Seconds Away
label: ramona
production: maker
year of release: 2003
1. And The Spider Sung
2. Goodbye
3. Winners Never Sleep
4. No Helping
5. Lullaby For The Sun
6. Sock Drawer Blues
7. Hand In The Sea
8. Elbow Room
9. Jump In Lily
10. Mixing Excuses
11. Fighting Ends
12. Sober Window Story
13. Seconds Away
14. 1970
15. Country Funk
16. John Kimball
17. Play Her Piano
18. Haunt
The other day - and this is a true story - a friend of mine asked me if I have heard the Glue album. "Yip." - "Man, I really wanna hear this." - "Yeah, so did I" I responded, "because Maker is on it." - "Oh, I wanna hear it because DJ DQ is on it".
At the same time, he could have said: "I wanna hear it because Adeem is on it." As Glue is a mini-super group, consisting of three renown artists: Maker, Adeem and DJ DQ. And as it is appropriate for a super group, each one of the member offers reason to why you want to check out this record. Even though super groups rarely live up to the hype. Initiated as a 'sum that's even bigger than its parts', too often they end up being a 'sum that's barely as big as its parts'. In a way, the three hint at that with their name: Glue. Because you need proper Glue to hold three individuals together. So armed with one eight track, one turntable and one mic, this album was created on three separate trips over a one and a half years period, making it as much a session as a project that was meant to happen.
On the first song with lyrics, "Goodbye", Adeem says "I've mastered the art of saying nothing but disguising it with everything". That does not sound very promising, considering the vast amount of things he does say on this album. And if he just raps and not says anything, then why should we listen? Especially after really sitting down and following the words Adeem says, we are actually often left outside in the cold, while Adeem is in the warm blanket that he mentions three times. The lyrics often lack a conclusion, a punchline, or even that usually hated happy end. We're following the words, the personal tale and pondering, that offer moments to relate, but nevertheless are still more often an inside joke, than one we're part of. Suddenly we remember that Adeem is an incredible battle rapper. What happens to that battle rapper when he records? He vanishes.
Vanishes like Adeem talks about getting away on many levels, physical, but also psychological on "Goodbye". He says: "it's so hard to get away when your straying miles form your front lawn" and later "there's no reason to wait / doing it for sanity's sake / pasting pictures under my eyelids and hoping never to wake up" over a hard drum. It's a rhetoric we can relate to, for once. Same as with "Jump In Lily", that in some ways is related to "Goodbye". Because it again talks about travelling, more precisely about driving a car, and it's an ode to Adeem's trusty Honda Civic. This song was also on Maker's album "Honestly" (read the review), and it's still as good as it was back then. And let's elaborate on why this is good: first, the rhymes have a certain smile and humor to 'em. Adeem actually says something rather than rambling down lines of a narrow personal journal issue.
As with the beats: Maker has put a lot into the creation of this record. Just considering that a "Winner Never Sleeps" is split up in three parts and each comes with a totally different beat. He then collects thick melancholy for "Lullaby For The Sun" which includes a tearful horn. The song is instrumental for the first minute, then changes, now includes Adeem's rapping and shows the supreme drumming Maker often adds to his beat. He can be just as supreme when it comes to selecting a piano sample. Proof offers the title track "Seconds Away".
An example of where the three merged best is "No Helping", with an excellent beat in the second half and most precise scratching ending the song. And an example of how much room the three still leave each other is "1970", which is an instrumental song, that's thick, very musical and contains more ideas than many producers are able to put together over the duration of one and a half albums. At the same time however, even someone as good as Maker does have the odd 'eeeh' moment too: here it is the oriental "Haunt" that's falling short to really impress much. To balance that out though, Adeem comes with a really nice hook: "it's time to be generous, stop stepping on toes / close the book and hit play, then watch where it goes / sliding under doors into dreams, into headphones / the haunt is on, feel it as it gets close".
The previously stated qualms - that are however not valid for all songs - are somewhat typical for poetic rhyming. Although the word poetry is severely mis- and overused. Nevertheless, Adeem often leaves us behind, while at other times really welcomes us to sit down. And then we happily follow the lyrics, like on "John Kimball" where Adeem rhymes: "I'm an activist, who lost the will to topple conformity / see there's more to reach we barely made it to seven songs deep / and you should be able to tell from the company I keep / that this never trip will be my final manuscript / titled exhaustion and showing at your local cinema six / every time I cough I think that my soul shifts position / and I'm looking to relax and repair my broken condition". It's an effort to follow the words Adeem says. As benefit, there are the odd and several really good lines. That's not that much on an album of so many words, but it's also an album of excellent beats and scratching that will not disappoint my friend who would do good to finally listen to this album. Be it for DJ DQ, Maker, or - yes - Adeem.
review: tadah
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