Nearly four years after the release of the Chicago emcee's critically acclaimed masterpiece, CARE FOR ME, we get his long anticipated third studio album, Few Good Things. Since discovering CARE FOR ME I have been a huge Saba fan, checking out every great single he dropped like Mrs. Whoever, and Areyoudown Pt. 2 and waiting for his next full length LP. My favorite part of Saba's music is his ability to tell detailed stories, and though I do expect some artistic growth from the underrated spitters, I hope he doesn't deviate too far from his dark, introspective sound.
The album kicks off with the majestic Free Samples, which features a tranquil instrumental and an inebriating chorus from Cheflee. Saba brings a good energy to his verses and sets the tone for the rest of the record. One Way or Every N***a With A Budget has a vibey and rhythmic instrumental that gives way to a nonchalant chorus from Saba that could easily get stuck in your head. His reluctant delivery mixed with his fast flows is interesting but ties the song together in a fun and pleasing sense. The following Survivor's Guilt is an emphatic change of pace where Saba is recounting his successes, and everything he lost to get there, over a ridiculously hard beat. Saba comes through with one of his most intense flows ever, and a surprising G Herbo's verse adds another layer of intensity and depth to this banger. On an Interlude Called "Circus" we get another stark contrast in sounds, where Saba returns to the tranquil environment he created on the first two tracks. It's a fun and lighthearted interlude track with fast flows but a more relaxed delivery.
Fearmonger is a vibrant, catchy track, with an uplifting instrumental that you just can't help nodding your head to. Saba uses some fun and eccentric vocal inflections in his first verse and chorus, and his airtight flows are more noticeable than ever on this track. Come My Way has another tranquil and uplifting instrumental with some nice strings. Saba has a dominating presence on this track with a proud delivery and an infectious chorus. Saba and Krayzie Bone of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony both exhibit their ability to flow fast on this song. The following Still plays into the woozy and laidback sound of the album, but maybe a bit to much causing the song to fade into familiarity. This causes Still to be one of the more boring tracks, despite great verses from Saba and Smino.
a Simple Time is similar to Still in the sense that the instrumental yet again sounds like one we have heard before, causing an immediate lack of interest. The chorus on this track helps it stand out more with obnoxious chorus; and in the time between those choruses nothing particularly interesting occurs. Soldier is a return to the fun and vibrant atmosphere of the album, with a faster tempo on the naturalistic sound. The chorus is intoxicating and all the Pivot Gang members show out for fun and exciting verses. On If I Had A Dollar Saba brings a type of sporadic energy to his verse that brings a pulse of energy to his life. It was interesting to here him experiment with his voice, which didn't sound as great as he normally does but it was still good. In a surprising turn of events we see Saba hop on a trap-styled beat, and the results are amazing. His flow is dangerous and though his chorus is repetitious, it's very catchy. He also brings a surprising amount of depth to the track considering it is one of the hardest song he has ever made.
Make Believe is a slowed down track where Saba is rapping with a demeanor and flow reminiscent of some of his tracks on CARE FOR ME, but is lacking the same charm and can come off a bit dull. Now on 2012, we get that classic Saba storytelling we have all been clamoring for. He starts off the track rapping about a friend he had at college, who he kicked it with often. He thought of her more than a friend, detailing common interests they had and the care he had for her, and her feelings not being mutual. His imagery is so crystal clear that anyone could relate to at least some part of his story. This allows for 2012 to be Saba's best storytelling cut on the album, as well as my favorite. Few Good Things transitions swiftly from 2012, with Saba laying down some passionate lines on this powerful closer to the album. Black Thought comes through with a well-written verse as expected, which only increases the impact of this outro. Few Good Things raps up the album perfectly with some of the best lyrics on the album.
Similar to CARE FOR ME, Few Good Things is sonically consistent, with a tranquil, rhythmic and soulful undertone to nearly every song. Rapping-wise Saba's best quality on this album is his infectious flow. It's unfortunate to see his lyricism to see a step back but his ability to prove he has some of the best flows in the game makes up for it. With that being said there is a bit too much singing for my liking, especially when some of the choruses aren't hitting home. It's nice to see Saba reflecting in a more relaxed and tranquil way, where he isn't as much grieving as he is accepting, and the sound of the record is that of him finding solace. Few Good Things is certainly no CARE FOR ME, but it is great in its own right.