Alternative | Electronic
As somebody who has chosen to really ramp up the amount of albums that I choose to write reviews about in the year of 2020, I occasionally wish that I could properly delve into everything that goes into a project, as everything that goes into a good album is vitally important.
However, there have unfortunately been some recent instances of my oversight on some albums. The most recent of which was Mike Shinoda’s sophomore solo album, Dropped Frames, Vol.1.
It was yesterday that I wrote my initial review on this album. And being someone who was only critically listening to the project at face value, my disappointment was more than apparent in my wording.
However, the fans have spoken, and have shared with me a hugely important factor behind this album that I’m kicking myself over. That being, that this album is pretty much a compilation; a compilation of tracks that had been created with the help of Mike Shinoda’s own fans during his many lockdown livestreams.
But going back to how my initial review began, Mike Shinoda, for those who don’t know, played a huge role in the legendary band that was LINKIN PARK. After the tragic loss of that band’s frontman Chester Bennington, Shinoda was amongst those hit the hardest by the loss.
With that in mind, it was an incredible sigh of relief to see Shinoda bounce back with the release of his debut solo album, 2018’s Post Traumatic, which I revered as a beautiful and heartfelt telling of Shinoda’s own feeling of guilt, sinking into deep sorrow, and pulling himself back out of the ashes.
Almost exactly two years later, we move on to Shinoda’s second album, which is titled Dropped Frames, Vol 1. In my mindset of taking the album at face value, and still being oblivious to its context, I was left both confused and disappointed by the way that it was structured. And while I praised the opening and leading single “Open Door” as an instant anthem, I was left bewildered by the fact that the remainder of this album only carried instrumental tracks with clashing musical themes.
This led me to criticize the album, and its cover as equally chaotic and messy, and with all of that in mind, left this album feeling unappeased.
What I had learned far more recently about this project however, is that each of these tracks are the result of Mike Shinoda trying out a new musical project through his lockdown livestreams, one that is heavily fan-suggested in terms of the theme and atmosphere they want to make a reality.
This also allowed me to learn that the album’s closing track, “Booty Down” (the one which I deemed my least favourite in my initial review), is essentially a joke track which was quickly put together as the result of another idea not quite going the desired way. Unfortunately however, “Booty Down” remains my least favourite from the album, as its short duration still makes it a confusing choice for this album’s closing song.
While I still enjoyed many of the instrumentals that the album had to offer initially (to a degree), the newfound context does strengthen them slightly more, and overall gives the album a much stronger sense of sentiment.
However, this newfound context does set up a completely separate issue; one in which I feel that Dropped Frames, Vol.1 perhaps shouldn’t have been released as an album. While both Wikipedia and Spotify label this project as a studio album, I feel that it would’ve worked better as a mixtape or compilation.
But on the flipside, what I now adore about this project is just how well it represents Shinoda’s engagement with his fans. I was lucky enough to see this level of bond in Shinoda’s live performance at Reading festival in 2018, and regret that I had not known about that aspect of this album prior to the fans who had made me aware of it.
Favourite Tracks: Open Door | Cupcake Cake | Neon Crickets
Least Favourite Track: Booty Down
Kenji Kobayashi Productions