Chance the Rapper is back with his recently released, long-awaited debut album, The Big Day. What was probably a big day for the rapper was a disappointing day for listeners all around. The Big Day is an album that loses itself by trying to accomplish too much while offering very little substance.
Fans last saw the Chicago rapper making a mark on the music industry by being the first artist to release a Grammy-winning mixtape. Leading up to the release of his debut album, Chance’s discography has been successful to say the least. Listeners heard his hunger in 10 Days, his raw talent in Acid Rap and his soul in Coloring Book.
With each release, Chance gave a little bit of himself, his story and his city. Following his success, the rapper has returned with an album that offers very little narrative into his life and feels a lot more like an outdated, overplayed and over-produced playlist.
The Big Day is an hour too long. The 22-track album attempts to tackle multiple genres and showcase Chance’s range, but the artist fails to provide a cohesive structure while bouncing between themes, resulting in a lot of songs that feel unfinished.
Though Chance the Rapper includes an A-list lineup of featured artists ranging from John Legend, Ben Gibbard (the lead singer of Death Cab for Cutie), Shawn Mendes and Nicki Minaj, the album still fails in its attempt to incorporate several aspects of music that make listeners want to dance and falls way short of its expectations.
When the first track, “All Day Long,” begins, listeners are brought to assume that Chance is picking right back up with the gospel sound and harmonic choirs that made his third mixtape an award-winning hit. This notion quickly dissipates with tracks like “Hot Shower” and “I Got You (Always and Forever),” which sound completely different from each other and every other song in the album.
“The Big Day” brings the lowest point of the album. What starts as an emotionally charged melodic song about accepting one’s inner emotions and madness becomes a screaming match between Chance and the production of the song, both competing for the listeners attention rather than complementing each other.
Between tracks like “The Big Day” and “Eternal,” Chance bounces between trap, rap, gospel, pop, R&B, spoken word and experimental adlibs throughout the album and within many songs themselves without developing a cohesive sound or idea. Occasionally, the listener catches themselves wondering if the producers even listened to the songs before mastering the album in the studio.
The Big Day also fails to make a statement thematically. At several points in the album, Chance either talks about his love for his wife, the importance of his family or his spontaneous rise to stardom as a journey. However, he never really offers a beginning, middle or end to any of the stories or songs themselves.
The album is all over the place and makes the listener push through the last half of it, but some songs are still worth the listen. Out of the 22 songs, “All Day Long,” “Do You Remember,” “Roo” and “Zanies and Fools” are small little gems in a pile full of coal. These four songs make up less than a fourth of the album but offer clever off-beat lyricism and soulful hooks which remind listeners why Chance is a headlining act.
Chance the Rapper failed to deliver the flair that listeners loved in his first three mixtapes. The Big Day will always be overshadowed by the initial fame he found in his earlier mixtape days.
1 out of 5 stars
Listening time: 1 hour and 17 minutes later