Hip Hop Album Reviews (10/2016)

Swan Song

SWAN SONG

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An album by Hiatus

Review presented by Lionel Villanueva

Listen to “Swan Song” by Hiatus

Any artist(s) interested in having a review done should check out the offers provided by The Write Reviews or contact The Write Reviews.


THE INTRO

Being the second year of operation for The Write Reviews, I knew I would witness many things happen for the first time with the website, perhaps even more than I saw occur in our first full year. I would have never guessed this would be one of those things, but I cannot express how glad I am that it has happened.

Some of our readers may know that Issac Sandoval, a senior writer at The Write Reviews, also writes lyrics and records music under the name Hiatus. Hiatus decided he wanted to be in the same position as the very artists he reviews. The problem is I didn’t want anyone thinking we were being biased toward Hiatus.

Then I realized something… The newest member to join The Write Reviews’ staff, Lionel Villanueva, doesn’t know that Issac Sandoval is also Hiatus. Actually, Lionel won’t know it until he reads this paragraph just like everyone else. Anyhow, without holding everything up any longer, here’s the first review from Lionel Villanueva of Swan Song by Hiatus.


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THE ALBUM

1- Unthinkable

Smooth song to start any type of album, or collectives in my opinion, from any artist. Usually I would think the first song should be a fierce introduction to the start of a mixtape or album. The song isn’t bad, but to me wasn’t the right start. I do like the way the vocals carry simple lyrics over the radio-based melody beat, but felt the material was sort of incomplete with the start of one verse and the rest a common song that many will come to know after a few seconds into it.

2- Never Change

I like this better than the first track. The beat is smooth and goes excellent with his presence, vocals, and lyrics. Once again he isn’t forcing a fierce delivery that is common in most emcees, but this seems to fit well with conscious-minded lyrics and a mature atmosphere.

3- Somehow, Someway feat. Adverse and Hood$Rich

This song was felt in a heavy way and is another good song so far on this mix. The deliveries by the featured emcees on this track is well approached on the beat. It has a “D Block” sense of vibe with an urban conscious-minded anthem about trying to look for an better life than the streets. This song will be on repeat for many listeners.

4- Finally Found You

The snare and bass on this beat helps to carry the vocals on this song as well. I like how he was able to bring a short story to life about a female he always knew and how he reaches for a chance with her later in life, like a secret crush type of situation. I really think this track has some of his best vocals and his presence on the song leads me to think he prefers this style and type of delivery.

5- Plans For You

The lyrics do fairly well, but it seems to me like a stronger presence would be felt more with the outstanding chorus sample. I feel a little more life to this type of song, which seems to go for a radio type of sound, is needed to really connect with listeners. You can sense the feel of versatility just slightly, but the end of the measures on his bars sound almost as if he is trying to be trendy. Not a bad song to go through for a listen once in a while.

6- If You Ever Leave feat Ill-Mortal and Gataraxx

Here is another attempt at a radio sounding track. The featured verses on this track from Ill-Mortal and Gataraxx definitely help bring life to the song and aid in the chorus sample. Although the first verse was light compared to the other two verses, it was a great way to start. The mixing on the chorus sample needed the EQ to be slightly better; toward the end of the song it becomes muffled on the dramatic sequence change. I really do like changes and drops on alternative hip hop music, but the blend wasn’t settling right on the transition.

7- Scatteredbrained

The first time I heard the song, it felt to be a little dull but the little sample in the beginning quickly caught my interest. The vocals and the lyrics settle in easy with the mellow dramatic beat as if one was kind of on a high or a trip. In fact, the title of the track seems to fit well with the song as well with the chorus. The hook is kinda catchy in between the verses. The second verse becomes more dense and has a stronger presence with the lyrics. The somewhat laid back, slightly awkward delivery pushes the song in a good way, helping the audience connect with what he’s saying.

8- Million Miles Away

Hiatus brings yet another smooth blues type of heart felt track. By the time this song comes through the speaker, the whole mix is coming together in a tragic way that could leave listeners lost in a story that could not easily be forgotten. Some of the lines on the second verse could have been touched on again by the artist, but overall everything comes together well. I wasn’t too impressed with the sample on the hook but I’m sure others would like to hear more of the slightly emo, heart felt material like Hiatus expresses in this song.

