Seven years after his solo mixtape Narcotics Anonymous and only three months after The $uicideboy$’ second studio album Stop Staring At The Shadows, we have a 20 track solo album titled A Man Rose From The Dead from $uicideboy$’ member $crim. I was looking forward to a solo album by $rim but this isn’t what I expected; this album is a disappointment to say the least. I know that the $B duo have multiple alter-egos but whichever of $crim’s personalities is responsible for this musical garbage needs to be repressed via hypnosis or heavy drug use. If you’re a fan of The $uicideboy$, you may be expecting dark, satanic, drug-addled lyrics over bass-heavy beats but these elements are hardly anywhere to be heard. There’s no Trap Metal, no real Horrorcore, and more importantly: no throwback ’90s Memphis shit, just back-to-back run-of-the-mill and sometimes corny Pop music. And apart from a couple of quick mentions of the devil, pills, and suicide, there’s no depressing themes here at all. Aside from the album title and the fact that as a listener you may feel depressed after listening to this disappointing LP, nothing here feels like typical $uicideboy$ fare.
I can foresee some fans of the group defending this album, saying a change of direction is welcome whilst using cliches such as “maturing” or “evolving” but these excuses are usually bandied about when an artist’s work is declining. There’s almost nothing satisfying on this release. The only reason to listen to this album is if you’re curious to hear what selling out sounds like.
The album begins with “Delusions Of Grandeur” in which $crim raps about cars, houses, skating, and moon-walking whilst utilising a dumbed-down flow. This sets the pace for the entire album. A Man Rose From The Dead is almost entirely composed of autotune singing, mediocre rapping, and hackneyed production. This means that this LP isn’t individual or distinct, in fact it could be anyone penning or performing this shite. If you heard any of these songs without being told who it was, you’d be hard-pushed to say it’s $crim of The $uicideboy$, in fact it could be any crap crooner, from a major-label-signed bubblegum star to an amateur, home-studio Soundcloud rapper.
Autotune Hip-Pop tracks like “Side Effects” and “PTSD” may appeal to fans of Post Malone or Drake but this is supposed to be the $uicideboy$! Okay, I’ll concede that the song “Naloxone” contains an extremely catchy chorus and it could easily get into the charts (and if it did it would be deserved given the captivating hook and effective key-change) but the marriage of catchiness and tolerability isn’t always present. Songs like “Feel It Too (Its Too Much)”, “Tell Me When I’m Good Enough”, “El Paseo”, and “Violent Secrets” are worthy of the bottom of the garbage pile rather than the top of the pop charts.
A song like “Scars” is on the catchy yet generic Hip-Pop side but not all tracks are forgivable or even endurable. Tracks like “He Got Game”, “Portola (Blood Clot!)” are neither indelible nor irritating so there’s not much point in them. “Nightmare From The Northside” is the first track you’ll hear on the album that comes the closest to being a typical $uicideboy$ song, although even this is forgettable if you compare it to their entire discography.
I have no idea why rappers who clearly cannot sing (Bishop ahem Nehru) keep insisting on singing (or should I say trying to sing). The singing in “The Devil I Know” sounds like it could only be achieved by squeezing one’s balls with barbed wire whilst the autotune is ramped-up… “Take my heart again!”. Speaking of squeezed balls, you couldn’t make “Percosets & Papers” any more banal even if you had Justin Bieber doing a feature on there and the shit singing in “Euphoria Euphoria” can’t even be fixed by the Auto-Tune plug-in.
Whilst I’m in the criticising mood; the intermittent call of “pull the trigger Budd Dwyer” gives the album a sense of mixtape repetitiveness which isn’t great given that most of the songs are already monotonous and indistinct. The album ends with “Lost Child”, a track that is hardly memorable or particularly listenable, even if you enjoy mundane Hip-Pop.
The one positive here is the fact that all of the songs are short (although even the best $uicideboy$ tracks are brief) so if you dislike something it’s over pretty quickly. The other positive is that the soundscape of the majority of the album is laid back and chilled (listen to opening track “Delusions Of Grandeur) which suits this time of year. Sounding summery may lead to these tracks being played and looked upon with fondness by some but not by me. Summer or not, I cannot get over the terrible, dumbed-down flow in addition to the already horrendous auto-tune.
There are a few glimmers of hope here and there for fans of The $uicideboy$, namely “Fight Club (Psychosis)” with lines such as “switch-blade coming for your neck” and “El Guerro” which shows that $crim’s ultra-basic flow as heard in most of the album, can be switched if needed. That being said, “Carcosa” contains a potentially decent production-and-sample combo but the sing-rapping ruins this track and “Jesus Wept” at only 2 minutes long, sounds like three songs bolted together giving it a sense of schizophrenia rather than enjoyability. These better tracks are book-ended by pop offal so it makes little difference that there’s blips here and there of decent music, and because the tracklist includes a couple of decent songs in amongst the detritus (in an apparent random order I might add) the album’s flow or sense of continuance isn’t great either.
$crim, when starting out producing, was apparently influenced by the likes of T-Pain and Kanye West and this clearly shows; with almost non-stop radio-friendly trash here, he’s definitely channelling these two lames as well as other mediocre singers of the past. This album is less $uicideboy$ and more Backstreet Boys.
I was never a fan of early $uicideboy$, and releases such as Skrim’s Patron Saint Of Everything Totally Fucked was too upbeat for my liking. Little did I know that an album like this was on the horizon. This makes all the corny shit the boys have made in the past sound positively credible by comparison.
It’s not like we’ve got a shortage of mainstream rap-singers that we need relatively underground artists crossing-over trying to appeal to Pop music aficionados. Why make something that appeals to everyone other than your loyal fanbase? Some die-hard fans will probably be satisfied with A Man Rose From The Dead, especially given that the Coronavirus lockdown is halting and delaying most forms of entertainment, but these folk can be placed in the easily-pleased category of fans. I’ve listened to this album twice and I never want to hear it again. It’s so shit that I want to slit my wrists (but I guess that’s not appropriate in this instance) I should instead sing badly about how it makes me feel… “I can tell what’s real, and what’s fake, yeah” 🎶🎤.