The Legend of XERO - Awakening
Posted by Stephen Maddox on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 5:17pm EST
Disclaimer: This aint my thing. Iâ€™m too old, too boombap, too golden era, too purist, too really dig this album. BUT, that doesnâ€™t mean I canâ€™t objectively critique it does it? In fact maybe it is better that I am who I am listening to this project. Hopefully Iâ€™ll give you an objective appraisal of the work done here.
There is a story behind every Christian, and the Legend of Xero has a sincere one of finding Christ and awakening from sin and being born again. A story those of us who are Christians can all appreciate and I am grateful for his testimony, and pray for his continued growth in Christ. It seems in some ways this album represents that growth as well. As the tracks progress, they become more cohesive and focused. Also his voice and flow also seems to mature with each track.
The album starts with an intro track- [Darkness vs Light]which is a old sermon snippet of Preacher Ian Paisley over a pop style beat. The juxtaposition is interesting. The transition to the next track New Yearâ€™s Eve is well done. The beat on this track starts off simple, almost like an 80â€™s casio loop, but it layers up well as it progresses and would fit in well with the stuff on mainstream radio. The autotuning is layed on thick throughout, which is a negative. I think it best to start an album off with your real voice especially if you are a new artist. Plus the verse organization is a little disjointed, hard to tell whatâ€™s a verse and whatâ€™s a chorus. This is a praise song, thanking God for the gift of salvation and redemption, and I think its ok it lacks standard structuring. The Beginning of These Things- is the next track, again featuring the old firey Paisley on the intro- talking about Enoch. (possibly referencing Apocryphal scripture?) This is a dance track. It would serve a youth ministry function well, the subject matter is The Nephilim I believe and may raise some pastorâ€™s eyebrows. Again, the autotune here is a bit distracting, and makes the lyrics sound mumbled. I gotta strain to hear what he is talking about. Which is a shame because he is displaying interesting theories about fallen angels worthy of debate. Dreamscape- The Legend of Xero is definitely not afraid of experimenting musically. I can appreciate that, even if, this track is spooky. Matter of fact it reminds of DJ Spooky, a great innovator who blended techno and hiphop aesthetics back in the 90â€™s. Breath of Life- FINALLY! we here Xeroâ€™s real voice. Thank you sir, and he can rhyme well, Chorus is too busy though, there is a guest emcee on this track too- Cruzader517- who does a decent job also. Unfortunately the voices are overwhelmed by the beat at times. But overall I feel the message a refreshing, thirsty request for Christâ€™s living water. We Are The Knights- When I listen to this I feel like I am in a rave scene in a movie. Perhaps thatâ€™s the point? I could do the Insanity workout to this joint and burn 1000 calories in 6 minutes. Subject matter is standing your ground and fighting for Christ. Halfway thru there is a great bridge that lets you catch your breath, then back to the diamond pushups and cross jacks!!!!! The Lost- Xero takes on the silent killer depression in a heartfelt track. Beat fits in well with the current market. I wish Xero would rhyme more in a standard format like this, he has potential lyrically. This is probably the best track on the project. Dreaminâ€™- Artists, I recommend for branding purposes you avoid similar song titles on the same album. Fans may get confused. This song is markedly different from Dreamscape. A great testimonial inspired track. I like it, and unlike a lot of the other tracks its not overburdened sonically. You get to focus on his words more . Another gem on this album. The Masterâ€™s Plan- As a hobbyist emcee, I can tell you for certain, 90% of emcees want to sing. Even the hardcore emcees (ahem Japhia! ;-) ). But this dude Xero actually has a great pop singing voice. This track could actually get rotation on christian pop stations. Well done, and honestly I change my mind, this is the best track on the album.
Objectively speaking I feel that The Legend of Xero has great potential. Technically, I believe the mastering could have been better done on a lot of tracks so that the vocals could be brought out more clearly, and he should nix a lot of the autotuned elements. In terms of rhyming skills, right now, I give him a C+/B- but I see promise in his cadence and flow and believe he could actually become a dope emcee or a decent pop singer. There is a lot of diversity in music styles on this album. Something for almost everyone. I pray the Legend of Xero continues to grow in the Lord and in his music!
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Lyrics/ Delivery: 3/5
Beat Selection/production: 2.5/5
Click HERE to listen/ purchase
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