9- Say Goodbye

You can sense the emotions from the vocals as he explains what the situation is between him and her. The delivery rolls out well with the beat and the chorus sample blends well in the background. A heavy drum direction makes the song feel like you were listening to this during a car ride on back country roads.

10- Broken Wings

I love the female voice sample in the background of the song as it goes well with the piano and drum roll line, which will draw any listener into the song. Out of all of the songs on this project, this would have to be the best voice sample to achieve the smooth sound he is going for.

11- Te Busque feat. Adverse

It doesn’t get more real then the first few lines on the opening verse of this track. Another catchy instrumental with a Hispanic undertone to the chorus, which carries very well with the verses. I feel like this is one of the first tracks on the project where Hiatus’ own verse is not overshadowed from outside features or trying too hard to not be outstaged by the featured artists, in a sense. They both pair well with each other, fitting right in when they blend on the hook.

12- Never Change Again feat D- NERO and Daniel Lee

Another good mellow tune out of the project. The other two verses on this song seem to have trouble finding a comfortable node on the melody. The chorus sample seems very mellow dramatic, which seems like it is asking for a complement type of vocal presence from an emcee. Hiatus does well with the first verse, which settles listeners in for the duration of the song. Not a bad song to play once a while during rainy days.

13- No Turning Back

Using chorus samples for this whole project seems a bit overdone by now and it is on a constant sad note, but it does have great bearing to the meaning of what he brings across. His delivery felt very dry on here along with a muddled out performance of the female on the hook. The second verse comes through better as he reaches more of a climax about the current outside appearance in his life. This is one of the few tracks where it feels like he wrote with the purpose of seeing the song entirely to the end.

14- One Man Can Change The World

Sounds like another radio attempt on this one. One of his strongest, if not his best song, on the entire project when it comes to getting his message across to listeners. A simple, mellow dramatic piano tune carries well with his poetic feel of conscious speaking. It is good to see a sense of mature spirituality from emcees that allows them to come from sensitive view points without worrying about the response of others. You can visualize piece by piece what his words are painting as it would give someone a gift of determination and motivation to overcome any hard task despite what the obstacle may be. By the end off the song everything comes into perspective for the audience in a nice touch to close the track.

15- No Apologies (Letter To The Competition)

Why wasn’t this the first track of the whole project?! Many say to save the best for last but this would of been a great way to taste his true positional delivery earlier in the album. The entire project was very mellow and smooth attempt at radio appeal to establish songs, but this song explains alot about who he is and where he stands at as an emcee. I can see why he chose to deliver this as a final track but I feel it deserves much more attention, and feel it would definitely get that attention during the beginning area of this project. Hiatus completed this one with three great vocally delivered verses.


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FEATURED TRACKS

Never Change, Some How/Some Way, Finally Found You, Scatteredbrained, Te Busque feat Adverse, No Turning Back, One Man Can Change The World, and No Apologies (Letter To The Competition)


THE WRITE UP

My first time listening to this album was on a Saturday morning, and I really didn’t know what to expect as I hit play on the album. I jumped right into the first track and caught the sense of an immediate mellow vibe for the music, almost as if I just turned on a radio channel in my car with an lady friend who happened to love that particular station as luck would have it. Yes, that is what I felt from the first song. The artist, Hiatus, which I don’t really know anything about, seems to be a conscious minded emcee who is aware of what happens in the streets. Although it might not be the case with mainstream hip hop, this is pretty common in the underground circuits of hip hop music. However, his choice in his music seems like he is attempting to approach a much wider audience who would be fans of the main stream areas of hip hop. You can tell he has areas to develop, perhaps most notably improving on his approach with delivery at times, but his lyrics and writing material are well felt and will be well received by most of his audience.

The direction of many projects can be hard to tackle at times depending on the overall theme of the music, but on this project Hiatus’ approach does fairly well. The same consistent mellow feel throughout the songs makes you feel as if you were listening to a story about a specific person and various chapters around that person’s life. Some songs may feel incomplete or may not connect with others as the production is centered around the hooks and pulling people in from that angle, more likely to appeal to females than males. Still, I thought this was a solid project overall.


STAR STATUS

⭐⭐⭐

(3 out of 5 stars)

Check out more great stuff at The Write Reviews!

RETURN TO REVIEWS

ARTIST OF THE MONTH

FEATURED EMCEES

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