Album review: Flying Colours

Shad’s new album is fresh, but is it fresh enough?

Carli Berry, Contributor Ω

Image courtesy Black Box Recordings

Image courtesy Black Box Recordings

Juno award winner Shad is back and set to release his fourth studio album, Flying Colours, on Oct. 15.

The album is catchy, delivering a blend of faster-paced raps and slow, soulful singing. Shad’s voice can be recognized as his own on the album, as he doesn’t sound like anyone else.

Flying Colours covers a variety of topics that deal with issues in Shad’s personal life, including immigration issues and coping with being raised as a minority, in the song “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins),” and even marriage and relationships (without sounding cliché) in “He Say She Say.”

“The most important thing is making songs that are going to mean something to people” Shad said in a YouTube video created during the making of this album (see the end of this article).

Flying Colours also provides a mix of Canadian artists including rappers k-os and Saukrates. At times, this adds to the diversity of the album and keeps it from becoming boring.

Canadian hip-hop legend Shad is set to release his latest album Oct. 15. Photo courtesy Justin Broadbent

Canadian hip-hop legend Shad is set to release his latest album Oct. 15. Photo courtesy Justin Broadbent

On the opposite side of the spectrum, although containing a mixture of paces, no particular song stands out. Shad’s voice is unique, but his song rhythms sound similar to any other rapper in the hip-hop genre. The album delivers a sound that verges on generic.

While Shad’s lyrics are thought-provoking, the rhythms contain no memorable hooks that will keep a listener coming back to the album. “Remember to Remember” is repetitive and the background vocals by Lights don’t make it any better. His main hit, “Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins),” also remains unpopular on iTunes in comparison to his older works “Rose Garden” and “I Get Down.”

His final song is the most popular off the album, so one may recommend listeners to start with “Epilogue: Long Jawn” if they wish to sample the album before purchasing. However, for listeners new to Shad, this album is not the right place to start. Flying Colours is not great, but it is good.

Overall, not a bad album for listeners who enjoy hip hop. Diehard Shad fans will probably enjoy his attempt to go in a different direction.