By Daniel Paiz
As 2022 winds down, there’s still A Week’s Worth Album Review or two left to do; this time Thees Handz introduces listeners to Three’s Company. This sophomore release is from Murs and The Grouch, and this second go-round they’re adding Reverie to the team. Similar to the 1970s-1980s TV show of the same name, there are times where this album sounds dysfunctional yet fun. Daily life topics are something all three of these artists are very good at unpacking. However, there’s not really a conceptual umbrella for this project; it’s a combination of conceptualized songs mixed with tracks that are part reflection, part braggadocio.
The theme of this album for this listener was missed opportunities, because there are some individual tracks that could’ve been blueprints for a more conceptualized album.
There are grander themes that are addressed in this album; hustle culture, modern dating, self-reflection/growth are just a few. The problem is, they don’t really cross with each other that much. Rather, they stay on conceptual islands, presenting something to think about but then not always connecting to other themes being explored. One such instance of making sure the connection does happen is from “Spiritual Gangster” to “Most High”.
“Eco friendly, or ego friendly?” is probably the best line on this track, and it’s Murs delivering it smoothly. This track sounds similar to “Light Up the Sage” from their first album but with a slightly different focus. The different ideas Grouch, Murs, and Reverie tackle are all solid, and provide a nice range of depth. This is one of the few tracks where it also sounds like there’s chemistry amongst all three members, which doesn’t happen on all 14 tracks.
The shift from portraying oneself as a spiritual participant to someone who’s always working is a fluid shift too as “Most High” follows. This latter track delves into the idea of public image, and how the focus on perception drains the narrator of energy and in a way, themselves. Authenticity is likely the biggest concept over the course of this album, and both of these tracks demand authenticity from those playing these cultivated roles. Reverie adds a new perspective on authenticity in these two tracks, proving her addition was a smart one.
“Catfish”, “To Live and Drive in LA” and “Church in the Sky” all provide additional proof that reflection and authenticity are major drivers of this project. If these tracks had been fleshed out into multiple songs, this album might be a bit more cohesive.
The Grouch x Reverie x Murs
Skits are always a gamble when it comes to an album, because they have to be memorable but not distracting. They also have to find a balance of being a scene of their own, but loosely tying into the overall project. Each skit does a good job of being memorable, but they all seem too mundane to have really added much to the overall narrative. “F**k on the First Date” is likely the best of the skits with how Reverie flips a newsworthy concept, but it still seems random. Life is random and mundane, sure, but these skits are better equipped for a TV show and not an album (and that TV show feeling doesn’t continue in the music).
Music is meant to be enjoyed and doesn’t always have to be conceptually layered and picked apart like a college research paper. That’s definitely understood and there is music this writer listens to for that express reason. However, these three rappers are all skilled rhymers and have created thoughtful music in the past. This project has some interesting lines, but not really an overarching theme. One could speculate self-reflection and being one’s authentic self is the concept. Another could argue it slowly travels along the perspective of observing life from different levels: first at the personal, then (at track nine) at a communal, and then with the ending track a global viewpoint.
“Where I’m From”, “Sweet N Fine”, and “Playtime’s Over” are all solid tracks but don’t really expand an overall viewpoint. If these tracks and a few of the skits were removed, this album would flow a bit better. It would also likely have aided the project in gaining more streams.
If you’re looking for something fun to listen to while you’re driving or hanging out, this is the project for you. There are several tracks that show all kinds of love to California, as well as having these three flex their lyrical muscles. For someone that’s looking for a fuller story or more conceptual appeal, this project wanes. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, because there are good songs here, but the overall idea is choppy.
There are tracks where Grouch and Murs sound smooth together, while Reverie sounds out of place. Other times Murs and Reverie are in sync while Grouch sounds misplaced. It would have been more impactful if only two of the three members were on certain tracks. “Most High” and “Catfish” are the best examples of the song coming together. However, “Catfish” largely stood out because listeners hear fresh voices in the forms of OG Dayv and Slug of Atmosphere. If there’s to be a third Thees Handz project, there needs to be more features, or more variety of voices and ideas than Three’s Company provides.
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