Published Apr 21, 2015From the alien invasion-themed opening skit to the down-to-earth, fiddle-sampling closer, Yelawolf takes listeners on a wide-ranging odyssey with his new album. Titled Love Story, these exhaustive (and exhausting) 18 tracks give Yelawolf plenty of time to show off his impressive vocal versatility. He adopts a punchy, Zack de la Rocha-style delivery for opener "Outer Space" and does his best Slim Shady impersonation on "Best Friend" before being out-Eminemed by Marshall Mathers himself. It's the only featured verse on the entire album, which is refreshing in this era of guest turn saturation.
Indeed, the album's most interesting moments come when Yela not only bears all the weight as a rapper but also as a southern-fried crooner. Of course, interesting doesn't always mean good, and these forays have mixed results. His vocals on "American You," for example, are less Outlaw Country than they are suited for a duet with Sheryl Crow. That schmaltzy, adult contemporary vibe chafes with the song's refrain, for which Yela sings "Fuck you too" over and over. He has more success on "Have a Great Flight," singing in a sparse hush over bass and drums that chug along like a vintage Johnny Cash hit.
On this overlong but laudably ambitious album, Yelawolf shows that he's willing to try anything. On the follow-up, hopefully he'll show us that he knows what works. (Shady/Interscope)