Mr. Wonderful Album Review
With the release of his debut studio album, Mr. Wonderful, Queens rapper Action Bronson has yet again proven to us that he should be spitting fire on the main stage instead of in the kitchen. The former gourmet New York City chef opens up a door to his world through 13 tracks about his opportunities, goals, and personal expression. While sincere, Bronson doesn’t take himself too seriously and still manages to showcase his signature style through his confident, raspy voice and comical, quick-hitting verses. The clear strength of the album, however, lies in the production by big names like the Alchemist, Mark Ronson, and Noah “40” Shebib. Even though the album slowly falls apart toward the end, the nice mix of well crafted retro beats and Bronson’s modern flair makes Mr.Wonderful worth listening to. The album starts off with “Brand New Car”, a track featuring a groovy, piano-led beat accompanied by the familiar Bronson flow we all know and love. This upbeat song immediately provides listeners with a comforting feeling, as if it’s saying, “Gotham is safer now,” the Bronson is here. Following the big introduction is “The Rising,” a combination of a funky piano riff, a gospel choir, the faint voice of Chauncy Sherod, and tight verses by Action and Big Body Bes. All the elements of the song compliment each other perfectly, thanks to the production prowess of Statik Selektah. We can’t forget about the Alchemist, though, who is responsible for the swaying-back-and-forth-on-a-hammock-with-a-corona-in-hand vibes on “Terry.” Smooth from start to finish (maybe excluding the trippy psychedelic part at the end), this is by far the chillest song on the album. Next, Bronson takes listeners back to reality by smacking them in the face with probably the most popular song on the album, “Actin Crazy”. This banger, produced by Drake’s right hand man Noah “40” Shebib, meshed with Bronson’s emotional lyrics about his mother perfectly encompasses his rebellious yet sincere attitude. The finale of the Mr.Wonderful’s ‘Big Five’ is “Falconry”, which features Bronson spitting vicious lines over the Alchemist’s retro sample-based beat. Needless to say, this song is fire.
The journey through the album comes to a halt at track 6, the 2:20 interlude titled, “THUG LOVE STORY 2017 THE MUSICAL”. Disappointingly, after this point the album never gains back its previous momentum. Following the interlude is “City Boy Blues”, on which Bronson doesn’t even rap, which is a shame because his fluid vocals would have sounded great over the upbeat, soulful rock soundtrack. Then comes “A light in the Addict”, a slow rock jam that never really picks up, and “Only in America”, a sub-par, distorted guitar filled song that doesn’t sound quite right mixed with Bronson’s relaxed verses. “Galactic Love” has potential, but its slow pace and repetitive bass line makes it too boring to listen to all the way through. Next is the live track, “The Passage”, which, like “City Boy Blues”, doesn’t even feature Bronson rapping, and therefore makes it not worth listening to. All that being said, not all of the tracks on the second half of the album take away from the overall quality of the album. “Baby Blue”, possibly my favorite song on the album, contains everything you could ask for in an Action Bronson song: his distinct, nasal singing voice and classic Bronson rhymes over a perfectly soulful beat produced by three-time grammy winner, Mark Ronson. It doesn’t end there though; the track also features Chance the Rapper spitting a verse fresher than Will Smith in the 90s and a smooth trumpet solo to finish off. Finally, Action Bronson rides his Harley into the sunset with the album closer, “Easy Rider”. Witty lyrics about individuality over the smooth guitar riff, and even a Curt Chambers guitar solo, presents Action at his best to end Mr. Wonderful on a high note.
While it may not be Bronson’s most popular piece of work, Mr.Wonderful still provides listeners with an enjoyable and unique experience. His creativity and personal expression are exhibited throughout the album as he shares his story over flavorful beats. Mr. Wonderful is without a doubt an impressive effort by Bronson for his first studio album release. With a strong start like this, I can’t wait to see what kind of musical recipes the big, bearded chef will whip up for us in the near future.
Also, in case you haven’t heard it yet, this song is dope:
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