REVIEW: Common’s “Nobody’s Smiling”

 photo Common14_cover_zps1cdf24f5.jpg Nobody’s Smiling (Def Jam) is what I would call “comfort zone Common”, in that everything on this album is what Common fans have come to expect from one of Chicago’s all time best MC’s. The flows remain strong, the lyrics are poignant, and the songs hold up from start to finish. There are no surprises and nothing mindblowing, but don’t think it means that this is bad. By all means, this is a solid album from start to finish and there are no disappointments whatsoever, it’s the type of Common that has made people want to hear more, the songs that may be bold and daring but make a swift turn around to let you know he’s still the classiest and styling man around. This is the Common you loved 10 to 15 years ago, and he shows why he understands what people want to hear.

If you’re looking for something negative in this review, let’s see if I can come up with something. At this point, it’s hard to say if people want to hear a bold and daring Common, if they expect to hear him do some dance tracks or throw in some dubstep or do a duet with Ariana Grande, and maybe that can happen with the next album, EP, or song. For now, no thrills, it’s straightforward and to-the-point Common so if you want to expect good music, this is him in his comfort zone. It’s hard to say if someone like him would be willing to throw out different expectations, especially at a time when MC’s are more of a risk factor for musical efforts than ones involving publicity. It may be one of many reasons why this album is called Nobody’s Smiling, no one wants to be involved in doing bullshit and this is a no-bullshit album. Maybe next time, he’ll throw out the unexpected but for now, not now.

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