Artist: House Shoes
Album: Let It Go
Hip hop has experienced a renaissance over the past year. Names such as Kendrick Lamar and Joey Bada$$ have brought the genre back to its roots, moving away from the vapid content that had consumed it hitherto. Detroit born Michael Buchanan (also known as House Shoes) is surely hoping to be part of this upsurge in hip hop. With a mishmash of sampling, rapping and instrumentals, his debut LP, Let It Go, is not typical. But just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s good.
It’s quite difficult to discern what exactly Buchanan’s intention here is. The album’s only cohesion lies in the fact that all of the songs are, well, quite odd. Rap is layered over strange violin arrangements, there’s choral singing, and each track is concluded by some obscure recording that doesn’t appear to have any connection to the sound that’s preceded it. Sometimes it’s jazz, sometimes hip hop, sometimes it’s samples from movies.
There are certain songs that attempt to lift the tone somewhat. ‘Keep On’ and ‘Sunrise’ have that old-school hip hop sound which has become so popular recently. Yet, nothing can save Let It Go. It seems as if Buchanan has no idea himself what he wants it to be. The album is neither a member of the Lil’ Wayne school of sluts, hoes, money and bros, nor the Lamar school of a deeper, more thought out style. Perhaps Buchanan and his House Shoes experiment should be lauded for attempting something different, but it’s hard to commend something which fails in its primary objective. This is not an easy album to listen to.
In a Nutshell: An attempt at something different which, sadly, results in nothing more than painful listening.
By Anna Burzlaff