P.O.S’ brand new album came out yesterday and ever since seeing the superb video for F*** Your Stuff I’ve been really looking forward to this date. OK, so I may have heard this album a few weeks early for the purpose of reviewing it (thanks to the good folks at Division Media), but the point remains.
The fact that a guy like me can stay interested in an album after more than a few weeks of listening to it, in this current musical climate (I personally think it’s been a rather poor year for music), is a testament to the quality of this album. So, click on below to read my thoughts on We Don’t Even Live Here, and to find out more about P.O.S.
We Don’t Even Live Here is the fourth solo album from Doomtree co-founder, punk philosopher and lyrical bomb-thrower Stefon Alexander, aka P.O.S. It’s a tight, bombastic record that builds on the Minneapolis-bred rapper and producer’s penchant for grinding beats and radical lyrics. But at the same time, WDELH marks a change – in sound and in attitude.
Known for welding hip-hop with guitar squalls and screamed vocals, on WDELH P.O.S. steps away from his noisy past in favour of futuristic beats fit for a Berlin nightclub. Though his hip-hop foundation is firm on tracks like the fiery F*** Your Stuff and the funky Wanted/Wasted, the album brings banging new sounds from dance-oriented collaborators like German DJs Boyz Noise & Housemeister, Gayngs’ Ryan Olson, and Innerpartysystem’s Patric Russel.
The album opens up with Bumper, which gives off a great vibe for an intro. The production doesn’t let your ears rest, preparing you for what you will hear: the chorus, they on some nonsense, we on some non-stop!, is something you’ll be saying out loud to yourself for days. Laced with raps that supplement the flow of the song is something P.O.S has really got right with this album, and that’s from start to finish.
What follows is the excellent F*** Your Stuff, which for me captivates what We Don’t Even Live Here is all about. An anti-capitalistic track, with many bars aimed at the fools who think their possessions defines their character. According to P.O.S himself, the track has an even deeper meaning to it, about how this world lacks real leaders and how we live how we’re told to, by the media for example.
How We Land features Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, and musically this switches up the flow with a more chilled out (by this album’s standards!) style. It’s a song about people who think they find happiness in drugs, legally medicated or not. Justin really takes to this song well and contributes fantastic vocals that adds to a really catchy song.
Up next is the most politically charged song of the album, and in P.O.S’ own words, him looking at how America is depicted as the best in the world, and whether that really is the case. For me, Wanted/Wasted didn’t quite hold my attention, but that’s due to the quality of the tracks before it and what follows. And what follows is a song that really resonates with me for the following reason.
“They sleep on us, don’t wake them up, we sneaking out”
A brilliantly addictive hook. Being underrated and unnoticed is something this website’s foundations was first built on, and what P.O.S states in this song is what we’re all about. Don’t stick around or conform to get noticed, do your own thing and shape your own lane, people will respect you more. With some high octane verses from P.O.S and Sims (of Doomtree), They Can’t Come is the standout track of the album.
Coming up to the mid-point of the album, Lock Picks, Knive, Bricks and Bats is a title of a track that paints a pretty picture…have no fear, there is nothing sinister about it! I tell a lie, the production on this particular song is pretty dark, a real underlying feel of something big about to happen, and thematically speaking this would be the point in a movie where the main character is at a crossroads. The message of the song is P.O.S delivering statement after statement in a stream of consciousness fashion about him and his people living in this world in their own way, enjoying life in spite of the handicap society try to place on us.
Fire In The Hole/Arrow To The Point continues this theme, with P.O.S giving us the blueprint to following through on your actions and breaking out of anything or one trying to hold you down. Again, the production on this song is a real highlight, these last two tracks don’t focus on traditional lyricism so much, but instead the tracks almost like an interlude of taking action.
Get Down, production-wise, gives us something to nod our head to, with a more bass pumped track (that would suit playing full blast in the car!). Mike Mictlan (also of Doomtree) assists P.O.S with breaking down the notion that not caring about anything is cool, and instead we shouldn’t stop caring altogether but we should channel it elsewhere, and change what we care about. You can check out the energetic music video for this here.
Another dance/head-bopping track follows with All Of It. Breaking down cultural norms, it’s certainly one for you to pay attention to the lyrics and not just the energetic beat.
One of the reasons I’m enjoying this album so much is the variety in the production on this album. We have a little bit of everything and it flows together so well, with the quality of the sound helping to elevate P.O.S’ refreshing voice, a change from the cookie-cutter sound we’re used to in the industry today. Weird Friends certainly takes a risk production-wise with a rather ‘outer-space’ type vibe, with P.O.S’ message that we should live and enjoy ourselves whilst stop focusing on things on this planet that we don’t need or help us.
Piano Hits closes out the album with another track on a political vibe. As P.O.S says, it’s a track that’s about not being fooled by the speeches or proposed actions of those trying to get elected (topical right now) and this is an angry song, focusing on the rage of not being able to progress. P.O.S lives happily in a place that doesn’t want him, and that’s a message that’s conveyed right throughout this album: we don’t have to play by the ‘rules’ in order to be happy.