Friday, March 25, 2011

Lupe Fiasco - Lasers

Released on March 8, 2011, Lupe Fiasco's third studio album, Lasers, has made a happy home at the top of the Billboard charts.  Lasers emphasizes that those of us who are generally labeled or characterized as the lower-class individuals actually encapsulate truth, light, and promise; put simply, the world may see us as losers, but we are lasers -- beaming and shining.    

For an album dedicated to defying popular culture, conformity, and convention, it is quite a feat for Lasers to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.  Songs like "State Run Radio," featuring Matt Mahaffey and "All Black Everything" confront issues like the intellectual and moral deterioration of younger generations, racism, war, and other highly controversial topics.  Fiasco excels in challenging listeners to "beware what's on the air waves, and be more aware of whats not getting air play" (lyrics from "State Run Radio").

That being said, the tracks on this album are viable in the world of contemporary music -- today's listeners are embracing artists and songs that combine elements of various genres.  As can be heard in "Words I Never Said," featuring Skylar Grey, and "Beautiful Lasers," featuring MDMA, many of these tracks  oscillate between rock, alternative, electronic, and hip hop.  Quite cleverly, Fiasco crafts music that can succeed on the radio while also succeeding in spreading a profound and positive message.

Personally, I don't care for some of the slower tunes like "Never Forget You," featuring John Legend.  But even though I don't particularly care for these more alternative-sounding songs, I will not discredit them.  And although Fiasco ventures away from his norm to rapping about, or rather around, a love interest on "Out of My Head," featuring Trey Songz, I think the track is hot; the beat is infectious and the hook has me hooked!

As a new and unattached listener to Fiasco, I am deeply impressed by most of the songs on Lasers.  My favorites are "All Black Everything," "Coming Up," and "Til I Get There."  Even though Fiasco has struggled with his record label over album content and appeal, he was able to remain true to himself, who he describes in "Til I Get There" as, "just a little ol' hope with his back against the ropes, fighting for his fans and, fighting for his folks."

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