Album Review: GRiZ, ‘Say It Loud’

Written by Megan LaBruna

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Detroit DJ, GRiZ has dropped his fourth studio album, Say It Loud today. Previous albums, such as Mad Liberation, focused on heavy electronic sounds. Say It Loud, however, offers a new set of tracks that explore GRiZ’s finesse in combining his patented electronic sound with a bluesy, soulful feel.  Here, GRiZ has taken his style from the prior album and expanded further adding live outside elements to the songs.  This album focuses more on allowing the electronic aspects to masterfully blend with the live sound rather than making the electronic sound the main focus, a theme that GRiZ has carried through from his last record, Rebel Era.

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Say It Loud starts with a serious funk sound right off the bat with “The Anthem” featuring Mike Avery.  The album is said to be a homage to James Brown’s funk -soul spirit and the vocals on this first track are definitely reminiscent of that sound. GRiZ’s style offers a nice blend of synthetic melodies mixed with heavy sax solos and dance beats.  The addition of the L.A. Children’s Chorus brings another layer to the music allowing the opportunity to not only dance, but sing along with the music.  It’s a great introduction to what is to come.

For the second track, “Funk Party” describes itself perfectly in the title.  The feeling from the first beat is like walking into a lively party blasting catchy dance music. GRiZ finds a way to breathe new life into the funk spirit by adding catchy bass beats and infusing stellar dub step sounds throughout the track, while still maintaining and respecting the essence of the original style.

“A Fine Way to Die” featuring Orlando Napier, though located in the middle of the album, was used as a teaser for GRiZ’s updated sound.  Rightfully so, the track offers great insight into the overall theme of the album, which is catchy lyrics, mesmerizing vocals and a large mix of brass sound featuring stylistic runs partnered with up-tempo backbeats and layered with electronic sound that doesn’t overshadow the live elements, but rather serves to elevate the full experience of the sound.

Towards the latter part of the middle of the album, “For the love” slows the tempo down a bit, allowing listeners to focus on the words spoken by Talib Kweli and partnered with catchy background vocals.  The song offers more opportunity for a bluesy sound to bleed through. A large focus of the song centers around the brass elements blending with the track’s vocals allowing for a nice variety within the album.

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“Stop Trippin” offers the strong vocals of iDA HAWK mixed with both live instruments and computerized sound offering a great synthetic flair to the track.  Towards the end of the song, the beat breaks down into a catchy staccato rhythm prompting listeners to clap along. GRiZ’s message of equality throughout the album is something I heard most on this track based on the lyrics and the feel of this song.  It’s a great way to wind down to the finale without actually winding down, since the song has a really upbeat dance type feel to it.

Check out GRiZ’s newest studio album, Say It Loud, which is out today.  Following in the footsteps of other prominent artists, the album will be sold as a pay what you want bundle on BitTorrent, so I highly recommend checking out the full album.

Rating: 8 out of 10

For the BitTorrent Bundles version of GRiZ’s Say It Loud, click here.


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