There’s a long list of acts that made anthems for getting sh*tfaced in the club this year. These are the architects of the “turn-up” for the youth, if you will: Rich Gang, Migos, DJ Mustard, Rae Sremmurd. Valiant efforts, fellas, and don’t think you have gone unnoticed by the Crew—several of your releases have made this very year-end series. However, we have to bestow the honor of “2014’s best album to get drunk to” to… PARTYNEXTDOOR Two.
Well then, the young men and women of America might huffily mutter to themselves, That’s quite the pick. What gives? He ain’t even GOT the Migos flow.
Surely PND doesn’t. What the mysterious Mississauga, Ont., OVO member does have is a vastly improved addition to his quickly expanding oeuvre following his debut 2013 mixtape, and the perfect distillation of the woozy, anthemic trap&b sound that Drake spearheaded with last year’s Nothing Was The Same. Make no mistake, though: Two isn’t just a bunch of rough facsimiles of “Just Hold On We’re Going Home” or “Wu-Tang Forever.” As Samir wrote in his review, Drake’s influence is palpable on the album but never overwhelming. This bodes well for the future.
Keeping Drizzy’s involvement in mind, then, PND Two‘s impact as a great “drunk” album doesn’t mean it’s necessarily something you’ll find heard played in the club*. No, Two‘s the album to play when it’s time to retreat from the party, hopefully with dignity intact, watching the world go by with inebriated eyes.
The songs strike the perfect balance between poppy and swampy; dark and sunny; and fast and slow. The album’s best moments are oftentimes surprises, whether it’s the magnificent beat drop on “SLS” or the heights the chorus of “FWU” climbs. And PND’s voice warbles lines like “And I promise to hit it more than once per day” and “I wanna fuck you girl, let me roll with you” with the swagger that’d make any drunk smitten. All of this leads to something that listeners will enjoy when they’re hammered. Enough moods flash through the LP’s 12 songs to make up for needing to make three different regrettable phone calls, all with different prerogatives, that listeners will surely forget the next day.
PARTYNEXTDOOR Two wasn’t the best album of the year, but it was superlative in the moment music’s needed most: after the party, when the feeling of youth’s indestructibility hits us all.
* — Granted, depending on the venue and audience, “East Liberty” or “Sex On The Beach” could keep the party wet.