Shad's Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness playfully mines pop culture’s past
Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness (Independent)
Canadian hip-hop nice guy Shad has yet to announce a follow-up to his Juno Award–winning 2010 LP, TSOL. On the bright side, the Vancouver-based rhymer has at least offered up a free online mix tape to tide fans over until album number four rolls around. And like its Smashing Pumpkins–referencing title, Melancholy and the Infinite Shadness finds the rapper playfully mining pop culture’s past for inspiration.
The five-song collection starts up with “A Milli Vanilli”, which manages to tip its hat to Rob and Fab by copping the beat and ’80s breaks from “Girl You Know It’s True” while trumping the infamous lip-synchers by actually putting Shad’s voice on the cut. The rapper then veers toward the alternative nation by placing Kim Deal’s distorted “awhooo” from her Breeders’ big hit “Cannonball” atop a mighty boom bap on the tellingly titled “Out Here (Cannonball)”. Shad boasts on the track that he’s been in style since Bart Simpson and Milhouse became pals, despite his debut, When This Is Over, having arrived only in 2005.
Meanwhile, “Old Prince”, which samples the Purple One’s symbol-era pop ballad “7”, has the travelling musician spitting about how much time he actually spends in his current Van City hood. “I’m a homebody, but I’m kind of homeless. Showbiz problems,” he pontificates wryly.
Whether the rapper remains in town to record his next full-length or heads elsewhere, Shad will no doubt deliver rhymes with savoir-faire. Just like on this stopgap release.