“IV” BadBadNotGood

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“IV” BadBadNotGood

The Band

BadBadNotGood is a jazz band made up of Matthew Tavares (Keyboard), Chester Hansen (Bass), Alexander Sowinski (drums), and Leland Whitty (Saxophone). BadBadNotGood (stylized as BADBADNOTGOOD, abbreviated as BBNG) is a Canadian music group from Toronto, Ontario. They are known for their interpretations of hip hop tracks and their collaborations with Tyler, The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Danny Brown, and Ghostface Killah.



Image Credit: Pitchfork

The Good

“IV” is the band’s fourth album, preceded by “I” “II” and “III” – creative, no?! Their newest album isn’t as influenced by hip-hop as their previous music has been; instead, they have really zoned in on the jazz. “IV” was, in all honesty, a hit and miss for me. Some great tracks, and some so-so. They could have arranged some of the music differently to achieve a better flow. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent tracks here – when it was good, it was immense – but the others drag it down. Their last three albums have been exceptional and so the bar had been set high. Unfortunately, “IV” fell a little short.

“Time Moves Slow” is my favorite on the album. I’m not usually one to be persuaded by the lyrics, but the vocals for this piece – provided by guest vocalist Sam Herring – are just brilliant. He is perfect here. I initially assumed that Herring was an older guy, given the tone of his voice, but he’s actually only in his 30’s. Aside from the vocals, the drumming on this track was pretty nice; and the overall production of the song was done really well. “Confessions” is also tight. It’s groovy, stylish and tasteful. Up until this point, I have thought as the bassist to be on a lower level than the rest of the guys, but he definitely proved me wrong here. I have to mention Colin Stetson as guest sax player on this track, as he does a fantastic job. “Lavender” is also a great listen.

The Bad

Tracks that weren’t bad, but not to my taste, were “Chompy’s Paradise” and “IV”. The former was a little too fancy and the latter out of place in this album. “IV” is a strange one that may grow on me – and I reckon it would fit well in a car game – but not so hot on this one at the moment.

Unfortunately, this album seemed to decline as it went on. Aside from the first track “And That Too” (my only grievance with this piece being that it wasn’t an introduction song), the “bad not good” tracks are concentrated toward the end. Sorry to say it, but almost seems as though they ran dry on their genius and banged some passable songs on to finish up. The likes of “Hyssop of Love”, “Structure” and “In Your Eyes” did not meet the band’s usual standards. From resembling lift music to sounding like a different group altogether, I just did not feel the sound here.

With that being said, don’t be discouraged (as I almost was). “Cashere” wraps this album up really well and left a good taste in my mouth. Doesn’t quite make up for the blunders it follows, but left me satisfied.

Last words

Overall, I was a little disappointed, but I did go into this with high expectations. Absolutely worth checking out for the gems mentioned above. Recommend also checking out their previous music. Overall rating for “IV”? A strong 7/10.

The Good

  • “Time Moves Slow” is my favorite on the album

The Bad

  • Tracks that weren't bad, but not to my taste

Written by: Arturo Alvarez

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