first one that’ll make you wanna curl up / Or get you worked up enough to try and burn the world up.” This is… This is bad to me. The beat sounds like Country Music, and the subject matter isn’t appealing to me at all, and I’m not feelin’ Kim Manning’s hook… Slug’s flow was fine, but the actual content of his verses just isn’t for me at all. Y’all know I don’t like love songs. So yeah. I’m really not feelin’ this one. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 16: Anybody That I’ve Known

This song has a really slow start, but I actually like it so far. The beat is dope af. I’m not in love with the hook, but the first verse was cool. That robotic vocal effect that comes in during the hook is kinda corny to be honest… The second verse was nice… Man. I don’t know. That hook… Ugh. I guess I fuck with the song. The aforementioned vocal effect on the hook makes me cringe, but that’s the only problem I have with the song. This is dope to me… Actually, you know what? I DON’T like this song. I really don’t like the hook, and the intro was really slow. It’s an okay track. 3/5

Track 17: Still Be Here

This beat is dope af even tho the female vocals sound a little corny. The first verse was cool. The hook is fine. That line where he said “I’m so vain that my heart’s like a rooster” was really corny to me… The rest of the verse wasn’t bad tho. Hmm… I don’t know about this one. It’s definitely not that bad of a song, but I don’t think I’d ever have the desire to return to it. It’s not really bad tho. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 18: A Long Hello

This beat is dope. I just listened to the song. It’s dope. It’s just a single verse, but it’s dope. I think this was a pretty good outro. I don’t really have anything super interesting to say about it tho. I enjoyed the verse. I’m clearly not blown away or anything, but I fuck with the song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Final Thoughts:

Wow… I… I actually REALLY liked this album. I think it’s really good. In my opinion this is the best Atmosphere album since You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having. Of course it’s still not on the level of their earlier work, but it’s a HUGE step up from the more recent stuff they’ve been putting out. The beats actually sound like real Hip Hop instrumentals instead of Alternative Rock instrumentals. Slug actually sounds a lot less uninspired than he did on Southsiders & The Family Sign. I mean, he’s not tearing every verse apart like he was earlier in his career, but this is still a very good sign in my opinion. While I was listening to this album, I realized something… Atmosphere changed a lot after You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change again. That’s what they seem to be doing with this album, and I think they’re going in the right direction. Not every album is gonna sound like God Loves Ugly, but not every album has to sound like The Family Sign either. I was REALLY worried that this album would be trash after hearing Southsiders. I’m just so happy that it’s not. This is some of the best shit they’ve put out in a LONG time. The final quarter of this album was kinda weak in my opinion; they could’ve cut some of those tracks out. This album is really good for the most part tho. I fuck with this album. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Chasing New York

Least Favorite Song: Won’t Look Back

Verdict:

77%

70-79

Tell me if I’m trippin’ in the comments below

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Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album

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