[30 January 2013]
The Higher Concept bills Everybody as an album “for fathers and sons, daughters and mothers, this is for saints and sinners, haters and lovers. … This is for everybody.” It’s easy to hear the middle-of-the-road thinking that went into its production. Synth-heavy R&B samples meld with rap lite on these tunes, which feature a revolving set of vocalists. The chant-along chorus of album opener “Everybody” sounds as if it was written with the aid of a focus group, but it’s undeniably catchy. Elsewhere, it’s hard to know which is more annoying: the by-the-numbers R&B choruses of “Runnin Away” and “Over”, or the simplistic pop-rap-lite platitudes of “Everything”.
The production here is slick, but when the tunes are this stultifyingly familiar, so what? Things get a little better late in the record: “American Way” benfits from some nice, screechy guitar, while “Used to Say” makes good use of a rattling piano sample and some meaty rhymes. But it’s too little too late. In their attempt to make a record that appeals to everybody, the Higher Concept have ended up with than album that is likely to please no one. And don’t even get me started on the faux-Sergeant Pepper album art and video costumes: just because you mimic greatness, guys, doesn’t mean you’re great.