By Malcolm Morrow Alexander Fre$co is the kind of artist that you can’t box into one lane. With each new release, he has explored ...
By Malcolm Morrow
Alexander Fre$co is the kind of artist that you can’t box into one lane. With each new release, he has explored the use of different rap styles and a wide range of producers. With his latest effort “Neon Nights“, Fre$co has taken his most daring lane switch yet.
When I heard the title “Neon Nights” the first image that came to mind was Ryan Gosling cruising the streets in the movie “Drive” to the sounds of “Nightcall” by Kavinsky. I wondered if Fre$co would be introducing an electronica or dubstep sound, definitely caught my attention. A dope video graphic followed afterward and featured a car cruising a city landscape. When I received the advance review copy I was surprised to hear he was taking an R&B approach this time around.
The album is a loosely tied storyline following the ups and downs of a relationship. It has a nice flow musically and the song order presents details in a timeline highlighting the feelings. It’s a nice concept and it works well for Fre$co and is a nice vibe. The production shines throughout the entire project. It’s impressive that the songs can blend into a coherent listen even though each is different than the next. The sonics come together and produce a hazy experience that is a suitable soundtrack for a night of cruising.
The intro feels like the engine is starting as Fre$co takes us on a ride through the early morning/late night atmosphere of a club night. He’s like an Uber driver telling us a story on a drunken night.
Track two “I Want You” is the beginnings of a relationship with a stripper as a rising rapper. The song is really smooth and sounds like something you could them hear them playing at house parties or in a chill lounge. The production is very wavy and almost sounds like the musical interpretation of eyes locking from across the room. This is one of the best songs on the album.
The third track is “Sweater Weather”. For me “Sweater Weather” throws off the tone but I understand it’s presence. It’s the next step of the relationship, this the stage where the two are contemplating becoming serious. This hasn’t ever been one of my favorite tracks from Fre$co but I think it works well here to help express the theme.
The bouncy fourth track “When I’m With You” is a proper start. The hook is very catchy and the verses are serviceable. However, the flow of everything is on point with this track. It sets a nice tone for the project going in and it was definitely an early standout.
Track five, “Watchu Wanna Do”, has a nice island vibe to it, the hook is catchy on this one as well. It’s nearly impossible to not nod your head along.
The following song “Like Me” is one of the most fully realized tracks on the album. The beat and the vocals are mixed well, the actual lyrics are well-thought out and it sounds like something I could hear being played on the radio.
“4 Play” is one of the weakest tracks in my opinion, but the intro is excellent. The beat is also a major plus on this track as well. The actual lyrics don’t really resonate as well as the framework sets it up to do. It’s not a terrible song but it’s not for me. The ladies are probably a better judge for this track anyway.
“Selfish” is next up, the production is immaculate once again. This beat is lush with an energetic melody that is simply infectious. This is one of the better tracks on the album. The lyrics are relatable and it sets an excellent vibe that is reminiscent of that OVO Sound. It could use a little tightening up but this one has potential.
“Stay” is another standout, radio-ready track. The Jodeci sample is utilized perfect and Fre$co sounds like he entered his zone on this one creatively. It’s a very wavy track, with a sweet sentiment at its core. My only issue with this track is that it’s not nearly long enough! If he could add a second verse or a suitable feature, this could get some real traction.
The final track “Yoshi” uses sounds sampled from Super Mario Bros. It’s essentially about finding your princess in the castle and deciding that love is all that matters. This is one of the most experimental productions on the album. It has a distinct synth sound combined with Fre$co trying out new vocalizations. It’s not the best song on the album but it is the most daring. It makes me curious to see what direction he’ll take next time. I could honestly see him dabbling in EDM/Electronica in the future.
Overall, this is going to be a polarizing album. Some people will enjoy the light-hearted and catchy lyrics, A-1 production, and standout tracks where everything comes together just right. While others will consider it light on depth and the songwriting overly simple. I think it’s a solid offering and a nice excursion for an artist like Fre$co, I can definitely see him getting a lot of love for this one when he hits the road. On the next outing I think he should tighten up the flow and work on wording things so the songs are more fluid.
This is a concept album that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It tells a complete story through the songs alone. I see the lane that he was testing out; and for the most part he was successful. It’s a nicely produced album with a good number of standout tracks. It will definitely catch ears on repeat listens and live shows. There’s still some work that could be put into making it a more cohesive, fully realized project. Even so, it has potential to do some numbers with the right push.
Facebook: Alexander Fre$co