We the Generation by Rudimental (Album Review)
Cast your mind back to the age of 2012 and 2013. They were glory years. England had just struggled in a major football tournament, the Tories were enjoying power (sorry a coalition of power with the orange ones) and music had a new direction.
You couldn’t turn on a TV show or a radio station back then without a Rudimental track from the huge debut album Home playing out. At the time the Rudimental boys had found something new. A genuine mainstream dance collective, with a DnB edge. The album wasn’t intentionally created for corporate commercial usage but it found its way in to the consciousness of the populous.
The sometimes anthem sounds of Home merged great beats, good musical orchestration with a heavy inducement of guest vocalists, hand picked to make each track fire. The Rudimental debut was such a success, it has fuelled a deluge of copy cat producers and artists.
So a few years later the boys follow-up and try to replicate that genre forming success. Have they succeeded.
Well its nigh on impossible to create such an impact twice, but We The Generation is a great body of work. By the pure definition of the fact that they created this pop/DnB/dance genre it feels less breakthrough, in fact you could be forgiven for thinking, they have understood their commerciality and jumped on it. There is some truth in that assertion but We The Generation just builds on the foundation Rudimental created.
Without surprise the cocktail offers little in the way of experiment. There is still great production, gentile DnB beats, funk inspiration and some instrumentation with elements of brass and light touches of strings present. However, the standouts are great belting, anthem choruses including those from the late Bobby Womack, Lianne La Havas and little known UK singer Mahlia Burkmar. Who incidentally offers a great vocal. All this feels like it is offering an update to the UK urban pop scene.
Highlights of the album (above those listed previously) include Common Emotion featuring MNEK, which is a real bouncy party starter. On first listen you can tell this will get air play and clubbers hitting the floors. Dizzee Rascal features on the seductive Love Ain’t Just a Word in what is potentially his best piece of work for 2-3 years.
Perhaps its due to the poignancy of this being one of Bobby Womack’s last recorded pieces but the raw New Day is the track that genuinely stands out. Whether or not the production was tweaked to play more to the vocal ability of Womack is unknown. But this feels like real emotion with production and composition empathetic with its performer. Irrelevant of any potential back story in its creation New Day is a great track.
There will be some critics out there that will probably down play or dismiss Rudimental of simply breaking out the cookie cutter they created with Home to produce a generic commercial album. That would be an injustice and display a complete lack of understanding of Rudimental’s importance as genre formers or at the very least leaders.
Rudimental fans will love We The Generation. Music lovers will love the album for its undoubted stand-out tracks indulging in the great production and sometimes hypnotic vocals. Corporate world will love it for its accessibility and we will undoubtedly hear elements on ads. Critics will probably pooh pooh it to make themselves feel knowledgeable and impose the music snobbery on the public.
But Music Eyz says f%$k the critics, We The Generation is a great album and Rudimental we salute you!!!