Wednesday, June 29, 2005

RJD2’s Since We Last Spoke Is No Deadringer

My very first post on Blog Critics was a review of RJD2's debut album Deadringer, an album I had only "discovered" weeks before. Now, a little over a month after that post, I decided to finally pick up RJD2's 2004 follow-up, Since We Last Spoke. I really liked Deadringer so I wondered if I would like Since We Last Spoke as much. The answer is no. However, the album is still good.

Since We Last Spoke is very different from Deadringer. It's shorter, clocking in at less than 47 minutes. There are no rappers on this album at all. However, the biggest change is the sound. RJD2 plays with more genres this time out. There are the smooth horns and jazzy feel to "1976" and the rock/electronic sound of "Exotic Talk." Light synths and a slow beat highlight "Making Days Longer," one of the songs that features RJD2's own vocals. "Clean Living" is a very funky little jam. There are also some songs that wouldn't sound out of place on Deadringer. "Ring Finger" is one such song. However, "All Of You" is too long and a song I always skip.

When an artist releases the follow-up to a great album, it's common to be disappointed if it doesn't impress you the way the last album did. However, I'm not disappointed by Since We Last Spoke. I like that RJD2 tried some different things on this album. I like that it's not a retread of Deadringer. In fact, I like a lot about the album. It's well-produced and there are a couple of great songs to be found. However, on the whole, it just isn't as good as Deadringer. Even though I'm trying to avoid comparing RJD2 to DJ Shadow again, this situation is similar to how I liked DJ Shadow's The Private Press even though it's not nearly as good as his classic Entroducing... For me, an artist doesn't have to top him/herself with each subsequent album. All the artist has to do is just create some good music. RJD2 created some good music for Since We Last Spoke and for that I'm thankful.

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