When Windmills of the Soul dropped back in 2005, it was hailed as an instant classic, by most Hip-Hop heads, including myself. Overnight Japan sensation, Kero One, had created a album filled with laid-back jazzy beats and intricate lyricism. His second album, Early Believers, followed a similar formula plus a bit of guest singers singing hooks and choruses here and there. Now experimenting with a near flawless formula is risky business and it’s one Kero One pushes on in his third release, Kinetic World. Backed by a guest line-up with artists the likes of Fashawn, Othello, and Dumbfoundead, it seems hardly anything to scoff at.
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Switching between buttery guitar riffs, smooth piano loops, upbeat horns, and banging synthesizers, Kinetic World seems to get lost in it’s own identity, jumping back and forth between different styles that are ubiquitously found throughout summer albums.
It opens with ‘Let Me Clarify’ as Kero establishes a thesis for his album. Moving swiftly through his smooth flow, he slows down for a chorus that falls as a bit dull “I take my mask off and I put it on.” A similar sound, with a softer tone, takes hold on ‘On Bended Knee’ where Kero’s romantic side is unveiled for a quick moment on a proposal song that sounds a bit repetitive and cheesy.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/01-Let-Me-Clarify-1.mp3″ text=”Kero One – Let Me Clarify” dl=”0″]
Songs like ‘Asian Kids’ and ‘Remember All That’ are a bit disturbing. A radical change in Kero’s style is taken. I felt like Asian Kids sounded like something like a comedic parody. It outlines the uprise of Asian-American emcees and further emphasizes a stereotype I wasn’t even aware of. ‘Remember All That’ is not the best way to end a album. There is nothing that Kero says that he hasn’t already said before except he does it over a dull bassy synthesizer.
The real gem in this album lies in ‘Missing You.’ We’ve heard plenty of songs formatted into letters, but Kero expands on it with a surprise twist and a rising conflict in the background as it ends with a break in his chilled out tone with pleas of desperation. It is rich in story, theme, and sound all together.
[wpaudio url=”https://www.thewordisbond.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/05-Missing-You-1.mp3″ text=”Kero One – Missing You” dl=”0″]
Too often in the music industry do we see great artists longing to expand their fan base for whatever reasons they deem fit. Whether it’s the money or recognition you can hardly come to blame them. Kero One has made his mark on the so-called “Underground” world of Hip-Hop and it seems he is looking to broaden his appeal on this album by approaching a new audience. This album may not be for Windmills Lovers, but it certain hits a few nails on the head for some listeners out there. In a album with a concept regarding movement in a vastly diverse world, it only makes sense that Kero experiments with new,different sounds in order to truly encompass the sense of a Kinetic World.