Videos from This Album
Album Reviews: The Rising Tied by Fort MinorMusically, Mike Shinoda's solo project Fort Minor is more mellow than you might expect from Linkin Park's MC/singer. Essentially a mid-tempo hip-hop album (executive produced by Shawn Carter, aka Jay-Z), The Rising Tied is almost completely stripped of rock guitars and aggressive melodies, and it relies on a varied mixture of menacing and truly buoyant beats. Fans of Shinoda's band will hear a nice change of pace from the Linkin Park template, while others who dismiss that band's calculated aggression as a bit too dramatic may just hear a welcome diversion. Maybe.
The music isn't the problem here (at least, not the biggest problem) --it's the lyrics. Album center-point "In Stereo" is sonically menacing in a schlocky horror movie way, but the words are so incredibly cheesy that it's impossible to take seriously. With no discernable irony, Shinoda moves way into Fred Durst territory, begging for street credibility. The song's appeal to "virtual street" status by referencing GTA San Andreas doesn't nearly save it, and it's unfortunately emblematic of much of the album.
The Rising Tied features a couple decent cameos from Black Thought (The Roots), but what should have been an intriguing appearance by Common on "Back Home" just sounds uninspired. The album's saving grace (or maybe its Hail Mary) is the insightful "Cigarettes", where Shinoda cuts through the corny suburban-ghetto aesthetic of the album and delivers some memorable industry criticism. The song takes aim at the marketing of hip-hop's overpraised vices ("guns, drugs, and misogyny"), which Shinoda portrays as a stupid addiction that even fans can't really explain the use of ("just something that I do...I don't want the truth/I want to feel f*cking cool"). The song is easily the album's high point and unfortunately, not much else here measures up to it. - Cory O'Malley
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