Critic’s Corner: Far East Movement – Animal

FM_Animal

The Far East Movement is a group that has managed to create a huge amount of buzz especially in Southern California. I first heard some of their material in 2003 on a concept album called “Movementality” and it’s astonishing to see how big they’ve gotten since then. They’ve managed to get song placements in major films and tv shows all the while constantly touring, fliming, and promoting. “Animal” is their 2nd album so do they fall into a sophomore slump? Check after the jump to find out.

Animal – An OK start. The hook gets really repetitive after a while. Like a lot of tracks on the album this one has a Neptunes-ish spaced out style of production. Although it’s the title track I think its one of the weakest on the album. Thankfully things go up from here.

Get That Money ft One Block Radius – The guest vocal from One Block Radius has slight a Akon type of vibe. The instrumental is a real catchy electronica-influenced beat and I’m digging the use of tribal drums. J-splif’s voice is a little more rough than usual on this one so he kinda sounds like Jeezy, but in a good way. A big step up from the opening track.

Lowridin ft Wiz Khalifa & Bionik – An extremely catchy track. It makes great (and unexpected) use of a sample from the classic “Love Song” by The Cure. This is quite possibly the strongest song on this album. I gotta give props on the production and arrangement on this one. It seems FM does really well when sampling something unexpected (listen to “Round Round” from their debut album “Folk Music”). Even if you don’t drive a lowrider this song is great for blasting in the car.

Fetish – This song serves as an ode to fashion, specifically the love of shoes & clothes. I first heard this one on the Flavored Animal Droppings mixtape. It was just aight then, and it’s just aight now. Also features a Neptunes like sound but overall I never could really get into it.

All Night ft Jah Free – FM makes interesting use of a sample from Lionel Ritche’s “All Night Long (All Night)”. It all seemed sorta cheesy at first, but after a few listens it starts to grows on you.  Despite the use of a cheeky sample the song does a decent job of making it all sound current. Kevnish uses the T-Pain/Kanye auto-tune effect in his verse… and honestly it doesn’t really add much. Thought it was sort of pointless. Jah Free does a good job singing on the hook.

3D ft Bruno Mars – Let me start off by saying Bruno is an incredible singer. That is without question. He makes an otherwise OK song relatively likable. The production gets real minimalist on the verses, and it works overall but its a bit dull. Bruno Mars single handily saves this song from being forgettable.

I Party ft Iz & DB Tonik – This track untilizes a fresh blend of a haunting female vocal and understated synths. Prohgress stands out above his bandmates on this one with his infectious flow. The vibe as a whole is kinda trippy but I like it. The track fits it’s title and makes another good party song.

Do What I Want – This song features rough distorted hook, and I’m just not really into it. It all seems a tad unfocused. Once again Prohgress stands out and closes the song strongly. Overall I wasnt feeling the song except for his verse. It starts off intriguely enough with the vocal sample but just gets too messy.

Girls On The Dance Floor ft 24/8 – This track has a real fun vibe to it and has a slight Timbaland feel to it. The synth line is extremely catchy. As it should be, it’s a great club song and a strong radio single.

Millionaire ft Jin the MC – This one has a great instrumental. Very well arranged. The hook is done via auto-tune but it works well in this track. I really liked Jin’s verse, it’s always good to hear from him as his domestic releases have been a bit sparse this year since he’s been overseas. Loved his reference of past collabs with FM (“Food Fight, For the City”). One of my favorite tracks from the album.

She’s On the Move – The intro to the track reminded me of the Doobie Brother’s rendition of “Jesus is Just Alright”. The song kinda blends in with the rest of the album and fails to stand out. Nothing really specially, nothing really bad although I did enjoy the psuedo double-time flow.

Dance Like Michael Jackson – There are plenty of homages to MJ’s work in almost every aspect of this song. It’s a likable track that I appreciated more because of the video (done by WongFu). Kevnish felt the most natural on the track. Conversely I thought J-Splif’s flow felt a bit lazy. There’s a lot to like about this one but it’s overshadowed by a couple other stronger singles on the album.

A Beautiful Day ft Storm – This one oddly sticks out due the fact that there is very little electronica influence. It’s got a more soulful sound to it. Storm’s vocals are strong and adds an authentic touch. The whole tune has a nostalgic feel and makes for a fun listen but I’m not really not sure if it fits in well with the rest of the tracks on this album.

You’ve Got A Friend ft Lil Rob & Baby Bash – A great radio single however like “A Beautiful Day”, it also sticks out a lil bit from the rest of the album. This one was also done in conjunction with Wong Fu for a video. Lil Rob’s verse was just aight but Baby Bash sounded good on the track. It’s a chill and strong way to close out the album.

Conclusion:
One of my biggest complaints about their last album “Folk Music” was that it felt a bit scattered and unfocused. This is definitely not the case here. For the most part the entire LP feels very cohesive and holistic, the last two tracks being the only exception. In a word, “Animal” is very current. It’s now. The production and vibe of the songs feature a ton of electronica elements and heavy synth lines.  Now whether or not this album will stand the test of time is an entirely different question, and to be honest I’m not sure. However for the time being and through the near future this is a great, fun album that shouldn’t be overlooked as long you’re not looking for any deep, emotional, politcal or introspective material. Lyric wise, FM knows how to craft catchy songs but I would like to see them stretch their writing in the future and stray from the party songs a bit more often. This album is generally very accessible and has several very strong radio singles. It may not be timeless but it sure is fun for now. I just have one question, why wasn’t “Satisfaction” included?

Must Listen: Lowridin’, Girls on the Dance Floor, Millionaire, You’ve Got a Friend

aTunes score: 8.5/10


9 thoughts on “Critic’s Corner: Far East Movement – Animal

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