fri 14/06/2024

CD: Example - The Evolution of Man | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Example - The Evolution of Man

CD: Example - The Evolution of Man

British rapper bemoans his lot over predictable dance-pop, tinted with metal and dubstep

Example: the boy within the man

It has a cracking cover, Example’s new album. Look at it above. A boy by a lake stretching his hands skywards, emanating untrammelled childhood freedom, contrasted with a festival crowd, innocence long gone, roaring for more. Example appears to be positing his conflicted status. It works well as a metaphor and the album covers the same territory.

This is London pop rapper Elliot “Example” Gleave’s confessional fourth album, a loose concept piece where many songs are raw pleas, reeking of rehab speak. In essence, he bitterly regrets and abhors the way he let his idealised former girlfriend down and gave himself over to sex, drugs and decadence when he became a No 1 pop star. “It all appeared to be so rosy to everyone that knows me but I lost control of my health,” he admits on the title track.

Could he not have learned to manage himself without all this flim-flam? The now universally accepted bad-drugs/get-clean/absolution narrative is a bore. Come on, master the drugs, get on with it. Such objections are by the by, however, for Example’s music undermines him long before his tired rehab tale does. In fact, his chatty suburban poetry is lively and unforced despite the self-lacerating content and the occasional clunker such as “You were frosty to me like I was Nixon” (“One Way Mirror”). Unfortunately, although boasting producers ranging from Benga to Zane Lowe, Skream to Calvin Harris, the over-arching sound is hysterical candied top 10 dance-pop run through with juve-metal riffing and Skrillex-ish punch, all over-produced until it flatlines into the sound of every other song on the radio.

There’s also no change of tone throughout, except perhaps the New Order-ish, Dirty South-produced “All My Lows” which, despite yet more therapeutic whingeing, showcases a rich Iggy-like croon. The rest lacks any nuance, pummelling relentlessly, like a person who assumes the only way they’ll be heard is shouting very loudly mere millimetres from your face. With his tortured narcissism, Example probably does have a decent album in him - he’s certainly a wordsmith - but this homogenised stinker isn’t it.

Watch the video for "Say Nothing"

Could he not have learned to manage himself without all this flim-flam?

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Average: 2 (1 vote)

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