Chance The Rapper has done some truly remarkable things.
Before he’d even turned 25 years old, the charming young hip-hop artist had released three classic mixtapes and earned three Grammys, in addition to performing at the White House, hosting Saturday Night Live, starring in a Super Bowl commercial and doing some incredible things for his home city of Chicago. And he achieved all of this while remaining entirely independent.
Chance will always be an inspiring and lovable figure in my book. I have a damn poster of his Coloring Book portrait watching over my record collection. But it pains me to say that his perfect record making perfect records comes to an end with his “debut album” The Big Day.
The album is nothing if not ambitious. Between its massive 22 tracks, its diverse list of collaborators (Death Cab for Cutie, Randy Newman, Shawn Mendes and CocoRosie appear alongside more usual suspects) and its kitchen sink fusion of styles and tempos, Chance definitely went big on his first for-sale album.
Whereas his previous projects have a distinct palette of sounds, feelings and perspectives, this one tries to paint with every color in the rainbow. And if you’ve ever tried to paint with too many colors, you know it doesn’t take much mixing before it all turns a muddy brown.
Even more disappointing are Chance’s bars and vocal performances, which are rarely great, frequently lame and more than occasionally cringeworthy. Some moments are so bad I had to go back to the old tapes to confirm he didn’t always sound this whack.
What makes The Big Day so frustrating is how badly I want to like it. And believe me I’ve tried. Somehow, after listening to all 77 minutes half a dozen times over, I keep coming up empty handed of a single song I want to hear again. It’s not that it’s even bad (most of the time). It’s just boring as hell, which might be even worse.
Like its cover art, The Big Day has an appealing allure, until you realize you’re looking at fake diamonds glued to a piece of plastic.