Rio “A Different World”
Published on August 17, 2009
If Jay-Z proclaimed death to the auto-tune, Rio used every spiritual gift he had to bring it back from the dead. Yeah, Rio pulled out all the stops on this project. The coolest part of this album is not the way it thumps in your trunk, nor is it his refreshing flow. The coolest part is not even the content, which is on point from start to finish. The high point of this album is the diversity. Rio switches back and forth from singing to rapping effortlessly. Though this CD definitely has enough 808’s to leave your speakers gasping for air at times, this is not the average one-sided album with a lot of bass. I applaud the boldness to play around with different styles like rock (on #7 and #16) and a style that can best be described in the genre of “other” (on #15). I haven’t heard a joint similar to number 15 since Outkast, but, I digress.
Look, don’t get it twisted. Rio stays true to his country boy roots. But, he definitely adds an “otherworldly” type of seasoning to the normal recipe for krunkness. The concept that was cooked up for the album is on point and displayed consistently. He changes gears numerous times on the album, but never loses speed. Yes, there were songs that I would not listen to over and over, but keep in mind that I’m considered weird in most circles. There isn’t a “weak” song presented on this album. By that I mean all of the songs are well done. Each song just may not have been my personally preferred cut. With that being said, you always run that risk when you create a complete album and offer more than one thing. Some albums you come away from and it’s obvious that something was missing, but Rio leaves no rock unturned.
Speaking of The Rock. The content and the way he displayed the good news was exemplary. It was very refreshing. Normally on dance tracks, the content is weak. But I was pleasantly surprised with the strength of the message on “All I Need.” His flow never got too simple on this album because he would surprise you with a simile out of nowhere to keep your attention. I had many moments where a line here or there made me smile.
I say all of this with a word of caution. As much as I liked the album, I did find some things on the album to be strangely similar to some secular songs. So, I had to take a few points off the creativity/originality meter. Some songs sounded like songs and/or artists I’ve heard before, and that left me with a raised eyebrow. I won’t put anything on blast specifically, because if you don’t catch it you will definitely be nodding your head. Also, some people may catch it and still love it. I guess on one level this is a preference thing. If that’s not something you care about, as long as it sounds good, than ignore the past few sentences. To each his/her own…
Either way you look at it, Rio has all the ingredients to make good music for a long time. I would’ve liked to taste some of those ingredients in a greater commodity. I’d like to hear the auto-tune utilized a little better. I’d like to hear Rio continue to step out of the box and try some more things differently. After all, this is where he shined. When the album is finished I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this “Different World” is a tasty treat. But, everybody’s a critic. I’m just the one who wrote the review. Peace and much love…
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Review by: E Pluribus Unum
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