Something Borrowed: Multifaceted Malibu Hits the Mark

Max Freebern: Anderson .Paak’s second studio album “Malibu” is easily the sexiest album I’ve ever heard. .Paak’s voice has a certain rapsy, rawness mixed with an impeccable pitch that flows like warm honey. Each track introduces a different texture to voice, a window into his mind and new flavor of emotion. It’s one of the few albums I can tirelessly enjoy from start to finish. Songs like “Put Me Thru” showcase his fiery passion which makes his music so enticing while “Come Down” is a funktastic banger perfect for any raging occasion. .Paak offers an abundance of good vibes that will get you grooving wherever you are. 

Dani Gardner: I had never listened to him before, but from the get-go I became aware of how musically intelligent Anderson .Paak is. He is not afraid to play with texture and has mastered manipulating sound to create intense colors in his music. His voice is silky, if velvet had a sound it would be .Paak’s voice, which evokes a certain kind of melancholy and is supremely emotional. 

The first track that I listened to, “The Bird” not only has great melodies and thoughtful chord progressions, but also includes the trumpet which, as a trumpet player myself, excites me. The horn plays intricate yet simple counter melodies that sound like reflections in response to the vulnerable lyrics. This song is truly honest and contemplative. The lines, “My mama caught the gamblin’ bug, mmm / We came up in a lonely castle, mmm / My papa was behind them bars, mmm / We never had to want for nothin’, mmm / Said all we ever need is love, mmm,” are an insight to a difficult childhood and a conflicted family relationship, where love filled the voids that were missing. 

The next song, “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” is more traditionally modern in terms of it being more rapped than sung. It is also very well produced and is a love song like no other — another reason why this album is so very unique. The lyrics “The sunlight cover your wounds / But I’m hoping that I look the same as the way you always knew” are so poetically charged, and although this song isn’t that romantic, it still satisfies my craving for love songs. 

The album gets a bit meta with the song, “The Season / Carry Me” : “And f*ck fame, that killed all my favourite entertainers”. .Paak also reflects on his childhood “Six years old, I tried my first pair of Jordans on / (Momma, can you carry me?) /…Knees hit the floor, screams to the Lord / Why they had to take my Ma?” It makes me feel like I’m learning more about his life’s story, the fuel for his creativity and inspiration. 

“Put Me Thru” is totally upbeat and once again I am reminded of the musical genius that I am getting to know through this album. .Paak is in total control of harmony and innovative song culture. Not only am I getting strong pop/R&B vibes from this tune, but I also hear some gospel influences, which add a whole ‘nother dimension to the song. 

“Celebrate” has a certain, playful groove to it. It’s mixed beautifully, the lyrics are descriptive of living in and taking advantage of your youth: “But you’re doing well, I mean you’re not dead / So let’s celebrate while we still can.” Kind of a depressing perspective but it sounds like .Paak has come from a place of deep contemplation and growth. 

Throughout the album, .Paak uses recordings and samples of someone speaking. Although I didn’t pick up entirely on what was being said, I appreciate the use of mixed media to contribute to the story-telling in different tracks on this record. For instance, the last song, “The Dreamer” (feat. Talib Kweli & Timan Family Choir) opens with a man speaking: “I enjoy some of the old and I enjoy the new and if I can find a balance between it that’s [fades out],” which I believe is emblematic of the music that .Paak tries to make in terms of including soul elements mixed in with trap and R&B. 

“Come Down” is by far one of my favorite tracks on this record purely because of how hard the opening hits. This tune is yet another example of how audacious .Paak is and how unafraid he is to stray from the ordinary and explore his creative genius. 

Overall, thank you, Max, for turning me onto Anderson .Paak. His music is eclectic, thoughtful and artistically provoking. .Paak is an amazing lyricist and a multifaceted musician, one totally worth checking out.

Dani Gardner
About Dani Gardner 12 Articles
Dani Gardner is a first-year music and English double major. This is her first semester on The Oracle. Her favorite articles to read and write are in Arts and Entertainment, especially when it comes to music.