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Average User Score: 7.1Jun 23, 2013This album is a stellar example of a piece of art being ignored on its own merit because of what it is placed next to in the gallery. I am ofThis album is a stellar example of a piece of art being ignored on its own merit because of what it is placed next to in the gallery. I am of course referring to the massive comparison battle it is having with Kanye West's album Yeezus. While I understand it is something that Cole asked for by moving up his release date, I think this album needs to be looked at on its own and analyzed without people circlejerking about which artist is better. The most important point I can make before going into my actual review is that IT ISN'T A BAD THING that Cole doesn't go on some experimental journey with this album. It's his second album, and he still has yet to prove himself to be an exceptional talent. He is sticking to what he knows, polishing it, and releasing what he hopes will provide the proof that he deserves more attention.
Born Sinner is a vastly intriguing album, with a sonic pallet that doesn't range as far as some hip hop albums, but not to its disadvantage. Cole understand what he can do, he understand what he should be doing, and he pulls it off with an almost perfect touch.
Firstly, the production. All across the album, Cole shows his impressive musicianship with almost entirely self produced tracks. From the ungodly catchy Power Trip, to the soulful Trouble, to the harsh drive of She Knows, and the beautiful accumulation in the album's title track, Cole shows a mastery that is almost unheard of in a sophomore album. He weaves instruments together in ways that aren't too jarring or experimental, but he also keeps the sonic waves changing directions and keeps everything from sounding in any way repetitive. I could listen to this album with a complete lack of lyrics and be thoroughly pleased by the experience.
Lyricism is where Cole really shines though, and this album is no different from his past works. He has a wit that never quits and he knows how to flow over a beat like almost no other. As always he also tries to keep his focus on the way his world exists. He lets loose on his struggles with staying faithful, his love of materialism, his hate of materialism, his embarrassments, and he does it all in style. He tries to paint the climate of his mind across our eardrums, and he comes out looking like what he is, a still growing young entertainer, who is unsure how to handle life. The name of the album says it all, Cole is a Born Sinner, and he is struggling to find a way to control all of his desires and to learn from his mistakes.
All in all, I think this is an album that must be listened to very attentively over a multitude of days. It takes time to notice its nuances and clever structure. The only thing I have to say against it is that Cole still hasn't found his story. He's mastered how he's going to tell it, he just needs an inspiration.
General Cohesion: 8/10… Expand
Average User Score: 7.6Jun 23, 2013The experimental production makes this a positive in all for his career, but as an album it is extremely lacking. Unfortunately, it has anThe experimental production makes this a positive in all for his career, but as an album it is extremely lacking. Unfortunately, it has an enjoyable feel to it, that combined with Kanye's excellent musicianship, makes it easy to overlook the massive flaws. I can still listen to this album in the background of anything and enjoy the experience, but any kind of critical look leads to an extremely painful feeling.
The lyricism in this album is by far the worst Ye has ever put out. I find it extremely annoying when people praise his lyricism in this album, citing his focus on the racism of others or the racism of blacks towards blacks or any other such thing. Sure, he has a few conscious lines, but not a single one of them brings any new message from anything he's said before, and every time he's said it before, it was done better. Not a single line in this album strikes me as even somewhat stellar, and it's coupled with the extremely painful lines such as "I'd rather be a dick than a swallower". That line specifically also shows a weakness in Ye's lyricism in this album, where he is too lazy to think up lines that follow one another and just decides to repeat the same ones multiple times.
His egoism is something I will never look at negatively, as I think it is an incredible asset to his persona, and I normally love how he always proves himself right in so many ways. But for an album that contains a song titled 'I Am a God' (featuring God), he does not provide the backing.
I will however say that the production on this album is quite interesting, impressive at parts, surprising at others, and for that reason is why I say that this album is a good step for his career. As long as he decides to actually put some effort into his writing, and possibly take more time putting some of his storytelling talent into his next album, I think his next album could be legendary if he takes some of the experimental sounds on Yeezus and puts them to a better use.
General Cohesion: 3.5/10… Expand