Talen - Stopped Smiling ft. John Morrison | Track Review | By Volume

The kid that went down isn't dead; he just can't find his phone. The Hold Steady - Almost Everything
Talen Stop Smiling

Talen

Stopped Smiling ft. John Morrison

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Author: on January 9, 2014

Stopped smiling cause there ain’t shit funny”, he emphatically declares. Like describing one’s cynicism in hindsight to just anger yourself more, John Morrison can’t help but get a little worked up. “I want my forty acres and a mule / but right now I’d probably settle for a Wal-Mart gift card”, he echoes, with a venomous poignancy. He isn’t particularly pleased with hip-hop, or really consumerism on a whole. Can you really blame him, though? Even as his “clothes are bummy” and his “cupboards crumby” the man still strives to get it. His dreams, his livelihood, and his well-being – all goals steadily drifting past the plausible into the horizon for many, but the Philly emcee is determine to take these things back.

Maybe I don’t need them”, he exclaims in response to his declaration of boring clothes and shitty digs, all that matters is his flow. Which is adept at the very least, painting pictures of acid rain, resurrection and forced devolution into self-hate. It is easy to see why Talen, a team of producers an ocean away, would seek out Morrison. He adds life to “Stopped Smiling”, juxtaposing organic energy with the beat’s intrinsically robotic groundwork. The combination works quite well considering that the song lives-or-dies on the whims of Morrison.

Not to sell short Talen’s beat, which is at-first almost tempered, then expands from a ridged, cold bang, into a woozy, trance-inducing mix of spinning synths and electronic strings. It’s mechanical but the Swiss production team are able to instill a warmth to the tune while Morrison injects some straight adrenaline the moment he bashes in. While not perfect and a bit of a laissez-faire battle cry, “Stopped Smiling” has just enough of that oomph to keep you coming back again and again.

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