I owe more to Joe Budden, and the music of, than perhaps people I know personally. Having never met, or even conversed with the New Jersey rapper, his influence within my life is incomparable. In fact, the very reason I write music reviews is down to the Slaughterhouse MC. After Mood Muzik 4.5 helped change my perspective on various things in my life, and look towards the positives in 2012, I decided to detail my thoughts on A Loose Quarter when it dropped. It was a mixtape which I enjoyed most of, but certainly had its flaws. The opposite is true with the album which followed, No Love Lost; a pretty disappointing output, but worth copping for a certain Runaway shaped gem.
Then, Some Love Lost dropped. Damn. At a time in which I was probably the happiest I had been in years, the EP came and threw all of that positivity out of the window, shattered like shards of glass. I remember exactly where I was when the second verse of Only Human infested within my ears. Walking into University, tears swelling in my eyes because Joe Budden had done it again. He’d managed to perfectly orchestrate a record which spoke directly to me, but also to thousands of his cult following of fans.
That’s why it’s taken me so long to get around to writing a review of All Love Lost, the latest album released by Budden, billed as the final instalment of the Love Lost series. It’s a solid album, no doubt. It’s just not, Some Love Lost. It is phenomenally produced, probably the best ‘sounding’ album in Joe’s discography, but as a fan who grew up on Eminem then latched on to the Mood Muzik movement as a 17-year-old, I’m more about the lyrics than the beats. If we’re holding Joe’s past efforts as a comparable to All Love Lost, it’s a disappointment – and yet still fits easily into the top 10 drops this year. It’s largely down to the expectations I hold Joey to. I fully expect every new project to sit somewhere between Mood Muzik 4.5 and Some Love Lost. Unfortunately, All Love Lost just doesn’t quite hit that mark.
There are some definitive shining moments on the album, but no whole song is levelling with Only Human, Runaway or Downfall. Yes, I’m aware that Only Human is the token song-from-another-project-placed-on-the-next-album, but at this point it’s so integral to Some Love Lost, it doesn’t sound right on All Love Lost. The third verse on Love I’m Good is breath-taking, Slaughtermousehits the right spot despite a lack of replay value and the title track opener is outstanding, especially because it feels like its been so long since there were words on a Budden intro.
Man Down, Playing Out Part, Immortal and Love For Youare respectable records too, but the Jadakissfeatured Made It Through The Nightis far too forgettable. As for Unnecessary Pain, Where Do We Go and Broke, I enjoy them enough, but they wouldn’t be missed much. It feels like Joey tried way too hard to make an album this time around, when scrapping some of the lesser quality tracks could have really made for another excellent EP.
Once the disappointment of All Love Lost not living up to its predecessor started to fade, I began to respect the record as solid on its own terms. It is by no means a poor album, in fact, it is very much the opposite, and well worth a listen. It probably sits somewhere around the eponymous debut and Padded Room in the rankings of Joe Budden albums, and it’s a safe bet to feature in my favourite albums of 2015.
Now, is it too much to ask for a UK tour (with Newcastle date)?