Tardy Album Review | Ed Balloon – The Dubs

This album was released on July 19th this year. Ed Balloon is an artist signed to Deathbomb Arc, who are the main reason I had any interest in him in the first place. Deathbomb Arc is in my top 3 labels right now alongside Mello Music Group & Rhymesayers Entertainment. I don’t check out every single release from them, but if I think there’s a slight chance that I’ll enjoy it to some extent, I’ll give it a shot. I’d only heard one single from this album before listening to the full project, but I really enjoyed it. The features were also really intriguing, so I didn’t have any excuse to sleep on this.

Apple Music has the genre listed as “R&B/Soul.” I’ve also seen some people refer to it as “Art Pop.” I don’t have a vast knowledge of subgenres outside of the Hip Hop family, so I have to admit that I have no idea what the fuck Art Pop is. The first song on this album, Yankee, kinda reminded me of Frank Ocean. The instrumental also reminded me of Rihanna’s Stay. It doesn’t sound as um… I don’t wanna say “commercial” because it’s not like this is super inaccessible. Well, I guess I’ll go back to the Frank Ocean comparison. I don’t think their voices are that similar, but the melody, instrumentation, and overall atmosphere kinda reminds me of something I’d hear from Blonde. It sounds kind of somber, but very pretty. It’s a really dope track, and a great way to start the album. It had me very excited for the rest of the project. The next track, Edges, was a very unexpected sound. The production sounds a lot like a beat from The Neptunes, and Ed Balloon’s actually kinda rapping on this song. The way he was flowing kinda reminded me of A$AP Ferg. The main difference is that it was actually good. The production on this track is really what makes it so enjoyable to me though. The way it evolves as the song progresses sounds fantastic. I love the synths that eventually come in. The song is pretty fucking weird honestly. The lyrical content isn’t super interesting to me, but it’s way too fun sonically for me to not fuck with it. The production is a lot bouncier and more lighthearted than I was expecting, especially after the first song. I love the sung outro of the track; that’s probably my favorite part of the whole song. It’s definitely not a highlight on this album for me, but I do like it. The following track kinda sounds like an amalgamation of the two sounds of the first couple of tracks. It has that kind of emotional atmosphere that was present on the opening song, but it’s vibrant and colorful like the second track. The production is really bouncy and kind of dreamy. I really love Ed Balloon’s voice. It’s pretty unique, and it sounds fantastic to me. I liked the featured verse from Illa J too. He sounds really good on this track. Everything about the song just comes together really nicely. It’s super well done. It’s definitely one of the first songs on the album that really stands out in a fantastic way in my opinion. I love it. It’s dope af. The following track, Rainbows, is somehow even better. It features a saxophone contribution from Tim Hall, who did a pretty nice job. I love the heavy, swelling instrumental of this song, and the weird vocal effect that obscures the “rainbows” chants on the hook sounds really cool. My favorite part of the song is definitely the outro. He really knows how to build a captivating crescendo as a finale for his songs. That shit was awesome. The song is dope af. Thankfully, this is one of those albums that gets better with almost every single track. The next song, Dreamworld, is amazing to me. As the title implies, it has kind of a dreamy aesthetic. It reminds me of certain 80s Pop songs. Fun fact: as far as Pop music goes, the 80s are my favorite period. I don’t really listen to Pop at all, but I love a lot of 80s hits because my mom would play them all the time when I was really young. I don’t know why I’m talking about this. Anyway, there’s really not anything I dislike about the song. I love the production and Ed’s singing. By the way, that line where he said “everybody thinks that I’m ugly” is the most relatable shit I’ve heard all year lol. I love how emotional the final half sounds. It’s an amazing song. It’s followed by Missed Call, which was the most exciting song in the tracklist for obvious reasons. It features one of my favorite rappers, Open Mike Eagle, as well as They Hate Change, who are a duo of rappers I’ve slowly been familiarizing myself with. They dropped a pretty good EP called Clearwater earlier this year, and they followed it up with another EP called Juices Run Clear in September, which I still need to check out. Anyway, the song thankfully did not end up disappointing me at all. The production is phenomenal, and I love the opening verse from OME. The singing from Ed Balloon sounds great on the hook. The production is absolutely glorious too. It’s an amazing song honestly. It sounds gorgeous. The They Hate Change feature was fantastic too. I haven’t really learned Andre & Vonne’s voices yet, so I don’t know which one of them rapped. It only sounded like one of them was on the track, but I couldn’t really tell. I guess it doesn’t matter though. The verse was awesome. Their flow was really unique. I think the song’s fucking stellar. I might actually like it more than Dreamworld. I don’t know yet. I still haven’t chosen a favorite track. Anyway, the following song is called Lost Boys. Once again, the production is absolutely superb. All the beats on this project are handled by Ed Balloon himself if I’m not mistaken, along with David Chapman & Samuel Creager. They did a fantastic job. I love the beats on this thing. Lost Boys is the second shortest track on the album, but I love it. The production is really fun and lighthearted, and Ed’s singing sounds great over it. The next song is called Du Rags in the Air. It features an artist named Niu Raza, who I’m actually not familiar with at all. The song sounds like it has some Afrobeat influence. I really like the production, and the hook from Niu Raza sounds great to me. Ed’s vocals sound more unorthodox on this track than they do on most of the other songs up to this point. His delivery is more wild and off-kilter. It sounds kinda like if Merlyn Wood was a singer. It’s dope as hell though. I love the song. The next song, Saint, features more saxophone playing from Tim Hall, and it sounds fantastic. This is one of the slower paced songs on the album. It sounds really beautiful. The production is phenomenal, and Ed’s singing is great. There’s really not anything I dislike about the song even a little bit. It’s another one of my favorite tracks; I love how the production fades in and out right before the crescendo on the outro. It’s kinda breathtaking honestly. It’s an incredible song. I love it. It’s dope af. The following track, Square Up Annie, is another one of the best songs on the album to me. Honestly, I still have no idea how I’m gonna choose a favorite track from this project because this shit is amazing. The production is superb, and I think this song has some of the best singing from Ed on the whole project. The whole track just sounds really pretty. I guess that could be said about most of the album. Once again, the song has an amazing outro. I actually think it’s really interesting how good a lot of the outros of these songs are. The final thirty seconds of a lot of these tracks are my favorite parts. It’s rare for me to be that impressed by the way a song ends, but Ed Balloon seems to have mastered it. It’s awesome. The penultimate song is called Toughie, and it’s another really good track. I really like the bouncy production, and Ed’s singing sounds great. I kinda wish the melody wasn’t so repetitive, but aside from that I don’t really have any issues with the song. It’s really fucking good. Once again, the way the song ends is amazing. I don’t really know how to explain it, but they manipulate one of Ed’s vocal riffs and make it sound like a synth, so it basically just becomes part of the beat. It’s fucking crazy. I wish y’all could’ve seen my face the first time I heard. It’s insane. It sounds awesome though. The song is dope af. The final track is called M’aider, which was the only single I’d heard before listening to the album.

