The new T-Pain album, Oblivion, dropped last week and was highlighted as part of Go 95.3‘s New Music Friday. Every Monday, we follow up with some critical thoughts.
The hosts listened over the weekend, and the verdict’s in. All reviews are on a 1-5 scale.
= a few thrills
= above average
= one of the year’s best
= lit today, and forever
Mr. Peter Parker – I remember the “Death of Autotune” era well. Ten years ago, the vocal effect Roger Troutman made popular in the ’80s had become almost too much to handle. The trend was taking over the culture and EVERYONE was using it. Regardless if you love the effect or hate it, it’s evident, no one did it like T-Pain. After a million copycats and a few years of silence from the once-very-busy hitmaker, he is back with Oblivion, his first album since 2011’s rEVOLVEr. I like this one. I’m happy to hear Pain back in his groove with some modern aesthetics to avoid a dated sound. This album has the feel of an actual R&B project and is a solid listen from front to back. My standout joints were “Who Died,” “Classic You,” and “That’s How it Goes.” This is one of the good guys that I feel the game is missing. A modern pioneer of a vintage sound, this guy is a living legend that most definitely deserves his props.
Auggie 5000 – You would think that, after pretty much fading away for years, a T-Pain comeback album would either sound dated or uninspired, but it does not. Early on in the album he shows that he is fully capable of singing and rapping over the trap sound, Travis Scott-esque ad-libs included on “Classic Me.” He uses features well on this album, with no one artist really taking over a track outside of Mr. Talkbox on “May I,” where Talkbox is all over the song. Oblivion started off really strong, but lost energy towards the end. I’m glad T-Pain is back, though. The world is better with T-Pain.
DJ Bonics – At the height of T-Pain’s career, hip-hop purists were complaining about the use of Auto-Tune in rap. Today it’s not even a conversation anymore since we have been desensitized by the fact that a ton of rappers (and “singers”) are using Auto-Tune regularly. But listening to T-Pain’s Oblivion makes me appreciate someone who uses it as an effect, but actually can sing. It does bring me back to those days where T-Pain was on everything. There’s was something about his voice back then that made you feel good. T-Pain brings us back to that feeling on his latest project. The opening track, “Who Died,” is a great mix of those T-Pain vocals, which are layered beautifully over staccato strings, a dope horn sample, and hard trap drums. Some other favorites are the very melodic songs like “Straight,” “No Rush,” and “2 Fine,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign. Of course there are some classic ratchet T-Pain moments like “Pu$$y On the Phone,” “Textin’ My Ex,” and “Your Friend.” But, then at the end, T-Pain wants a “Second Chance.” Oblivion is great album to leave in the background while you are getting ready to go out.
DJ Advance – Oblivion was shockingly amazing. It has a lot of the classic T-Pain melodies along with dope features from Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Ty Dolla $ign and more. The two records that stood out the most to me were “Second Chance,” and “May I,” featuring Mr. Talkbox, who was also featured on the intro of Bruno Mars’ hit song “24K Magic.” “Second Chance” is the closeout record on the album and by far the song with the most substance dealing with all the issues of today.
Chaz Kangas – During T-Pain’s performance last month at the Zombie Pub Crawl, the Auto-Tune pioneer performed a medley of hooks he’d laid down for other artists, really drawing attention to both how inescapable T-Pain was as well as how long he’d been gone. But distance makes the heart grow fonder. T-Pain was gone just long enough to both capitalize on nostalgia and receive a hero’s welcome in today’s soundscape. T-Pain can still write killer hooks, summon human emotions with robot vocals and let his absurdist brags connect with his charisma and actually work. Oblivion‘s start-stop roll out has had the album delayed for years, but hearing it now it’s clear that T-Pain wasn’t postponing it, but perfecting it. From the personal despair of “Second Chance,” to the reinvigoration of what would otherwise be a played out sample in “That’s How it Goes,” it makes you wonder why we ever doubted T-Pain to begin with. While a few tracks are a bit bloated, Oblivion has to be in your 2017 conversation.