Airtight's Revenge

Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 9 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 9
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 9
  3. Negative: 0 out of 9
Buy On
  1. This is one heavy, messy, dynamite album--one that could take a decade to be fully processed.
  2. Ultimately, Airtight's Revenge joins Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, Van Hunt's Popular, Meshell Ndegeocello's Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape, Rahsaan Patterson's Wines & Spirits, Joi's Amoeba Cleansing Syndrome, and Sy Smith's Conflict as a generation-defining masterwork of unflinching vision that captures the artist at the very moment in time that it is released.
  3. Bilal and McKie place emphasis on the craft of each song and the arrangement of each instrument. Bilal's voice is treated as one of these parts, so there is a flat quality to the sound. This may frustrate fans of Bilal's voice or those expecting a conventional star-centric album that places the spotlight on a voice or an instrument. Instead, Bilal's feelings are the centerpiece here. That alone makes Airtight's Revenge a welcome return for a needed voice.
  4. Airtight's Revenge boasts a present-tense immediacy; there's no psychological distance between Bilal and the psychological torment he sings about, which gives the album a brooding, airless intensity.
  5. Jan 11, 2011
    80
    It's a complex listen that strays from the tropes of standard R&B.
  6. Dec 21, 2010
    80
    Airtight's Revenge has its soul affectations, but even standard fare like "Little One" bears Bilal's impressively reedy, insistent voice. He sounds like a man unburdening himself.
  7. 80
    Despite not being as mesmerizingly immense as some of his earlier output, the record is still a far-out journey of dramatics ("Restart" and "Levels"), hooky winners ("Robots" and "Think It Over") and real-world lament ("Flying" and "Think It Over"). In short, the wait paid off.
  8. On one hand, this [move to a much smaller, California-based independent label] represents a gentle lowering of expectation. On the other, however, it's given Bilal space to explore what he does free of the stifling expectations of a label trying to work out what they can sell, and to whom.
  9. Airtight's Revenge sounds like he had a lot of **** he needed to work through, but from great talent, and great catharsis, has come great art. It's hard to imagine that this will break through to any major audience, since it's even less accessible than the rejected Love for Sale, but it seriously deserves it.

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