Overdrawn, overblown and over everybody’s heads
Is there such a thing as an album having too much heart? When a piece of work fully embodies the love and care the artist puts into it, it’s usually a positive outcome that sees that love resonate through its listeners in a relatable way. But what if there’s too much care? What if every emotive line and message is drawn out in the hopes that the listener will ‘feel’ something, but instead that message is lost in the great waves of repetition, forcing said listener in the exact opposite direction? Well, if you ever wanted a quick summary on the resulting philosophy of Logic’s third studio album ‘Everybody‘, I’d say you’ve got it right there.
One of the many definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. In Logic’s case, frequently reminding his audience that he comes from a white mother and a black father (therefore defining him as mixed race) is what I believe to be enough to get him locked up in a straight jacket. The Maryland MC and his grand entourage, as seen in the wildly impressive cover art, seemingly made it their mission to exploit this narrative at every point across ‘Everybody‘ and its 13 tracks, weaving this tale of an interpersonal race war into a theme of acceptance and acknowledgement of well.. everybody.
After the 7-and-a-half minute opening track ‘Hallelujah‘ instructs us to “Open your mind” about 300 times, the rapper continues to tell the same basic story on most tracks, referring back to this race issue at every passing moment. It’s something that Logic has been hesitant to address in the past after constant criticism of his wavering racial identity. The odd lyric here and there about this inner conflict was a welcome argument to be brought forward in a time when some fans will dismiss a rapper based on the colour of his skin, but to draw out this issue into 70 minutes of mind-numbingly bland lyricism and mostly average instrumentals is criminal.
Yet this is just a minor complaint in the face of some of the major issues ‘Everybody‘ has, that being that the album has too many ideas working against each other at the same time. ‘Confess’ with Killer Mike is supposed to be this retrospective look at Logic’s own life and his past endeavours he’s not at all proud of, but with the general, sweeping statements like “Wish a mothafucka would, would / Whole life I been up to no good / Change it all if I could” it’s neither engaging nor interesting – especially when paired with a dance track beat that gives me Vietnam-esque flashbacks to Flo Rida’s greatest hits. The title of the LP refers to it being a piece for everyone, yet when Logic gives a spoken monologue about his upbringing for the second half of ‘Take It Back’, completing wasting the production that’s offered up here, it seems there’s apparently only two races in the entire world and the only person that knows this is him.
Wasted potential and bad choices plague ‘Everybody‘, an album that could’ve been so much more if its creator had simply focused on consistent musical quality. Conflicting ideologies run rampant through this thing when on ‘1-800-273-8255’ (Suicide hotline number) he delves into suicidal thoughts, adding “Who can relate? WOO!” on the end as if to to desperately grasp at the relatability of sensitive issues like this in such a shallow way. Pair this with Juicy J literally exclaiming “Kill yo’self!” on ‘Ink Blot’ (a track which sadly has the most likeable beat on the record) and you have the recipe for conceptual disaster.
Even on the better moments on the album Logic just can’t help himself to refer back to his race issue, such as on the uplifting, almost gospel track ‘Black SpiderMan’ , another overly-long trek through generic bars: “Momma don’t love me / Daddy don’t love me / Wonder why I drown in the bubbly / You could be anything you wanna be / ‘Cept the person you don’t wanna be” – it’s not inspiring if you’ve heard this message nine different ways before on the same record, and it certainly isn’t enjoyable to hear knowing that a rapper like him could do so much better.
On a final note, the record also features Neil Degrasse Tyson, famous scientist and noted atheist, playing God. With a good handful of the album’s run time dedicated to this character and his conversation with ‘Atom’, a young man who’s just died and is awaiting judgement – this may be the single most pointless concept I’ve encountered on an LP in years. The ‘philosophical’ questions these moments attempt to pose just over complicate the album even more, adding more layers to its deep-rooted problems. In a way, this sums the album up perfectly; big ideas in pointless places.
‘Everybody’ has a big heart, big ideas and embodies a big personality that, up until now, hasn’t made a bad project. But ‘Everybody’ also has a very narrow focus when it comes to its sound. The album lacks any concrete tracks, squandering any promising production with cheap, throwaway writing or ultra-repetitive hooks. Where there is potential, there is bad decisions, and where there is bad decisions, there is several minutes of it. Logic’s third album was supposed to be his definitive stint as a standout artist in an industry full of monotony, but ‘Everybody’ just ends up sounding like a biographical audio book with a inconsistent soundtrack. Music with a message is good, but music which knocks you over the cranium with its message again and again is a headache – and one I want to forget sooner rather than later.