Having spent a week with the new Murs album, Murs for President, I still haven’t formed a solid opinion on it. I do know that it’s no Murray’s Revenge (such a snob thing to say, I know).
Warner Bros. certainly opened up the purse strings on the promotional/production budget for this album, Murs’ major-label debut. Because Murs has embodied the underground everyman — God’s Work sums it up — it’s hard to reconcile a couple of the guest spots on President: will.i.am and Snoop Dogg. (I won’t even mention sampling James Blunt on Everything.) I know, the underground vs. mainstream argument is tired, but the very inclusion of at least will.i.am might turn off the most stubborn indie heads; after all, it’s hard to forgive the direction to which he helped lead Black Eyed Peas. (Sidenote: Not included on the album was the supposed first single, Dreadlocks, that was not well received.)
If that sounds like I don’t like President, that’s not really true. I do like it. I don’t love it. Not like I love Murray’s Revenge. Tracks like Can It Be (video below), though, keep me coming back, for the blue-collar style that always defined Murs: “I could have done a Nas and screamed hip-hop is dead / I got up off my ass and did something instead.”