Words About Music
Rustie “Green Language”
Back in 2011, Glaswegian producer Rustie released his debut album “Glass Swords.” His bright, synth-and-bass-heavy brand of EDM caught the ear of several listeners. It also helped that he was signed to prestigious music label Warp Records. While “Glass Swords” isn’t the most original or thought-provoking electronic album I’ve heard, it’s a fun record. He’s also done some great collaborations since then with rappers like Danny Brown and Pusha T. With that under his belt, his sophomore release “Green Language” was pretty high on my list of albums I was anticipating this summer. Unfortunately, as several critics have noted, “Green Language” is rather disappointing for a number of reasons.
The thing about entire albums is that I like for them to be cohesive. I like for them to flow. And even if they don’t flow, I would at least like the songs to be good. If you read my review of the latest album from The Bug, you’ll remember that one of my complaints is that it wasn’t quite cohesive, but at least most of the songs on that album were really good. “Green Language” feels like 13 ideas and thoughts rather than songs, almost like Rustie recorded them in his sleep. There are some particularly good ones on here like the massive-sounding club-friendly “Raptor” or the Danny Brown collaboration “Attak.” The rest of the songs sort of pale in comparison, though. Either because they don’t feel complete or because the vocal guests don’t add anything interesting to the track other than a distraction from the subpar mixing.
Those that are praising this album are saying that Rustie didn’t set out to make “Glass Swords II;” he wanted to do something different. And I understand and respect that. My problem is that the songs on here that don’t sound like bland Oneohtrix Point Never remixes sound like half-assed attempts at recreating some of the better songs on “Glass Swords.” There’s still bright synths, heavy bass, trap hi-hats, build-ups, and breakdowns. The big issue is that Rustie also opted to add superfluous guest vocals and production. The song “Up Down” with British grime rapper D Double E is just plain obnoxious and features one of the most cliched and exhausting hooks I’ve ever heard.
“Green Language” doesn’t sound like the work of an established and acclaimed producer like Rustie. It sounds like a series of lo-fi Soundcloud recordings made by some 17-year old on FL Studio. I like Rustie as a producer. “Glass Swords” is a great album and Danny Brown’s “Side B (Dope Song)” continues to be one of my favorite tracks of 2013. I’m not really sure what happened here to be honest. There’s a couple good songs on here, but ultimately it just comes off like Rustie is trying to cash in by simplifying what he pulled off successfully three years ago. I just hope he doesn’t screw up this badly again.
SCORE – 4.3
FAVORITE TRACKS – Raptor, Attak (feat. Danny Brown), He Hate Me (feat. Gorgeous Children), Lets Spiral