George Clanton, the enigmatic icon of vaporwave, has finally made a triumphant return with his highly anticipated third studio album, ”Ooh Rap I Ya.” This marks his maiden solo endeavor since the groundbreaking release of Slide in 2018. The nine-track masterpiece resonates as a homecoming, an entrée into a psychedelic and transcendental realm meticulously curated. Clanton’s deft ability to amalgamate adult contemporary, dream pop, and vaporwave facets shows us a timeless yet pioneering record.
In ”Ooh Rap I Ya,” Clanton reaches the zenith of his creative prowess, unveiling his signature retro-futuristic soundscape with unreserved elegance. The album’s singles, including the introspective “I Been Young” and the mesmerizing finale “For You, I Will,” featuring Hatchie, serve as poetic expressions of existential ambiguity, introspection, and the essence of love.
Through otherworldly sonic landscapes, Clanton weaves a tapestry of universal human experience, delving into the tribulations of life’s choices and the yearning for a new beginning.
The album’s unveiling arrives after a five-year interlude following Slide, during which Clanton’s eminence has soared, earning him the prized Frank Ocean Blonded Radio co-sign and headlining sold-out vaporwave music festivals. ‘Ooh Rap I Ya’ is an organic extension of his artistic journey, never disconnecting from his creative essence during his dormant phase.
While the album delivers moments of brilliance, it wrestles with a coherent direction, with certain tracks striving to showcase Clanton’s persona through a charged-up Y2K pop vibe. In contrast, others accentuate his psychedelic soundscaping artistry. The latter half of the album ventures into instrumental and triphop-influenced compositions, though some tracks linger without a notable evolution.
“Ooh Rap I Ya” Cover Art Review
The cover art for “Ooh Rap I Ya” by George Clanton, thoughtfully crafted by Extra Vitamins, showcases an enthralling visual manifestation of the album’s essence. It presents a vivid and surreal panorama, blending ethereal hues and abstract configurations.
The central figure, seemingly suspended in a transcendent state, embodies the psychedelic nature of the album. The artwork captures the otherworldly and introspective themes explored within Clanton’s musical odyssey, inviting listeners to embark on a mesmerizing sojourn through his sonic universe.
“Ooh Rap I Ya” Track by Track Analysis
1. Everything I Want: The album begins with “Everything I Want,” a luxuriant and balmy composition that establishes the mood for the voyage. Clanton’s dreamlike vocals intertwine harmoniously with swirling synths and atmospheric nuances, evoking a profound sense of yearning and wistfulness. The song exudes a hazy reminiscence, pulling the audience into the inner sanctum of the album’s introspective realms.
2. Justify Your Life: “Justify Your Life” delves into an anthemic and pop-infused soundscape. The infectious chorus and trip-hop cadence meld seamlessly with chillwave aesthetics, bestowing a distinct and unparalleled auditory experience. Clanton’s contemplative verses explore themes of self-realization and the pursuit of fresh beginnings.
3. Punching Down: The album takes a delightful detour, exploring a more ironic and playful facet with “Punching Down.” Musically opulent and texturally intricate, the song maintains its psychedelic essence while embracing a touch of self-parody. The juxtaposition of emotional depth and playfulness renders this track truly distinctive.
4. I Been Young: Among the standout compositions, “I Been Young” showcases Clanton’s expertise in fusing baggy percussions with his signature chillwave sound. The anthemic piano chords and infectious chorus evoke an irresistible nostalgia and youthful zest.
5. You Hold the Key and I Found It: This instrumental interlude ventures into a trip-hop-inspired sound realm. The cyclic drum breaks and syrupy synths weave a hypnotic tapestry, guiding listeners through a contemplative expedition. Though less accessible than other tracks, it adds commendable diversity and depth to the album’s repertoire.
6. Vapor King / SubReal: Serving as a centerpiece, this track seamlessly amalgamates the pop-infused elements of the first half with the more introspective second half. Fusing baggy and chillwave elements results in a captivating and mind-altering auditory voyage.
