It has arrived. For years, I’ve been searching, for an album unique and powerful, for a record inventive and relatable, for Executively Produced. The mastermind behind the work is brilliantly tortured, evoking an erudition that appears but once a generation. Under a 28-day deadline and with a full-time job outside of music, he manages to shame many of his peers who take years to meticulously craft a work which inevitably resides far from the baseball field that Executive Producer not only stars in, but owns as well.
The album opens with Megamanmaniac, whose chaotic stability prepares you for a journey so unmistakably self-aware and honest that it may guide your brain to float away into a deliberate world created just for you. As we continue through the delicately crafted playlist, Few Scrubs effortlessly relates his lyrical prowess, with cryptic lines such as “Isn’t it funny when your hands are meatballs”, which help weave us through a dream state of which we are in perpetual search.
The tribute to Paul Simon’s similarly titled timely ode, A Slightly More Complicated Desultory Philippic is one that was in desperate need of a retelling and succeeds in contextualizing the present cultural landscape. The simple yet visceral guitar section of Bowie evokes karmic uncertainty which can only be overcome through determination and acceptance. However, it reminds the listener that there are those more fortunate who will impede progress with the excuse of following in systemic conditions. The subtlety, found throughout the album, continues with the next track. Thirty-four country names hidden within one song, but that idea is only a side note to the actual intention of the song. A Plea to Waldo, written from the point of view of “Where’s Waldo” Waldo’s significant other, who longs to spend more time with her travelling man. It is a relatable situation, especially since those outside of any relationship rarely consider the sadness that lives within those close to the famous, who long for a past before it’s destroyed by celebrity.
Crescendo Blues sincerely observes the subject of abandonment and the lows that accompany it. The idea is reinforced by the background track of an actual torrential leak in the composer’s home during a particularly arduous ordeal, but it manages to inspire the listener, through implicit understanding, to always look ahead, to better days, to the proverbial “houseboat in the summer”. The legend continues with Bug Body, mesmerizing and universal in its appeal and message. The intentional repetition glides along the fabric of compassion, reflecting on a connection to nature we are slowly losing. The record concludes with Five doller bill, y’all, a short track that begins with an auditory translation of the Big Bang that started it all. The intentional dissonance that follows, composed of layered saxophone parts, is a scathing critique of the unfortunate way we’re treating our world, how the beauty that began has disappeared and left us struggling for days we may never see again. The transitory view expresses simplicity but still extends its reach for connoisseurs of the style.
Anyone fortunate enough to look past the extravagant price tag and actually purchase Executively Produced will be pleasantly surprised by the bonus additions. The “Few Scrubs” vocal remix demonstrates yet another inventive technique found on the album, while the original painting that the artist creates for a friend of each customer shows how his genius is able to transcend media, time, and space.
[Editor’s note: To read an antithetical review of this album, please click here.]