New Music, Erm…Wednesdays: Travis Barker (LISTEN)
Note: This was supposed to go up yesterday, but thanks to the miracle of awful Wi-Fi, I couldn’t download the album till last night. Apologies all around. Now, onto the review.
Give the drummer some? Puh-lease. The title of Travis Barker’s solo album reads like the skater-punk version of that old Rodney Dangerfield routine, “I don’t get no respect,” but in reality, Barker’s probably got the most clout of anyone who used to be in Blink-182. While Mark Hoppus is something of a nonentity outside the Blink-verse and Tom DeLonge has relegated himself to cult-god status as the frontman of Angels & Airwaves, Barker rose from the band’s hiatus to become, basically, MTV’s favorite white boy.
He plays the VMAs as one half of the house band! He’s got his own reality show! He’s got buddies up and down the spectrum of hip-hop, and despite being the victim of a plane crash that killed four people but spared Barker and his friend DJ AM (who died some time later of an overdose), all it takes is one listen of the uneven but forceful Give the Drummer Some to determine the man hasn’t lost a step on the kit.
More Faster Music Reviews:
-Lupe Fiasco: Lasers/Avril Lavigne: Goodbye Lullaby
-Dropkick Murphys: Going Out In Style
Barker’s beats are swirling and unique (not to mention challenging for MCs who usually rhyme to studio-generated tracks), but too often – all the time, actually – Barker’s relegated to second-fiddle against the barrage of guest-stars he invites to spit rhymes on the album. It’s a common problem for non-singers who go solo (Slash had the same issue on his record last year), and the album can be spotty in parts where the singer and drummer aren’t on the same page.
So, while Lupe Fiasco bounces fantastically off the walls alongside Barker’s beat on “If You Want To,” the Cool Kids collabo “Knock Down” fades instantly from memory. The album steeps itself heavily in rap-rock, which makes the business feel outdated at times, but Give the Drummer Some throws enough surprises – the Latin flavored “Saturday Night,” with Slash doing his best Santana impression – that it remains interesting, if not always thrilling, throughout.
Admittedly, there’s a Blink-182 reunion that totally should have been here, but it’s hard to argue with Barker (or his acumen) when RZA and Raekwon dug deep and gave the drummer the best Wu-Tang track in ten years for his album. Respect.
LISTEN: Travis Barker feat. RZA, Raekwon and Tom Morello: “Carry It”:
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