By Lane Oliver
BadBadNotGood made a name for themselves last year with the release of their stellar album BBNG as well as the surfacing of footage of them playing with Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator. The hip-hop influenced jazz trio has released the follow up to BBNG, aptly named BBNG2, early last week. If you couldn’t get into BBNG then BBNG2 may convert you into a BadBadNotGood fanboy in no time.
Much like its predecessor, BBNG2 is made up of covers and original material. But what I like right off the bat is the inclusion of more original songs. Tracks two, three, six, seven and eight are all original songs. What you are left with are reworkings of Earl Sweatshirt’s “Earl, two James Blake songs (“Limit To Your Love” and “CMYK”), Tyler the Creator’s “Bastard” paired with Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade”, Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”, and My Bloody Valentine’s “You Made Me Realise”. What I like is that these aren’t simply covers but interpretations of the songs in BadBadNotGood’s unique jazz style. “Earl” is a pretty faithful cover for the most part except BadBadNotGood’s droning bass on the track makes it almost sinister sounding. The inclusion of improvised saxophone sections shows you that these guys do not want to simply cover the song; they want to make their own. BadBadNotGood takes their style and injects it into any song they want and make it completely different in comparison. Take their dual cover of Tyler, the Creator’s “Bastard” and Gucci Mane’s “Lemonade”. They play “Bastard” at a slower tempo than the original and make it sound extremely unsettling. But this leads into an extreme explosion of piano improvisation that makes the keys bleed and soon leads into “Lemonade”. Each of their covers is somewhat faithful to the original, but with their jazz oriented improvisations and complex arrangements they create completely different songs out of them. Their covers are not the only impressive thing about this release however. Their original songs are worth noting as well. “Vices” is a calming little piece with some spectre like electronics and keys and some impressive drumming. There aren’t a lot of jazz freak outs on this song besides the sporadic drumming but it is a nice song just to space out to. “Rotten Decay” is an unsettling track with some minor key modulating piano riffs that increase in octaves every other bar. The song sounds like something that a stalker would use as his personal theme song. “CHSTR” features some ghostly sounding keys and some crazy drumming and even crazier bass improvisations. So just to wrap things up, this release features a lot of memorable moments. Their hip-hop influenced jazz improvised originals and their unique covers of hip-hop songs really show the listener how much range these guys have.
Nothing really bores or seems too cliché about this release. The only thing I find a little fault in is with “Rotten Decay”. The song seems to just repeat the same riffs in higher octaves and lower octaves in between some improvised sections. It just seems like too predictable a track. But other than that, this release is pretty damn stellar.
BadBadBadNotGood have released a unique and appealing album with BBNG2. Whether they are covering hip-hop songs or kicking out the jazzy jams, these guys are far from disappointing. You should listen to BBNG2 below and tell me what you think. Give it a shot.
Label: self released
Release Date: April 3rd, 2012
Favorite Tracks: “Earl”, “Vices”, “Bastard/Lemonade”, “CHSTR”, “Flashing Lights”, and “You Made Me Realise”