What does it sound like?:
“I made Sunday Candy, I’m never going to hell” says Chance on Ultralight Beam, the opening track of Kanye’s “Life Of Pablo”. Well, he’s not done praising, as Coloring Book, his new mixtape, is full of exultations to the almighty.
That’s because, he tells us “when the praises go up, the blessings come down”. And Chance feels so blessed can’t contain himself. He’s arrived in that moment when he’s so thrilled to be making a life with his lady and new daughter and simultaneously feeling his talent coming into full bloom that his bliss is infectious and oozes from every pore of Coloring Book.
If last year’s “Surf” (his last project with his own Big Jimmy Patterson, Donnie Trumpet) was a woozy afternoon by the pool, this is, for the most part, a more dynamic, diverse and poppy affair. Young Chancelor Bennett feels confident enough to try many styles although, reflecting this 23 year old’s burgeoning maturity, some of the standout songs here are the ballads.
Chance puts out mixtapes, not albums. I’m still not sure what the difference is, and the song “Mixtape”, where he hands the verses over to others, didn’t help in this regard.
He’s told us that “you’ve got to sell it to snatch the Grammy”. The fact that he’s giving this to us for nowt (it’s a free download on iTunes USA and available in its entirety on Youtube and elsewhere) does seem to function as an excuse for some sub album quality production values (the vocal mix on the first track is a mess, How Great has a “ran out of tape” ending, on some songs the verses and choruses crash into each other in a way a serious producer would address). Coloring Book is 57 minutes long and could certainly “stand a little mowing” (I’d start with “All Night”, an uninspired attempt at house that sounds a decade or more out of date). That said, in terms of quality the project formerly known as “Chance 3” just gets better as it goes along and the last twenty minutes in particular are tremendous.
What does it all *mean*?
As I play this mixtape, I imagine myself as Trevor Horn’s listening to his kid’s a Belle & Sebastian record and thinking “I love this, but it could have been recorded better”. Chance now has all the tools in the box; if he can find his own Trevor or Quincy Jones figure all the pieces will be in place for a classic.
Goes well with…
Summer sunshine, going out, wanting to feel good.
Might suit people who like…
Upful hip hop/ pop, who aren’t allergic to a bit of Lordpraising..