Thursday, December 18, 2014

My review of Player Select

Egoraptor and Ninja Sex Party came together once again for their second Rap Album. Starbomb, as the group is called, raps about video game characters, most often taking the perspective of characters from many popular video games. Their first album came out around this time last year, and on the 16th their second album Player Select was birthed into the world.

My short review: it's better than their first, and a truly impressive feat.
Unlike similar video game parodies and rap groups, Starbomb doesn't normally rap about game plots or aspects. It's not to say that there aren't any game references, but they're unexplained. This style is limiting to outside audiences (people who aren't gamers), but a few songs in this album are more wide reaching than their first endeavor. The songs are very unique, to say the least, but most people don't know Glass Joe, or some of the more obscure Zelda enemies.

Every aspect of this album is better than the first. Danny's lyrics are better, Arin's raps are impressive, and Brian did a great job in improving the melodies and arrangements. The songs are fun, funny, and catchy. Some of the songs for their first, eponymous album weren't fun or really something anyone would want to sing. Singing along is hard not to do, a great trait of any good song. The rhythm catches the ear in a very interesting manner. Often Arin's raps take over the beat.

Danny's voice personally gives me goose bumps. In earlier NSP albums and in Starbomb, Danny had a tendency to stick to one style of singing, but employs many different methods in this album. His voice has truly become his instrument.

Arin's rapping is impressive. His experience as a voice actor shows, and puts his voice to the limit with each song. With this being his second effort at the rap game, his abilities seem to be far beyond what anyone would expect. This was true the first time around, but this album feels eons beyond their first.

Brian's music can, at first, seem samey, but only because everything above it is so mesmerizing. The music is very much appropriate, and while it seems to follow Arin and Danny's voices, it does drive through and dictate the rhythm. The effort is appreciated, and I think Brian accomplishes much by making the music part of the background, like a very important back bone.

Starbomb is something else, a group which deserves all of the recognition and success it has garnered. I'm excited to see what comes next.


overscan68000 said...

Personally I'm not that impressed- it's all a little predictable and stunted, with cheesy music. What they're doing is awesome and I'm glad they're having great fun and people are enjoying it, but it's already a little tired for me.

Luigi's Ballad was easily the high point.

That said, I'd love to hear more serious music from Dan, and some from Arin, too.

Have you listened to Skyhill, Dan's previous band to NSP?

Zac Manman said...

I would mostly agree with your points if they were about Starbomb's eponymous album, but certainly not Player Select.

Danny's lyrics have taken a step up in this album, and Brian's arrangements are a good supporting backbone. They tend to blend in and allow the voices to do the work. Danny's singing is spectacular.

Arin's rapping is really impressive in this new album. His ability was simply surprising, but at best average in their first effort. Listening to Hero of Rhyme is enlightening. Go ahead and try to match the pace and beat that Arin spits, you'll find it to be very difficult.

A non-comedy album from NSP and/or Egoraptor would be great, but I'm not sure it would be any good. Their role is in comedy, and that's obviously where they're comfortable. I think they could do it, and I'm all for it, but I wouldn't expect anything too great.

I would also say, even in some of the jokes and silly concepts of Player Select, there is some dramatic effort. Inky's Lament, Hero of Rhyme, and Glass Joe's Title Fight are good examples of this. Joke-y, but with high level writing and some dramatic punch. I think these songs exhibit skills that they could write non-comedy songs.

I hadn't heard of Danny's previous band, but I'll look it up. I don't expect anything good; early NSP albums aren't that great, so probably anything that came before them is at least equally not great.

I'll still give it a listen.

overscan68000 said...

I think I'll relisten to the album again.

Here's Skyhill.

Start with hands on the water- it's on YouTube, too. I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised. I bought the physical CD.

Zac Manman said...

I've listened to Hands On The Water, and I am very much impressed.

This is, for sure, a different pace. The mastering and writing are amateurish, but for a self-produced album it's not terrible. Dan's voice sounds so much different, probably because he's going for a more subtle tone, combined with his current work it's a great display of his range.

I want to know more about this band, but I'll guess that Dan left New York to pursue a career with new friends in a new place. I'll also guess that Dan wanted to be more creative and have more comedy music.

The weirdest thing about NSP is Ninja Brian. I imagine that He and Dan met in college, but on the surface, they couldn't be more different. I haven't listened to the whole album yet, but while Hands On The Water wasn't a bad song, it felt uninspiring. Good music, mastering, and vocals aren't a great replacement for an uninteresting sound.

Also, from reading their about page, I think they tried to sell themselves more than they just tried to be good. I think, now, would be a great time to toss things up with a few songs that were more serious, but probably not an album's worth.

overscan68000 said...

You need to give it all a listen Different Frequencies, Black and White., Glass Doors..Afterglow is beautiful. I really adore it. I'm not sure I understand why you think the writing and mastering are amateurish. The real CD sounds amazing, that's for sure :)

It really depends on taste, I suppose- I think it's done really well. One things for sure though, I'd like to hear more of Dan's voice!