Definitely cheating on this one.
I wrote about #212, Macklemore & Lewis’ The Heist at the end of last year for my top 12 albums of 2012. I’m going to borrow heavily on that because it’s only been, like, a month since I wrote about it. Nothing has changed for me since then, really. Other than the Seahawks won a playoff game. What up, Seattle.
That said, here’s what I wrote then:
Somewhere in this review, there are discussions to be had about the healing power of music (and I write that with a straight face), the transformation of musical discovery in the last decade, and what role – if any – that music plays in effecting change.
But instead of starting any of those discussions, I will just say this: my second favorite album from 2012 is an insightful and touching release from a group I’d not even heard of until an AP.net forum recommendation in October.
Trying to peg Macklemore & Lewis as “intelligent hip-hop” doesn’t sit right with me. They’re intelligent, yes. It’s hip-hop, in a way. But I wouldn’t want to limit it to just that.
Lyrically, this record is all over the place. Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, calls for marriage equality (“Same Love”), dope secondhand furs (“Thrift Shop”), and an end to personal alcohol abuse (“Neon Cathedral”) – and that’s just within the first seven tracks.
Musically, combined with some head bobbing, energetic beats (“Can’t Hold Us”) and offset by well-orchestrated piano (“BomBom”), The Heist seems to have it all. And the horns! Don’t forget the horns.
Haggerty has a rare way with words, and crafts unique, personal stories that hit hard (“Wing$”) against the backdrop of refined musicality.
The Heist is equal parts upbeat and raw. It’s a ripper, man. Put this in your ears, stat.
On a scale from getting attacked by a shark to the (I’m guessing) warmly-receiving Sharkface Gang, I give Macklemore & Lewis’ The Heist a solid “outpouring of support for the Jaws ride before Universal Studios tore it down to the dismay of many.”
Standout tracks: “Can’t Hold Us” and “White Walls” and “Thrift Shop” and “Jimmy Iovine” and “Wing$” and “Thin Line” and “Same Love” and “Make the Money” and “BomBom” and “Starting Over” and “Gold” and “Castle” – do you get the point yet? This album rules.
Weakest tracks: “Cowboy Boots” – it’s a fun song, but it seems out of place. This is a bit of a stretch because almost all of the album is on point.
RIYL: Intelligent hip-hop? Astronautalis and WHY?, I guess. Those are both bad suggestions. I don’t know. It’s unique.