Macklemore is often ridiculed, I've even seen him called a disgrace once on twitter and the problem is that alot of people don't take the time to actually listen to his projects because they are so caught up on the success of Thrift Shop and the idea of him being a joke rapper that they don't understand the deepness of the man and the project behind that song. Macklemore has dealt with alot of problems ranging from his independent album releases to his problems with addiction and whilst alot of these were dealt with on his excellent first album 'The Heist' there is obviously alot more to talk about as his first project in nearly 4 years is released and is aptly, tongue in cheek titled This Unruly Mess I've Made. Ryan Lewis created some defining beats on The Heist with some of the best beats of the year, Wings had an intense beat that created a dense atmosphere that perfectly matched the song, and you can really see that these two really work well together and arguably would not be as successful without their counterpart bringing out the best in one another. The Heist was undoubtedly a great album it mixed the fun and seriousness of Macklemore perfectly and equally, songs like Jimmy Iovine showed the nastiness of the music industry whilst songs like the annoyingly loveable Thrift Shop were funny and you could not get it out of your head.
The album opens up with the song Light Tunnels, a light hearted approach to being catapulted into fame and winning rap album of the year (Even Macklemore himself said Kendrick should have won it). The song does sound quite like he's blowing his own trumpet rather than being modest and accepting the fact that he's famous now. After this is Downtown, this is song is catchy as hell and we all know it. It quite possibly has one of the most annoying yet catchy choruses to ever be penned by Macklemore, not to mention the subject matter is almost identical to Thrift Shop yet ridiculously watered down (See the line "Goddam Man Everybody got Bugatti's", don't think they do Macklemore). We've all heard this song, and yeah Macklemore's flow is really nice on this but he just seems disinterested in this obvious attempt at a radio single. Brad Pitt's Cousin is one of the aforementioned fun songs, making it the second one in a row on the album and Macklemore complains about being labelled a joke rapper. The beat on this song, however, is hard as hell, Ryan Lewis really outdid himself on this one and it really makes you forget about the cringiness of this song although the line about every white guy in America going to their barbers and asking for the Macklemore is arguably the truest line in rap history and will produce a giggle on first listen but after that the line just fades into the rest of the song, much like the Taylor Swift line that was spat on The Life of Pablo by Kanye.
Dance Off is probably one of the worst and embarrassing songs I have ever heard, Idris Elba putting on a Jamaican accent is ridiculous and just an excuse to get one of the most sought after actors at the moment on an album. The verse are weak and not funny and ultimately it all leads down to what I would call 3 minutes of hell. Anyway, Need to Know contains a stylish verse by Chance the Rapper, honestly I expect nothing less from Chicago's man of the moment and this isn't to take away from either of Macklemore or Ryan Lewis here, this is a really well made song that comes together really well with a nice beat and nice verses but that's the problem with this entire album. It's just nice, there is nothing stand out about this album at all, none of the songs particularly stand out and throwing White Privilege II on the end just seems like an excuse for some free publicity after the storm that song cooked up which I wont even get into. Ryan Lewis was good on this album and Macklemore was simply mediocre, not a patch on The Heist unfortunately.