7. F.U.M.L. (feat. Neggy Gemmy): “F.U.M.L.” features Neggy Gemmy’s ethereal and impassioned vocals, lending a celestial dimension to the album. The song retains its hypnotic allure while incorporating more rhythmic elements, creating a spellbinding sonic dance.
8. Ooh Rap I Ya: The eponymous title track epitomizes Clanton’s visionary and eclectic approach. It skillfully melds elements from diverse genres, yielding a timeless and contemporary sound. The enigmatic lyrics add to the surreal and transcendental ambiance of the composition.
9. For You, I Will (feat. Hatchie): The album culminates with the hypnotic and Hatchie-assisted “For You, I Will.” The collaboration elevates the track to celestial heights, showcasing Clanton’s ability to convey universal human experiences through his musical language. The closing track leaves the audience with a profound fulfillment and anticipation for more musical marvels.
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“Ooh Rap I Ya” Album Overview
When Clanton hits the mark, the results are nectar-sweet. Tracks like “Justify Your Life” evoke a vintage downbeat haze, while “I Been Young” combines slamming Breakfast Club piano chords with a sentimental slow-rider vibe. However, the album sometimes delves into self-parodying dilemmas, where the sincerity of the lyrics clashes with synthpop’s genuine nature and vaporwave’s irony.
”Ooh Rap I Ya” undoubtedly carries the essence of vaporwave, but Clanton’s music is more than just slowed down 80s muzak. He skillfully uses vaporwave as an “aesthetic wrapper” rather than adhering strictly to its tempo and instrumentation rules. His music invokes atmospheric nostalgia as an homage to the past while rooted in today’s zeitgeist.
The enigmatic amalgamation of 80s poptimism and 2010s hauntology within the album engenders an unparalleled allure that profoundly resonates with the young and older generations. Clanton’s sonic palette deftly weaves a tapestry of sanguine vibes, rendering it profoundly relatable for the younger cohort.
Meanwhile, the more experienced auditors find solace in its evocative throwback ambiance, an homage that ingeniously eschews mere imitation.
”Ooh Rap I Ya” unfurls as an enthralling journey through nostalgia and optimism, showcasing George Clanton’s artistry in crafting an ever-evolving soundscape that seamlessly bridges the gaps between generations. Though not devoid of imperfections, its genuineness and allure render it a meritorious addition to Clanton’s illustrious discography.
As listeners immerse themselves in this timeless symphony, they find themselves inexorably carried away by a whirlwind of emotions, memories, and aspirations it conjures.
George Clanton’s ”Ooh Rap I Ya” is an indelible testimony to the potent force of music in intertwining listeners with their past while igniting a flame of hope for the future.
|Type||Album (“Ooh Rap I Ya”)|
|Released||28 July, 2023|
Neo-Psychedelia, Alternative Dance, Chillwave, Dream Pop, Hypnagogic Pop, Baggy, Vapor, BaggyTrip Hop,
|1||Everything I Want||George Clanton||2:51|
|2||Justify Your Life||George Clanton||3:25|
|3||Punching Down||George Clanton||3:27|
|4||I Been Young||George Clanton||4:59|
|5||You Hold the Key and I Found It||George Clanton||4:55|
|6||Vapor King / SubReal||George Clanton||3:00|
|7||F.U.M.L.||George Clanton feat. Neggy Gemmy.||3:46|
|8||Ooh Rap I Ya||George Clanton||3:52|
|9||For You, I Will||George Clanton feat. Hatchie.||5:24|
Album Production Credits
- George Clanton
performer, writer, producer, recording engineer, mixing engineer
- Howie Weinberg
- Extra Vitamins
cover art, layout
- Neggy Gemmy
featured, vocals, writer, additional producer, guitar
- Stimulator Jones
- Gota Yashiki
- Shuvajit Sengupta