If you go to the music video, you’ll see a comment from me that says “This is awesome.” I wasn’t lying, man. This is yet another one of my favorite songs on the album. Everything about it, from the production, to the lyrics, to the melody, to the actual singing is top notch to me. I love it. It also has one of the best music videos I’ve seen this year. There’s nothing I don’t like about the song. It’s dope af. 😀

This album is honestly amazing to me. I’m actually shocked by how much I love it. This is better than the overwhelming majority of Hip Hop albums that I’ve heard this year. In fact, I actually think this is the best Non-Hip Hop project I’ve heard in 2019. There’s not a single track here that I don’t like. The production from Ed, David Chapman & Samuel Creager is absolutely stunning, and Ed Balloon has a really pleasant singing voice. He’s also got a knack for super catchy melodies. One thing I’ve mentioned a few times in the body of this review is the outros. I think it’s pretty unconventional for the outros of songs to be so fucking good. I never feel the need to press the skip button when listening to this album because my favorite parts of a lot of the songs come in the last 30 seconds. These songs have some really euphoric climaxes. I love it. I always try to avoid using the made up word “eargasm” because I think it’s corny, but it popped into my head multiple times on my first listen of this project. I think this shit is fucking awesome, and I’m so glad I didn’t sleep on it just because it’s not a Hip Hop record. People who are more well versed in Pop & R&B might not be as blown away by this record as I am, but I don’t really think there are any consistent flaws with it personally. I think it’s dope af.

Favorite Song: Saint
Least Favorite Song: Edges


A flat
Grade: A

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