A bit of a break leads to a group coming back together and releasing a new album, confirming that, indeed in certain circumstances, NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES.
At this stage in their career, N*E*R*D really needed to work on making sure that they were delivering solid music. Their albums had been producing consistently diminishing returns and whilst that doesn’t mean the albums were bad, it seemed to indicate that N*E*R*D were not a group that had the ability to deliver their ideas well.
Well, NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES is a step up from the past few albums.
There’s many lyrics about societal ills brought in by both N*E*R*D and their guests counterbalanced by a by some really upbeat, fun melodies.
Many of the songs sound pretty relaxed and free whilst also being quite tight and precise. There’s a nice, even blending of a few different sounds and genres and whilst some of the songs really could have benefited by being much shorter than they are, overall the album is fairly smooth and cohesive.
The lyrics work well and generally do a good job of not allowing their subject matter to be revealed without a bit of work, but in conjunction with the happy, upbeat music this can diminish their impact. It was likely an intentional decision as you don’t feel like you’re being beaten over the head and it keeps the mood light whilst still getting something across, but the message is a little too easy to look past.
Other than that, the guests are appropriate for each song and deliver their lines with much aplomb. It’s hard to tell if there were concessions made to fit them in or not, but they do slot in nicely into each section they inhabit.
NO_ONE EVER REALLY DIES is a better release than N*E*R*D’s past few albums. It has a lot more focus and cohesion. Whilst there are some moments that meander, the album works well as a whole and shows that N*E*R*D can deliver.