2019, Music

Ventura (2019) by Anderson .Paak

There is a general consensus that this is better than Oxnard and I think I mostly agree with that.

Oxnard felt to me, and many others it seems, like a deliberate expansion into hip hop. Sure, there was some on Malibu, but it felt very much like a neo-soul/R&B record with some rap on it. Whereas I think Oxnard, at times, felt like a hip hop record with some neo-soul. That isn’t exactly fair – it’s hardly hip hop first. It just felt less distinct and less fresh, to me anyway.

This album feels far more back in the neo-soul/R&B category, whether or not it contains less rap. (It sure feels like it.) But, as with Oxnard, I think the bloom is off the rose with .Paak for me, a little bit, as I once again find myself just not as captivated as I was with Malibu. I think this is due to me listening to that record first but, also, it was first chronologically. This is a follow up. I should compare them.

I think .Paak sounds like nobody else, at least nobody else that I’m aware of. This is primarily due to his distinct voice, I think, as his music is clearly indebted to both the neo soul tradition and hip hop. But his songwriting does also feel distinct enough, and the personality helps too. (By that I mean the combination of his unique voice, his lyrics, and his quirkiness in his vocal style.)

I suspect if .Paak made music in a genre I loved, I would view all three of these records, including Oxnard, as pretty good and worthy of a listen. I can think of plenty of rock bands where I listen to even their okay albums and enjoy them. But, at the end of the day, this is not my kind of music. What I like about .Paak is how distinct and creative he is. But Malibu is the album that introduced that to me. And so I think it is extremely likely that it will be the album of his I like the most.


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