Does Elongated Producing Ruin Creativity? ‘There’s Really a Wolf’ Review

There's Really A Wolf by Russ - The Lunch Table

On May 5th, Russ released his debut album There’s Really a Wolf. As I sat at Starbucks studying for finals, I decided to give the record a try. I live-tweeted my thoughts, and received some heartbroken feedback from a friend of mine who is a diehard Russ fan because I hated the album.

Story | Sara Loretta

Image | Columbia Records

I really tried getting into this album but each track seemed to battle the next – as if the whole meaning of the album was Russ showing his fans one persona, but really wanting to be someone else.

So after only making it through half the album, I thought back to what my friend had said, that Russ spent 3 years producing this record. THREE. I know of maybe a handful of artists who have spent that long on a project, like Dr. Dre’s Detox, which ended up never being released because of his rumored perfectionism; and so it got me thinking, does overproducing ruin an artist’s creativity?

I think the best music comes from artists who are able to pour their heart onto a track without forcing hooks or choruses. I do believe that artists like Logic, who produces concept albums and needs time to develop his story, is allowed time. However, Everybody was written and painted over roughly a year and is absolutely incredible. The same with Kehlani, her album SweetSexySavage was completed in less than 8 months after her attempted suicide and she has claimed an outrageous amount of fame because of it.

Similarly, if an artist releases one album every year or multiple in the same year (*ahem Future), does that show that they are too much in a rush to give everything to their fans, or is it more simple? Perhaps they just aren’t conscious artists, so their content isn’t deep?

I don’t believe There’s Really a Wolf tells a story, nor is the record fluid from one track to the next. His music struggles to paint a holistic picture and 21 tracks of content doesn’t help either. I will say that there were a few tracks I enjoyed like, ‘The Stakeout’ and ‘Pull the Trigger.’ Russ is actually a pretty good rapper as he did on those two tracks, but he is also good at R&B. Perhaps that was the whole point of this album; to see the struggle in his artistry.

The next time an artist you listen to releases an album, listen to the album with full un-bias to their previous work. See if you can hear their soul and passion across each track – this goes for any genre or subgenre (with the exception of Mike Will Made It, he’s just crap). If you can, then you know they didn’t struggle once they got into the studio, even if the album is experimental and off their normal path, see if you can hear the music from the artist’s mind and not from their No. 1 hit record.

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