An Example of progress
This is a special occasion for my blog; this is my first non-rock album review, in the form of singer/rapper Example. Assuming that you didn't know, I have an expansive range of musical interests, anything from Rap to Rock, from Hip-Hop to House, I will give it a listen. So when I stumbled across Example a few years ago, it opened up my range of tastes that little bit more. Being from the London area, I listen to a fair amount of Grime music (imagine Rap, but with faster flows and harder hitting lyrics). I remember a while back when Example tried his hand in that industry, all to no avail as that wasn't his true scene. So when he became popular and 'commercially acceptable', he was making music that suited him perfectly. Slightly light-hearted rap mixed with dance and dubstep elements, and the catchiest chorus melodies.
I was in love with his last album 'Playing in the Shadows', it was a banger and it proved Example was ready to climb to the next level. So he didn't waste any time on working quickly on album number four, 'The Evolution of Man'. The main thing with Example is that he is fairly unpredictable with what he puts into his songs, no two songs sound completely the same. So bearing this in mind, I listened with an open mind to his newest effort.
To start off with, we hear 'Come Taste The Rainbow', produced by dubstep artist Benga. It kicks off with palm muted guitar, supported with a melodic motif. Example's vocals join in, low in pitch, which for me isn't his best vocal range, he has a great mid range voice. Then the typical drum roll appears and Example begins rapping. He has a fantastic flow and intricately weaved lines. However the further we get into the song, when the rapping stops and practically the same hook repeats throughout the rest of the song, it feels slightly dull, and not necessarily the best tune to have as an album opener. Second song, and second single of the album 'Close Enemies' picks up from where the last album left off. The opening hook is typical Example, catchy vocals, attached with a solid, bouncy dance beat. This song would have fitted perfectly on 'Playing in the Shadows' and shows how Example has kept his best elements and used them on 'The Evolution of Man'. Clever wordplay such as 'She was a girl on film, Duran Duran' keeps the music exciting and displays Example's lyrical skill.
As the album progresses, I noticed a lot of guitar being used. He always used it in a couple of songs, but on this album it seems to be in a fair amount of songs. It supports the dance beats and dubsteps moments well, even though the dubstep moments seem slightly weaker on this album than the last one, but they were used sparsely on 'Playing in the Shadows', which made it seem more effective. Every song seems as if it would be played in a club in Ibiza, each song has a strong, pounding beat that would get you jumping. The song 'Queen of Your Dreams' has emotional lyrics, obviously about love. But it is effective and shows Example being diverse in what he preaches about. The title track 'The Evolution of Man' is the song that is least like the rest on this album. It's slower, with no real dance features. The equivalent of the song 'Microphone' on his previous album. In general seems darker and dare I say 'heavier'. It's not as soft as anything he's done before, but the fact it's edgy means it makes it so much more interesting. The anthemic song 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?' has for my money one of the best producers; Skream producing the track. It is an aggressive, eerie tune that shows Example stepping up his rap game.
This album to me is about Example doing what he does extremely well, but mixing it up a bit more. To the ignorant critics, it would seem like a generic dance influenced rap album, but once you delve in and give it a couple of listens, it is completely full of energy and shows Example doing his thing successfully. The highlight for me is his first single 'Say Nothing', it is a breath of fresh air for modern music, and possibly Example at his best. Other than that, I wouldn't say this album is as good as his previous album, but it surpasses his earlier albums and shows how much he's progressed since the 'Kickstarts' days. Definitely worth a listen and a guaranteed grower.
Stand-out tracks on this album: 'Close Enemies', 'Say Nothing' and 'Are You Sitting Comfortably?'
Rating: 7 out of 10