Tank: This Is How I Feel

Veteran songwriter and producer releases his fifth solo album and first on Atlantic Records.


This Is How I Feel

Label: Atlantic
US Release Date: 2012-05-08
UK Release Date: 2012-05-08

Tank's the sort of R&B artist that exists mostly in memories these days, all husky tenor and shirt-lacking cover art, but This Is How I Feel sees all his time writing and producing for artists like Chris Brown, Plies and Omarion apparently sapping most of his more human characteristics in favor of typical modern R&B boisterousness. Even when his sound reaches back to his origins at Blackground, like "Your One" or "Better Than Me", the results feel tepid and unengaging. The arrangements are defiantly spare, meant to put Tank's always pleasant vocal work on display but really only serving to highlight disappointing lyrical ideas like his friends call him Dollar Bill, so the girl he's addressing can refer to him as "[her] one". Despite being 36 years old, Tank spends most of this album writing like a spoiled teenager.

"Compliments", the album's single featuring T.I., is pretty indicative of all the things that don't really work about This Is How I Feel, which is a little awkward since in many ways it's also the best thing here. It's a song that feels alright on the surface, with a spacey little sci-fi beat that would feel pleasant to drive around to at night or wind down to at a club, and its chorus is catchy enough. But the song has this soullessness to it, this way of feeling like the sort of uncharming banter that occurs on a show like the Real Housewives series. T.I. drives that point home with a meandering verse that essentially mentions every possible physical and fashionable feature of a woman at a club, even going so far as to imply fancy pocketbooks are a turn on. The verse is essentially a cousin to his feature on Drake's "Fancy", except it's not fun at all.

In fact, the rapping here consistently represents brick walls for Tank to try his best to overcome. Chris Brown features on the album-opening "Lonely" and after a brief vocal deigns rapping like Meek Mill instead to be more satisfying. Funnily enough, the two were recently involved in a highly publicized late night brawl, and Chris Brown attempting to sound believable through Meek Mill's hyper intense delivery style about being "Lonely" without his old girl works out about as well as putting the two in the same room together.

Busta Rhymes also appears on "Nowhere", a song that competes with "Compliments" for most memorable but with an even more egregious rap showcase. Busta's been teetering between oddball and resurgent for a couple years now, but asking him to spit sex raps over a beat that's so airy it basically feels like an a cappella is probably his most awkward assignment in a long, long time. For an album that's almost entirely devoted to Tank's prowess in the bedroom he sure doesn't seem to realize how non-conducive to the bedroom old man Busta's voice is, or always has been.

This Is How I Feel clocks in as Tank's shortest project yet at just ten tracks and 40 minutes, but somehow it still manages to be something of a trial to get through. The only track that I was really able to catch myself enjoying was "Off Your Hands", a song about stealing another man's girlfriend because he isn't having sex with her right. Not exactly an exciting premise, but he punctuates it with an enthusiastic as hell "best sex ever!" adlib alongside a "dun-nuh-nuh-nuh" that's lifted right out of an old Hanna-Barbara cartoon that plants the song in a more ironic, R. Kelly Double Up sort of territory compared to all the self-serious material that surrounds it.

I suppose there's also "Next Breath" and "Better Than Me", the sort of R&B songs that barely exists anymore as Tank drops all the usual pretenses of being famous and unwaveringly self-satisfied to express some very sincere feelings of love and regret. It's really a shame that this is the album Tank came up with, since he's shown he can do better in the past and his voice is currently one of the more unique in the R&B field. If you're just an unabashed fan of male R&B vocals, or the sight of Tank's pecs on the cover has some sort of brainwashing effect on you, This Is How I Feel might be worth a few cursory spins on Spotify or what have you, but otherwise this is a release that will come and go with very little fanfare.






A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.


The Flaming Lips Reimagine Tom Petty's Life in Oklahoma on 'American Head'

The Flaming Lips' American Head is a trip, a journey to the past that one doesn't want to return to but never wants to forget.


Tim Bowness of No-Man Discusses Thematic Ambition Amongst Social Division

With the release of his seventh solo album, Late Night Laments, Tim Bowness explores global tensions and considers how musicians can best foster mutual understanding in times of social unrest.


Angel Olsen Creates a 'Whole New Mess'

No one would call Angel Olsen's Whole New Mess a pretty album. It's much too stark. But there's something riveting about the way Olsen coos to herself that's soft and comforting.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Masma Dream World Go Global and Trippy on "Sundown Forest" (premiere)

Dancer, healer, musician Devi Mambouka shares the trippy "Sundown Forest", which takes listeners deep into the subconscious and onto a healing path.


Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" Is an Ode for Unity in Troubling Times (premiere)

Alright Alright's "Don't Worry" is a gentle, prayerful tune that depicts the heart of their upcoming album, Crucible.


'What a Fantastic Death Abyss': David Bowie's 'Outside' at 25

David Bowie's Outside signaled the end of him as a slick pop star and his reintroduction as a ragged-edged arty agitator.


Dream Folk's Wolf & Moon Awaken the Senses with "Eyes Closed" (premiere)

Berlin's Wolf & Moon are an indie folk duo with a dream pop streak. "Eyes Closed" highlights this aspect as the act create a deep sense of atmosphere and mood with the most minimal of tools.


Ranking the Seasons of 'The Wire'

Years after its conclusion, The Wire continues to top best-of-TV lists. With each season's unique story arc, each viewer is likely to have favorites.


Paul Reni's Silent Film 'The Man Who Laughs' Is Serious Cinema

There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Reni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.


The Grahams Tell Their Daughter "Don't Give Your Heart Away" (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.