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Travie McCoy - Lazarus Album Cover

Travie McCoy - Lazarus

Reviewed by
6.8
Travie McCoyLazarus
Release Date: June 8, 2010
Record Label: Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Life must be good for the artist formerly known as Travis McCoy. Now going by his childhood name Travie, this Gym Class Hero emcee is unleashing his first solo album, Lazarus, to the hip-hop world. Full of summer time jams, it's hard to imagine this is the same guy who rapped about desolate times and experiences in his band’s second album Papercut Chronicles. Taking a break from his Gym Class duties, McCoy decided that an album full of positive songs (rather than some of the bleaker stuff he planned on releasing) would be a better release for the summer time.

The Lazarus artworks seems to depict a new-age version of The Music Man, or maybe Travie, floating up to the clouds, ready to shower everyone with his feel-good jams. And that’s exactly how the album kicks off. “Dr. Feel Good” is banging opener with a great hook from Cee-Lo Green (note: if you want to have kick-ass hooks, hire Cee-Lo; it never fails). On the track, McCoy rhymes about what it would be like to be happy. It’s got a Jock Jams feel to it, as it’ll get you moving rather quickly. The auto-tuned electro-rocker “Superbad (11:34)” works in a weird way, although it comes across as a Gym Class b-side. The major difference between this solo release and a Gym Class release is how much singing McCoy does. Sure, he isn’t the best vocalist, but he isn’t bad. He’s about on par (or maybe even better than) with Decaydance buddy William Beckett.

The song that may or may not have already set your summer ablaze is the breezy “Billionaire.” This track seems to have fallen out of Jason Mraz’s last album and is paced by some steel drums and Bruno Mars’ delicious chorus, while McCoy pleads about wanting to become a billionaire. The first highlight of Lazarus is the urgent “Need You,” a light pop-rock number that really shines a light on McCoy’s singing talents.

Not every song is a smash, such as the boring filler of “Critical” and “After Midnight” follows the obnoxious dance/neon phase, but his charm can make up for the missteps at times. The old-school nature of “Akidagain” will take you down nostalgia lane. The chorus of children that sing the hook will stay in your head for hours, while McCoy’s flow has never sounded tighter. McCoy shows his classic rock roots with “We’ll Be Alright,” which samples a Supergrass song, even though the lyrics have about as much complexity as a Cobra Starship song.

The closest McCoy gets to radio rap is on “The Manuel,” which features more auto-tuned goodness, this time from the guy who made this whole craze popular, T-Pain. Despite that, McCoy closes out Lazarus with a song old school GCH fans will appreciate. “Don’t Pretend” gives us McCoy at his most vulnerable, as it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in his life.

Did I expect to like this album as much as I do? Not really, but thanks to some well-placed songs, a quality collection of producers, and Travie McCoy’s undeniable charm, Lazarus has landed on my summer playlist. This is not a world-beater by any means, but it shows some growth in McCoy as an artist and lets him get out his ideas before recording and releasing the next Gym Class Heroes album. Maybe if he had Hayley Williams sing a chorus on this record, more people would pay attention to it or give it to chance. But on the real, Lazarus isn’t any worse than B.o.B’s recent album and it is definitely worth your time this summer.

Additional InformatonTrack Listing
1. Dr. Feel Good (feat. Cee-Lo Green)
2. Superbad (11:34)
3. Billionaire (feat. Bruno Mars)
4. Need You
5. Critical (feat. Tim William)
6. Akidagain
7. We’ll Be Alright
8. The Manuel (feat. T-Pain & Young Cash)
9. After Midnight (It’ll Burn)
10. Don’t Pretend (feat. Colin Munroe)
Produced by: T-Pain, Travie McCoy, The Smeezingtons, Lucas Secon, Chad Beatz (Tastemaker Music), The Stereotypes, Infamous, Hannon Lane, DJ Frank E, Wes Borland, Andrew "Drew" Correa, Josh Abraham, Oligee, Noel "Detail" Fisher

Official Website; Official Myspace; Official AP.net Profile; Official Twitter Account

 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 52
08:55 AM on 06/14/10
#2
zachff
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There is only one Dr. Feelgood
08:58 AM on 06/14/10
#3
zachff
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And more importantly, I really like your reviews Drew and wish you did more, but I think you are totally off base saying McCoy is a better singer than William Beckett.

I don't think it's even close. Beckett is probably the second best vocalist on Decaydance (behind Stump & pending one's thoughts on Urie) and McCoy doesn't even make the top half of that list.
09:01 AM on 06/14/10
#4
ZoSo1886
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Another solid review. I have not checked out the album yet, how does the Auto Tune work w/ Mr McCoy?
09:01 AM on 06/14/10
#5
Drew Beringer
Senior Editor - @drewberinger - Locked Groove
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mehhh never been impressed with Beckett, song sound like something that could be on a TAI album plus I want to make TAI fangirls mad haha
09:03 AM on 06/14/10
#6
Gaugzilla
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And more importantly, I really like your reviews Drew and wish you did more, but I think you are totally off base saying McCoy is a better singer than William Beckett.

I don't think it's even close. Beckett is probably the second best vocalist on Decaydance (behind Stump & pending one's thoughts on Urie) and McCoy doesn't even make the top half of that list.
Yea, I'd agree that Beckett is by far the more gifted singer.

But I also agree with you Drew that I didn't expect this album to be as enjoyable as it is (especially after The Quilt was a marginal dud). Your quote about Cee-Lo also rings true.

One thing that needs to be said is no album should end on a literal weepy song. I don't know why TM thought it would be a good idea to close on that last song.
09:04 AM on 06/14/10
#7
brenByah
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I might give this a chance since I like a handful of gym class heroes songs, but I haaaaaaaaaate "Billionaire."
09:05 AM on 06/14/10
#8
zachff
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mehhh never been impressed with Beckett, song sound like something that could be on a TAI album plus I want to make TAI fangirls mad haha
Well you've succeeded in getting my panties all in a twist.
09:14 AM on 06/14/10
#9
falloutpanicboy
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Eh.... this album isn't terrible.... but it isn't anything to get excited about. Granted that I heard this record right between hearing Drake's TML and Eminem's Recovery, but still I don't see this record getting much spins from me.
09:15 AM on 06/14/10
Nick Le
Yeezy taught me.
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Quote:
Maybe if he had Hayley Williams sing a chorus on this record, more people would pay attention to it or give it to chance.

I do love that B.o.B album though. I haven't listened to anything from this but Billionaire which I really loved -- a lot in part due to Bruno Mars' voice. And I myself really like Beckett's voice.
09:50 AM on 06/14/10
phoenixinflames
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Wes Borland?
09:55 AM on 06/14/10
HometownHero
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This album is abysmal
10:02 AM on 06/14/10
weworemasks
save the drama for wilmer valderama
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the quilt was a fantastic record. some of travie's best lyrical work.

lazarus - might be the worst album i've heard all year.
10:10 AM on 06/14/10
knash9
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And more importantly, I really like your reviews Drew and wish you did more, but I think you are totally off base saying McCoy is a better singer than William Beckett.

I don't think it's even close. Beckett is probably the second best vocalist on Decaydance (behind Stump & pending one's thoughts on Urie) and McCoy doesn't even make the top half of that list.
what about the ready set
10:14 AM on 06/14/10
Jason Tate
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Dunno how you can discuss McCoy's vocals when we have yet to hear them without being digitized 10x over... "Need You" is the best song, then there's a bunch of filler from an otherwise pretty fun EP.

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