Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma and Divorce Music Album Reviews

Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma and DivorceMusic Album Reviews
On his bleakly comic new album, Open Mike Eagle surveys the damage of one terrible year, using anime mythology as a lens for examining real-life pain.

Open Mike Eagle has spent much of the last decade developing support networks that have enabled his modest success as an independent rapper. In 2019, it all fell apart. Hellfyre Club, the collaborative group featuring Eagle, Busdriver, milo, and Nocando, disintegrated amid business disputes. Comedy Central declined to renew The New Negroes, the show Eagle launched with comedian Baron Vaughn. And Eagle and his wife ended their marriage of 14 years, disrupting his identity as a husband and father.
Eagle isn’t cagey about the inspiration for his latest LP Anime, Trauma, and Divorce—it’s right there in the title. Before Eagle’s traumatic 2019, he’d already planned an anime-focused LP that would explore the role of fictional power fantasies in the lives of marginalized people. His theory that Black people, inheritors of generational trauma, need anime the most, suggests its fanciful depictions of power and heroism provide an escape from Black America’s grim realities. After his own series of defeats, the theory became practice: he needed the escape, too. While his raps are often set in fantastical universes sprung from his imagination, the subject matter here is chillingly mundane and relatable. He finds himself single and middle-aged, questioning the fly “art rap” aesthetic he spent much of his adult life crafting, in a deteriorating dad bod that just doesn’t seem that funny anymore.

Eagle’s fantasies are heavily influenced by two anime in particular: Neon Genesis Evangelion, a morose mecha-anime set in a post-apocalyptic society that forces trauma upon children in order to save the world, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, a multi-generational saga featuring a fashion-forward family that uses super-powered manifestations of energy called Stands to fight evil beings. “I’m a Joestar (Black Power Fantasy)” posits Eagle as a member of the series’ aforementioned family, imagining his Stand with a “glow like Sho’nuff in The Last Dragon.” On “Headass (Idiot Shinji),” he identifies with Evangelion’s teen protagonist, whose epically awful timing often endangers humanity. “Sweatpants Spiderman” nods to the alternate-universe Peter Parker that mentors Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. That Spider-Man lost Mary Jane and fell into a depressive spiral, packing pizza slices onto his waistline and crying alone in the shower before being transported across the multiverse to teach Morales how to be Spider-Man. The song frankly assesses Eagle’s post-divorce status, re-evaluating his diet, art, and finances—and feeling every one of his 39 years.

Eagle’s ability to twist his pain into knee-slapping jokes is remarkable. “I'm in a spa, got on a sweet robe, tryin’a hold onto a tree pose/It’s like seeing what my body needs, maybe that's a lot of weed,” he raps on “WTF is Self-Care,” a rundown of various wellness practices meant to cure depression. “Everything Ends Last Year,” the result of his therapist’s suggestion to “write your feelings,” is his summation of the no-good very bad year, neither fun nor funny, and absent of the verbal gymnastics of which he’s capable. Laid over a somber piano melody and a minimal orchestral arrangement, his words are sparse and concise. “It’s October and I’m tired,” he raps, one of the most relatable bars in rap history.

With a few notable exceptions, the production on Anime, Trauma, and Divorce is more somber than angry, reflecting an overall sentiment of contrition rather than resentment. Executive producer Jacknife Lee assembled beats from the likes of Caleb Stone, Gold Panda, Black Milk, and Frank Leone that ooze moodiness, with prominent synth-bass melodies and laid-back tempos. It’s dark without being punishing, unafraid of naked self-reflection but devoid of self-pity.

Eagle would be forgiven for retreating into lethargy after the year he had; instead, he made an album as bleak—and funny—as anything he’s ever done, digging deep into his sense of self with the same sardonic wit that made his breakout LP Dark Comedy so impressive. It helps that he’s not entirely alone. Alt Peter Parker found purpose counseling Miles Morales, teaching him how to use his powers and guiding him through the inevitable trauma of being a superhero. Eagle’s son Asa will undoubtedly need guidance of his own: someone to share the wisdom of their own mistakes, to lead him down a brighter path. And for the first time in his career, Eagle put him on a record, with features for Lil A$e on both “Asa’s Bop” and “Fifteen Twenty Feet Ocean Nah,” the album’s lo-fi live-recorded closer. On the latter, Asa joins his dad in a self-deprecating rap about a near-death snorkeling experience. It’s goofy, absurd, and might have been recorded with a cell phone mic. It also sounds like the most fun he’s had on record in years. 
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma and Divorce Music Album Reviews Open Mike Eagle - Anime, Trauma and Divorce Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Friday, October 30, 2020 Rating: 5

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