Lazarus is the debut from Gym Class Heroes frontman, Travie McCoy, who looks to build a name for himself as a solo artist after a public breakup with Katy Perry. Experimenting with rap-rock fusion on his earlier material, Lazarus – along with it’s popular lead single “Billionaire” (feat. Bruno Mars) – takes it even a step further, solidifying his status a rapping pop-rock star.
There are moments on Lazarus where Travie McCoy gets it exactly right. The album opener, “Dr. Feel Good”, features a hook belted out by Cee-Lo Green, over a well produced track by the Smeezingtons. Also winning is “Superbad”, which doesn’t attempt to be cute or quirky, it’s just a well-written, straight-forward rock track. Even his cover of “Back In The Day”, retitled “A Kid Again”, which ironically finds him reminiscing on Ahmad’s original era, remembering G.I. Joe action figures and Wu-Tang summers.
However other times, he misses the mark. There’s a strange amount of Beach Boy channeling on the happy-go-lucky “After Midnight (It’ll Burn)” and “We’ll Be Alright”, two blatant crossover tracks that aim straight for the teeny-boppers, throwing a little extra profanity in an attempt to remain “edgy”. It’s unclear if he was trying to create another “I Gotta Feeling” here, but in either case, the end result is not spectacular.
Perhaps that is the main problem with Lazarus. It comes off as an album by someone that clearly wants celebrity, and will do anything to get it, mainly crafting an album of different styles and sounds better executed by people like N.E.R.D., Gnarls Barkley, Linkin Park, Sublime, and the aforementioned Beach Boys. He’s got the right people helping him achieve this, but leaves the listener wondering what kind of music Travie would make all by himself.
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