Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty and his long-time collaborator Ryan Lewis released their sophomore studio album on Friday, This Unruly Mess I've Made, which follows the recording duo's debut LP, 2012's The Heist. In the hours after its release, the long-awaited LP pulled in mixed reviews — some of which were none too complimentary of the Seattle-based band's latest.
"1.5 years went into this project," wrote Haggerty in a statement on Friday. "So many ups and downs. Breakthroughs and obstacles. Conversations, debates, questions. At times I thought it would never see the light of day. But it's here."
The reviews are in: Early ratings from Metacritic suggest the LP's reception may not be wholly positive. The record scores a 61 our of a possible 100, though Metacritic's user score rates the album slightly higher, at a 6.7 out of 10. Meanwhile, Pitchfork awarded the record a sub-par 5.1 out of ten rating.
"Like Macklemore, This Unruly Mess I've Made is nowhere near as bad as its detractors would like it to be," wrote Pitchfork's Jeremy Gordon. "It's an occasionally inspiring, often corny rap album made for winning Grammy nominations and waking the hearts of the unwoken. The sum of this is sometimes appealing, though frustrating, if only because you'd like to imagine a world where Macklemore was not counted on to inject a dose of political consciousness into our daily proceedings."
The Guardian's Rachel Aroesti admits that the album is catchy, but not in a welcomed way — "writhing earworms" is how she'd describe the collection of tracks.
Hate him or love him, the chorus Haggerty's really singing with This Unruly Mess I've Made is a long chase with authenticity. After releasing the single "White Privlidge II," which is the album's closing track, some accused the artists of using complex race relations to fuel their fame. Others, however, commended the group for sparking a dialogue.
Yet despite all the chatter, Macklemore doesn't seem to care if you — or critics — doubt him.
"I just want to say thank you," Haggerty wrote in his statement on Friday. "To the fans that have ridden with us. Through everything. From an underground rap group, to pop stars to... Whatever we are now."
They'll always try to put boxes around art. Label. Good/bad. Compare/contrast. Make sense of it through their lens. But at the end of the day, I just care about the people. The ones that got us this far. I hope you resonate with it. That something grabs you. Makes you think. Question... That's what music is for. I'm truly proud of what we made.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are hitting the road for an exhaustive overseas tour, which begins with a March 8 show in Luxemburg. The band will continue with shows in numerous European countries — Germany, Poland, France, Italy and Spain to name a few — before returning to the states to perform at Bonnaroo Music Festival in June. Here's a full list of tour dates and concert ticket purchase options.
This Unruly Mess I've Made track list:
1. "Light Tunnels" (feat. Mike Slap)
2. "Downtown" (feat. Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee & Eric Nally)
3. "Brad Pitt's Cousin" (feat. XP)
4. "Buckshot" (feat. KRS-One & DJ Premier)
5. "Growing Up" (feat. Ed Sheeran)
6. "Kevin" (feat. Leon Bridges)
7. "St. Ides"
8. "Need to Know" (feat. Chance the Rapper)
9. "Dance Off" (feat. Idris Elba & Anderson .Paak)
10. "Let's Eat" (feat. XP)
11. "Bolo Tie" (feat. YG)
12. "The Train" (feat. Carla Morrison)
13. "White Privilege II" (feat. Jamila Woods)