Atmosphere, You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having
Why does everyone in the music-reviewing business love to hate
Atmosphere? Everyone panned 2003’s Se7en’s Travels, as if Atmosphere had
sold out or lost their skill. But these were the same people who had
trashed the duo’s previous three records and I sense the trend
continuing in response to You Can’t Believe How Much Fun We’re Having,
so I will take the road less traveled.
With Slug’s slightly drowned-out vocals and Ant’s complex gritty cuts,
Atmosphere’s fifth outing sounds more like a live recording than a
studio album. You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having is without
doubt a product of the group’s year-and-half-long excursion around the
globe in promotion of Se7en’s Travels. Slug’s typical ruminations around
philosophy, booze and ex-girlfriends are all accounted for but he throws
a heavy dose of insecurity into the mix with lyrics that lack resonance.
This is Slug’s “I’m 30! What the hell do I do?” record and it boasts
the same mid-life crisis phenomenon that has hit many MCs in the last
But if anyone deserves praise on this record it should be Ant. His DJ
and production skills have shown immense growth over the years and here
they are at their best. On tracks like “The Arrival” and “Musical
Chairs” you can close your eyes and feel as if you’re in a dark, cramped
little club with them.
This is a departure for Atmosphere and while many will miss the subtle,
esoteric beauty of this album, Slug and Ant will continue to be two of
hip-hop’s few soldiers in trenches, defending us from the P. Diddys and
Mike Joneses of the world.