Lupe Fiasco’s latest offering “Lasers” takes Fiasco’s sound in a new direction featuring beats and rhythms ready for the club out of the box. While the electronic sounds on the album allow for a smooth album, generally rolling from track to track, this mass-consumer sound is combined with the political elements on numerous tracks, resulting in a confused finished product.From the beginning of the album, Fiasco makes no qualms that this album is going to an intimate journey into his mind. On the first track “Letting Go,” which features Sarah Green, Fiasco opens with ‘My self-portrait / Shows a man that the wealth tortured / Self absorbed with his own self.’ Taking a look at himself while the chorus haunts the background of the track, Fiasco opens strongly.
Transitioning to politics in the second song, “Words I Never Said,” Fiasco continued his strong showing, speaking from the heart and hammering his opinions home. Lines such as, “Limbaugh is a racist / Glenn Beck is a racist / Gaza Strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say s— / That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either,” really show the torn attitude of Fiasco as he sublimely infiltrates the speakers over the pounding bass.
As great as the opening to the album was, the fourth track “I Don’t Wanna Care Right Now” is where things start to go wrong for Fiasco. The beats change from a rap-rock feel, taking on a more club feel, complete with cliché drops and peculiar horns that just disrupt the flow of the album.
By the midway point, Fiasco manages to right the ship with the first single off the album, “The Show Goes On.” Following in the seventh slot, “Beautiful Lasers (2Ways)” continues correcting the course with witty and well-crafted lyrics, but the next three songs revert to relying on the club sounds.
“State Run Radio” is a catchy song, but here more than anywhere else the muddling of the message and the music butt heads and never get on the same track. By the finale, Fiasco gets the album back to where it started, but the middle pop/club sections took their toll.
This album has some of the most interesting musical arrangements found in a rap album of recent times and I enjoyed the majority of it. However, the highly-commercialized feel to the tracks combined with the political content that champions individuality results in a confusion that never quite clicks the same way as Fiasco’s previous albums.