Anderson Paak – Malibu review

Anderson Paak, Facebook, Nov 7, 2015 (960x540)Anderson Paak’s Malibu is incredible. This multi-disciplined singer, rapper, songwriter and producer has been living a breakout year, appearing on tracks by Schoolboy Q, Kaytranada, Snakehips and Mac Miller to name but a few. Malibu, with its flavoursome grooves and relatable hooks, is the type of album you’ll want to listen to from end-to-end, and shout about to all your friends.

Anderson Paak - Malibu, 500The songs here talk of family and responsibility (‘The Bird’), resilience and self-reliance (‘Put Me Thru’). And there’s also a whole lotta love (‘Room in Here’), and love games (‘Without You’), here. Stylistically, the sound is a potent retro-future – think Thundercat, Dam-Funk – with production from 9th Wonder, Pomo, DJ Khalil, Callum Connor and Paak himself. This combination of Mile Davies-esque jazz, James Brown funk and disarming Smokey Robinson vocals is outstanding.

However, as soulful and progressive as much of Malibu is, some of Paak’s lyrical content remains in the wheelhouse of hip hop machismo (‘Your Prime’), which may turn off some listeners from the character of the man. Still, if you can live with that, there’s hours of joy to be found in Paak’s songs: ‘The Season / Carry Me’ is perfection in its wonky rhythm and tale of great expectations, ‘Am I Wrong’ percolates with its Jnerio Jarel space-funk, and closing gospel grooves, ‘Celebrate’ and ‘The Dreamer’, could make even the most promising motivation tape redundant.

Instrumentally, not since Janelle Monáe’s The ArchAndroid have I come across a combination of retro-future funk and soul that flows with such effervescence. Occasional objectifications aside, Paak’s verses are satisfyingly illustrative (“When I cracked the cookie all it said was keep dreaming”). Malibu is an album you’ll want to spin when life is at its toughest. But you’ll also want to spin it before a date, at barbecues with friends, and a plenty of other good times. Malibu is the stuff of life and, listening to it, you may be inspired to do a lot more living of your own.

Malibu is out now on Steel Wool/OBE/Art Club/Empire.

Image: Facebook/Anderson Paak

One thought on “Anderson Paak – Malibu review

  1. Ha! Thanks Mr L for sneaking in a cheeky link to my review. I have to say that Anderson Paak has dominated my musical universe in 2016. And although I still have issues with some of his lyrics, I can appreciate the abundance of God-given talent with which he has been blessed. A once in a generation find.

    My sis saw him play live with his band last week and even had a chance to meet and fraternise with Anderson and the crew afterwards. She said it was one of the best live sets she’s ever attended. Incredible energy.

    PS I think ‘Your Prime’ is seriously ironic. I was put off on my first listen but buried under the coarseness is a sensible moral to the tale; don’t be too frivolous with your youth (the ‘prime’ of the title); it’s over before you know it.

    Shalom, Miss T.