RiYL: Kid Cudi, Gallant, Pharrell Williams, Steven A. Clark
RT: “CPU”, “Love is Not a Four Letter Word”, “Trap Tears”, “Mama”, “Friends”
Raury’s latest offering, All We Need, departs somewhat from the more upbeat mix of rap, rock, and R&B that we received last year when he released his EP Indigo Child. Only 19 years old, Raury looks to send a serious message with his latest release. With some more experienced artists like Big K.R.I.T. and RZA contributing to the album, Raury’s sound has definitely matured. However, his message comes through rather thickly. Commentary on social problems, while pertinent in his album, seem to clash with the background tracking rather than accentuate them. Regardless, the endless energy Raury is known for permeates throughout All We Need.
The track starts off with the title track, “All We Need”, a slow song backed up with crooning lyrics and broad synths with injections of organic sounding trumpets. It serves as a great foundation for the rest of the album, laying the groundwork for the types of instrumentals and social themes Raury uses throughout his album. He then launches straight into “Revolution”, a strange mix of quick acoustic guitars and bass lines usually associated with heavier trap and rap genres. “Forbidden Knowledge” and “Woodcrest Manor II” continue this theme, injecting heavy kicks and bass lines into the indie rock style associated with Raury. Throughout the album, interjections by a fictional DJ Smoothjazz serve to link his songs together in a very Kendrick Lamar inspired narrative. “CPU” featuring RZA is one of the highlights on the album, with Raury’s autotuned voice and bright piano chords creating a unique hip hop and jazz vibe.
The next three songs are the classic indie rock that Raury has shown us in his past releases, with an injection of soul into each. “Love is Not a Four Letter Word” is one of the more noticeable songs on the album, a slow acoustic appeal to a love that hurt him. The next three songs tackle the same issues and turmoil in relationships. “Trap Tears” once again combines hip hop and rock, alternating between a harder trap beat and acoustic guitars, with Raury seamlessly switching between each genre. The album builds up with an emotional appeal in “Mama” and finally ends with a look to the future with the hopeful “Friends”, in which Tom Morello plays a part in this classic rock anthem, finally ending with the signout of DJ Smoothjazz.
Overall, All We Need reflects the talent of Raury and his progression in multiple genres. His latest album reflects a more developed and polished sound, but is also just a glimmer of Raury’s full potential. While Raury addresses complex social topics, his maturity reflects that of a teenager learning to become an adult. All We Need, while a fully polished album with some memorable songs, should hopefully be remembered as the pre-flourishing of a well-rounded, talented musician.