The Impossible Kid and the Not so Impossible Review
Experiencing one of the greatest hip hop albums ever created
I’m sure by now you’re aware that I listen to a lot of music. I don’t know how many people read this or pay attention to it but I know that those who know me are well acquainted with the fact that music plays a large part of my life. In many crowds, I’ve been given the word “metal” to describe me though in other circles people only know me for just hip hop.
I try to be as eclectic as possible when discussing various themes and it’s been a bit since I’ve done an album review (Borknagar, I’m looking at you). This time, we’re looking at Aesop Rock’s album, The Impossible Kid. This album released on 29 April 2016 and by the time I am writing this, Rhymesayers Entertainment has allowed am authorized full album stream available on YouTube. I will provide the link below so you can listen at your disposal.
In most of my reviews, I tend to get a good four or five full listens in before writing. This gets me a little acquainted with the material as well as talking to some people to get their perspectives as well. This was a highly anticipated album for me. Like Borknagar, I waited four years for this release and, like Borknagar, this album appears to be Aesop Rock’s best work yet. I will be breaking down every song piece by piece in a stream of consciousness (Kool-Aid Man breaking down the fourth wall again) like analysis.
“Mystery Fish” begins the album. It has this kind of ‘80s style bass line that runs alongside before we catch some beats that are a lot different than anything that Aesop Rock has ever done. It definitely feels like the beats of the west coast are finally pervading into the creation process. One of the cool things about this album is that it seems to roll like a concept album. Each track bleeds into the next one really well. “We look both ways at the asteroid belt” and “diarrhea disrepair” are lines that stick out for me.
“Rings” was the very first song released to promote this album. The bass for this song is really cool and the music video is awesome. It seems to discuss the idea of cutting into people to learn their innermost secrets. It also seems to suggest the idea of being a little open to being seen in a more scrutinizing light. Each of his lines right before the chorus is really impressive. The cadence and flow is better than anything he has ever done before.
“Lotta Years” is a favorite of a few fans. What I like in particular about it is that there are moments where the flow seems to break and it’s slightly uncomfortable. I like when art makes me uncomfortable. They have this kind of xylophone sound that runs in tandem with the song as well. The chorus showcases a really strong scratching from the DJ production.
“Dorks” begins with one word: “Question”. The atmosphere in this song is really creepy and the bass guitar seems to have a Pink Panther or Venture Brothers vibe. He also uses the word “sycophant” in the song which I only remember being featured in a KMFDM song. “I know some shit about your heroes that you wouldn’t believe.” I had one friend suggest that that particular line may be referencing El-P. I can’t confirm or deny that, but I did enjoy the line.
“Rabies”… the lyrical content seems to be remisicent of his old stuff. “Warm cider, barn full of spiders.” “Pull a broad sword from a hoarded synthesizer”. A bunch of really interesting lines. There is also a real prominent 1980s guitar that seems to run throughout the verses.
“Supercell” has a pretty prominent snare, which was really active back in the Labor Days recordings. The beat during the chorus has this kind of cool effect where it makes me think of a guy running through the alleyways. “On dasher, half-dead carolers, deck a hall, wreck a whole advent calendar”… something to do with Christmas. I have no idea about the significance of the line but it’s an interesting imagery for sure. “Carnivorous vegetation” might be my favorite oxymoron I’ve ever heard him use.
“Blood Sandwich” was the second song released prior to the album’s release. I really enjoy it because it doesn’t really fit the typical song structure you find in hip hop because of the narrative associated with it. When you think of the song title, it’s natural to assume it’s a sandwich with blood in it but you realize later on that it’s about being the middle child. There are a lot of references to industrial music (Skinny Puppy and Ministry) and the stigma associated with being wary about music like that.
“Get out of the Car” has a little bit of a vintage feel to it while using the modern synth and beats to support it. “Once upon he was so much more than a pot shot for his own punchlines.” “True friends in a tugboat way”… I wonder if that’s about Blockhead. “Knowing ain’t half the battle”, that cracks me up. G.I. Joe!
“Shrunk” is a song that a lot of people really like. It seems to discuss the frustration of seeing a therapist on the regular who doesn’t seem to help him. He talks a lot about numbers and letters, Sudoku, algebra, and other unemotional references seem to be prevalent. “Let’s get to the seppuku”. Suicide seems to be a theme of this album. This is another song that makes me a little uncomfortable because of the slow chorus.
“Kirby” is definitely the catchiest song of the entire album. It took me a moment to realize that the song his about his cat. I guarantee that after you listen to this song you will be saying “Heyyyyy Kirby, whatcha doin’, Kirby?” for hours upon hours. This happened at work. What’s worse is that there is a guy here named Kirby! Luckily, we haven’t seen him since this album dropped. I don’t think I would be able to resist. “Never lands on her feet, I think she’s broken.”
“TUFF” is maybe the song that I remember the least from my listens. The beat is real cool. This song is very similar to his old stuff in the respect that it’s going to require a lot of analysis to fully dissect. “Also share a birthday with Kenny G. None.” No idea what’s going on there. The last minute of the song is completely different than the first three minutes which is really awesome.
“Lazy Eye” is the third song to be released for this album. It was released the week prior to the album drop and has a really quick roll of the tongue in a few places by Aesop Rock. “Record on the Kessel run (allegedly)” and “My spirit animal comes on a pretzel bun” are some hilarious lines. This song is the second catchiest song on the album. It makes me think of being in a bowling alley for some reason.
“Defender” references dad jokes which are really popular on the internet right now (Hi, future you reading this: DAD JOKES ARE POPULAR IN 2016). “1am: Defend the whole block” and “life goes Lovecraft” are my favorite lines of this song. This song references a lot of board games as well.
“Water Tower” is a moving song for a lot of people. “Falling on my weapon” and a few other lines talk about suicide much more in depth. For some reason, I keep thinking of Michael Kelso falling off the water tower in That ‘70s Show. I’m not sure why.
“Molecules” finishes the album up. The beat in that one is really fast and energetic. It doesn’t have the same dark, gritty feeling that “Gopher Guts” does from Skelethon but it does use the word “crestfallen” which is pretty awesome.
I’ll be seeing him perform in a month and you will definitely get an update on that! Also, the video that accompanies the album is a reimagining of The Shining in case you didn’t know.
Have a good week!