Anderson .Paak’s new album, Ventura, once again proves his control of rhythmic soul and heartfelt, provocative lyrics. The album provides a welcome return to .Paak’s classic, smooth, and bubbly style which he drastically veered away from in his previous album, Oxnard. With a full funk and R&B inspired sound, nodding to what .Paak describes as “the golden age of rhythmic soul,” the album is a soulful and intimate reflection on past relationships and people who have touched his life. Strong themes of love, loss and relationship struggles are present throughout the album.
.Paak burst onto the music scene in 2012 with his debut album O.B.E. Vol 1, released under the pseudonym Breezy Lovejoy, and has released four widely acclaimed albums over the past five years. In his 2018 album Oxnard, .Paak rejected the laid-back, groovy style he had become known for in favor of hard-edged rap and a more confrontational and aggressive album. With Ventura, .Paak returns to vocals featuring his raspy and passionate singing voice and the classic style that gained him his initial recognition and praise.
Ventura is composed of 11 tracks featuring various artists including André 3000, Nate Dogg and Smokey Robinson.
The first track, “Come Home” begins with a chorus of melodic “oohs.” .Paak then mournfully croons about the loss of a former partner, begging them to return to him and make things right. An arrangement of horns accentuate his sorrow throughout the chorus and André 3000 drops in for a verse, making the song a strong opener for the album.
.Paak returns to vocals featuring his raspy and passionate singing voice and the classic style that gained him his initial recognition and praise.
“Good Heels” tells the story of a man and a woman wrapped up in an affair, the two different perspectives voiced by .Paak and singer Jazmine Sullivan. Sullivan’s character has left her things at .Paak’s character’s place and the song chronicles her attempt to sneak in to the apartment without his girlfriend seeing.
Towards the end of the album comes “Yada Yada,” a song that is thematically very different from the rest of the album. Singing about navigating the music industry and fame, .Paak expresses his gratitude for his success and ability to retain creative freedom while making music. The song and the story it tells are upbeat and refreshing.
“King James” celebrates the resistance of the Black community in the face of adversity, especially in the context of America’s current political climate. The song includes direct references to the Trump administration, saying, “If they build a wall, lets jump the fence I’m over this,” and the effect it has on the daily lives of people of color. The song is also a call to action, a reminder to continue to persevere through fear and harsh conditions.
Ventura is provocative, uplifting, inspired, and amusing. Every song tells a story and every lyric is deliberate and impactful.