Wale – Attention Deficit

6 11 2009

Finally. A track-by-track review. This is officially the first one of these I’ve written since the 27th of August. That means it’s been over two months. Wowza. It’s Wale’s new album Attention Deficit.

So, this album was initially supposed to release in early September I think, and it ended up getting pushed back to this week. The reason for that is because Wale went on tour with Jay-Z, J. Cole, and N.E.R.D. Business-wise, definitely a good decision, but sort of frustrating for the fans. He kept us waiting and waiting, and then when the day came… well… keep reading.

Wale - Attention Deficit 1

Track 1: Triumph
This track sets a pretty good basis for the album, and Wale delivers a pretty solid message right off the bat. He recycles a couple rhymes from his mixtapes in the first verse, but that’s not really anything to complain about. All in all, it’s a pretty average track, and a decent choice to open with. 3

Track 2: Mama Told Me
The first of three tracks produced by Best Kept Secret on the album, and I’ve gotta say, all four of the beats are pretty solid, including this one. I’m not a huge fan of the hook, but the verses ooze lyricism as always. Again, a pretty average track, but Wale’s average is pretty far above most others’ averages. 3

Track 3: Mirrors (Feat. Bun B)
Right off the bat, I really like the stuttering thing he does. It gives the song a little bit more tension, and it works really well. This is the first track on the album that features another artist, and that artist is Bun B. All I can say is I’m glad that it happened sooner. That way I have more time to forget about it.

Track 4: Pretty Girls (Feat. Gucci Mane and Weensey from Backyard Band)
This track is the third single off of the album and with good reason. In my opinion, this is the first above-average track, despite the inclusion of Gucci Mane, who I’m not a terribly huge fan of. The hook is definitely catchy. My sole complaint is the “ugly girls be quiet, quiet” part, but I also kind of don’t give a fuck. 4

Track 5: World Tour (Feat. Jazmine Sullivan)
A variation of the “Award Tour” hook is used in this track, and Wale actually manages to do this pretty tactfully. A pretty solid choice for the second single, especially with Jazmine Sullivan’s vocals added into the mix. It clocks in at 3:48, but feels a bit faster than that, meaning that the songs doesn’t get old. That’s a plus. 4

Track 6: Let It Loose (Feat. Pharrell)
When I first saw the track listing for this album, this was the track I was most excited to hear. I figured, I generally like Pharrell, I generally like Wale, so I’d have at least a slightly positive reaction to this track at the very least. Boy, was I wrong. After hearing this track, I was pretty disappointed, not gonna lie. It didn’t really have much real content, which may be good for being drunk to, but that’s not what I was doing. And then it’s almost five minutes long. Too much. My least favorite track on the album. 2

Track 7: 90210
The second Mark Ronson-produced track on the album (the first being “Mirrors”). Deijon helped with the production as well, so I guess it’s not just Mark, but I’ve gotta say the synth progression is really catchy, yet not completely predictable, which is a great formula. Lyrically, the song is pretty good, but the message is really the better part. From here on out, the album definitely began to step up. 4

Track 8: Shades (Feat. Chrisette Michele)
I love this track. Once again, the message is one I can get behind. Michele’s vocals really add to the track, and that seems to be the general trend on this album. If there’s a female vocalist, a whole new dimension is added to the song. The beat for this song is also incredibly dope; kudos to Best Kept Secret for that.

Track 9: Chillin (Feat. Lady Gaga)
I’m not really feeling the “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” sample. Like, it starts to grows throughout the song, and kind of begins to work, but it just feels out of place to me. Honestly, this song just isn’t the type of song I like. It was the first single, so I assume they considered this one to have the most commercial potential. The weakest track on the second half of the album.

Track 10: TV in the Radio (Feat. K’naan)
The ever-present K’naan is featured in this track, and he definitely adds to the lyrical value of this track, although I’m not a huge fan of the hook or the beat. After “Chillin” though, this is a welcome change. 3

Track 11: Contemplate
The beat definitely feels darker and heavier than most of the material on the album, and I think the female vocal hook works really well. That seems to be a successful method for Wale. The subject matter is good. It’s really all part of a building process toward the last track. 3

Track 12: Diary (Feat. Marsha Ambrosius)
Once again, we get to experience the “Wale + female vocalist” song formula, and yet again, it works. A bit into the second half of the track, Wale has a sort of spoken word poetic bit, and it’s done really well. It’s been impressive how Wale’s managed to show a different side of himself.

Track 13: Beautiful Bliss (Feat. Melanie Fiona and J. Cole)
This track is better than the track before it, and it’s really nice how the album builds toward a really good ending. J. Cole’s verse is pretty hot, and the beat is well-crafted. The kick hits hard, and that really helps make the song. Wale’s “elastic is my wallet” bit is pretty clever, as is the part about “shifting keys” and getting the “capital raised up” (get it?). At 5:05, this is the longest track on the album, and it doesn’t disappoint. 4

Track 14: Prescription
A brilliant ending to the album. This is by far my favorite track. The beat is magical, and once again, crafted by Best Kept Secret. All the instrumentation works so well together. Everything adds to everything else, and it just builds a wave of sound, a perfect background for Wale to spit on. It’s really nice how it manages to tie in the whole “attention deficit” thing. There’s some spoken word type stuff going on at the end, and it’s a super effective way to end the album. “Prescription” is easily the best song on the album. Great ending. 5

Wale - Attention Deficit 2

So, what’ve we learned from this album? Well, when Wale works with female vocalists, the end result usually sounds a lot better than him doing the hooks himself. See, while I was really excited for this album, you could kind of already tell he popped. Maybe I’m giving Wale too much credit. Maybe not everyone know who he is yet. But he says his name so much, it’s hard to believe people haven’t heard of him. I think he can stop that by the way. I’ve yet to meet anyone who has pronounced his name “whale”. All in all, the album was kind of what I expected… a more mainstream version of the mixtapes.

Overall: 3/5

Wale - Attention Deficit

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