Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #50 RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke
Top 100 Albums of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one album and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 album of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#50 RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke
It seems like RJD2, nervous and fidgety innovator that he is, never wants to get settled. His first album, Deadringer, leaned heavily on the roots of hip-hop; by his third effort, The Third Hand, he had progressed to full-on indie rock (without a single synthetic element involved). Today's entry on the Top 100 Albums of the Decade list is the missing link between the two: Since We Last Spoke split the stylistic difference between the albums surrounding it on RJD2's release timeline - but then again, it did a whole lot more.
Residual elements from the hip-hop debut still drive the undercurrent of this album. Those who preferred RJ the musician over the efforts of RJ the producer backgrounding Deadringer's guest emcees aren't completely sent out to sea in this stylistic reinvention; tracks like opener "Since We Last Spoke" and more minimalist "Iced Lightning" bang hard, with plenty of bounce to fit the peculiar mold of hip hop that RJD2 sculpted. Beyond those tracks, though, I ultimately consider this his soul album. "To All of You" twirls around the wah-wah of a loungeworthy guitar riff before lifting the slowest and most soulful lyrical delivery on the entire album up on its shoulders. "Ring Finger" drops flamenco stylings in the lulls between louder guitars to create a basin for cloudlike female vocals to settle into. Liberal vinyl crackles nestle in the quieter nooks of many tracks on the album, giving the whole thing a particularly old-fashioned feel. And second-to-last "Through the Walls" sounds closer to The Cars than anything you could call hip hop; it's clear that the stylistic departure is most definitely conscious, and this track hinted at what would come next when RJD2 decided to flip the script again for his third effort. All around diverse, coherent, and more detail-oriented than his other releases, Since We Last Spoke was a brilliant and unexpected way to follow his knockout debut.
Check back tomorrow for the next album! To see the full list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade, click here.