When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold Image
Metascore
68

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 48 Ratings

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  • Summary: The latest album for the hip-hop duo from Minneapolis also includes a book written by Slug with the deluxe edition release.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 15
  2. Negative: 3 out of 15
  1. This is a matured and musical hip-hop duo and whether it is the fine contributions by Tom Waits and Tunde Adebimpe on separate songs, Ant’s soulful and majestic music, or Slug’s illustrious and poignant story-telling; it’s all superb.
  2. Even though some might miss Slug's angst-ridden diatribes (Lucy Ford is nowhere to be found on this album), he manages to toe the line between rapper and griot better than he ever has before on this new effort.
  3. Musically, Lemons is lusher and more ruminative than the harder-hitting Imagine, with producer Ant calling on Atmosphere's live backing band--plus guests, including Tom Waits (beatboxing!) and TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe--to flesh out the sound, enhancing his already-organic approach.
  4. For the first time, the duo forgoes Ant's sampled beats in favor of live instrumentals to back Slug's rhymes, which results in a sound that's far more textured and intricate than their previous five efforts.
  5. More energy and less uniformly drab scenery might have kept these well-intentioned stories from blurring into each other.
  6. Atmosphere play an autobiographical angle affectingly well. It’s an approach that’ll lead some to conclude When Life… is a little on the dull side, but with six albums under their belt seems the duo’s formula is not about to let them down just yet.
  7. We’re given a de trop of horrid synthesizers, only to be outdone by worse choruses and banal refrains.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. AndrewC.
    Jul 13, 2008
    10
    A change of pace that yields an album for a more mellow listening mood, When Life... is a real piece of work. Whether it is the new A change of pace that yields an album for a more mellow listening mood, When Life... is a real piece of work. Whether it is the new Atmosphere or just the current version, the verse is legit and the music wraps it all up in a smooth bundle. Expand
  2. InsaneSadcl0wnKr3w
    Jun 16, 2008
    10
    This ia a really good album. Chris Gaerig at Popmatters is not very smart! He said he rhymed baby with baby? Besides reading the lyrics you This ia a really good album. Chris Gaerig at Popmatters is not very smart! He said he rhymed baby with baby? Besides reading the lyrics you can just hear that he says lady! I mean this probbly listens to 5ocent or something!! Expand
  3. RaymondB.
    Jun 22, 2008
    10
    I'm impressed with this new album, while not exactly upbeat, it still has a lot of groove in the rhythm and sweetness in the melodies. I'm impressed with this new album, while not exactly upbeat, it still has a lot of groove in the rhythm and sweetness in the melodies. Slug's lyrics are as always unique to his style, and fresh and insightful. I feel that this album seems to show a matured style of music that can permeate a much larger demographic than the cookie cutter club rap will ever. Expand
  4. IanM.
    Apr 29, 2008
    9
    Great album and a definite evolution from previous efforts by Atmosphere. Although I love much of the work they have put out, this is Great album and a definite evolution from previous efforts by Atmosphere. Although I love much of the work they have put out, this is definitely their most mature album to date. Ant has abandoned many of the funk samples from previous records and has concentrated on live instruments and low-key beats. Some of the tracks abandon the beats completely in favor of acapella raps over a piano or guitar lick. This is not a party record like 'strictly leakage' and that is reflected in Slug's raps. He focusses less on the women troubles that have dominated previous albums and covers a range of topics including his deceased father (Yesterday), alcoholism (Your Glasshouse) and a concept song in which Slug personifies a cigarette and talks about it as if it is a pimp (The Skinny) (!). All in all, a rewarding album both musically and lyrically. Expand
  5. KeithT.
    Jun 22, 2008
    9
    Definitely a must buy for smooth beats and story telling fans.
  6. LCD
    May 1, 2008
    9
    This a really good atmosphere album. I feel bad that it got such a low score. The guy from Pop Matters has a really funny review. He This a really good atmosphere album. I feel bad that it got such a low score. The guy from Pop Matters has a really funny review. He criticizes Slug for rhyming baby with baby, when he's saying lady. The lyrics are in the book that comes with the cd. You'd think a critic might check something like that before publishing an article thats so judgemental. Anyways, don't be discouraged by the low score. If you like Atmosphere, you'll love this album. Expand
  7. MinnieA.
    May 27, 2008
    4
    It is impossible to believe that a wannabe Midwest rapper (PopMatter

See all 23 User Reviews