Album Review: Anime, Trauma and Divorce by Open Mike Eagle

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Michael W Eagle II, or more known by his stage name, Open Mike Eagle, is a rapper and comedian from Chicago. While born in Chicago, he is now based out of Los Angeles. He’s definitely more prominent in the underground scene, but he has gained a lot of popularity in more recent years, especially with some television show offers. His latest album, Anime, Trauma and Divorce marks his fifth studio album.

The first track from the album is Death Parade. The title of track is a bit surprising to open up the album, however, you are greeted with some reversed vocals and some lo-fi electronic notes. After a few seconds of the calm introduction, Open Mike Eagle finally comes in with this verse. This track talks a lot about trauma and the cycle of trauma. Since one person experiences it, it could have a snowball effect and drag other people into the situation.

Headass (Idiot Shinji) opens up with a more upbeat and exciting beat. It seems like you have an old track that has a chorus of people that backs the track. The track opens up with talking about being at a head*ss support group, and the term head*ss is defined as someone who is stupid. While the track continues off of the concept of head*ss, he talks about accepting the fact and joking around about being a head*ss. He also says his life was easier thereafter.

Sweatpants Spiderman is definitely one of the best tracks from the album. Despite the opening and talking about how he admires Kendrick Lamar and Jimi Hendrix, he’s trying to find a new life after his divorce. He is almost turning 40 years old, he recently got divorced, and he’s trying to live his life as a more underground rap artist. He’s trying to make improvements and compares himself to the character in Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.

After that, we get to Bucciarati, which is the longest track on the album. It’s not saying much since it’s just under four minutes in length. Besides the laid back vibe, and Open Mike Eagle almost sounding like Donald Glover at times, this dives deeper into the concept of trauma again. He talks about the trauma that he isn’t able to tackle and needs someone to help him. The chorus of the track focuses on ‘broken the zip again’, which could be a reference to zipping life back up together and being normal.

Despite the strange percussive introduction, Asa’s Bop opens up with a verse from Open Mike Eagle, and man does his flow works so well on this beat. What’s even more of a banger? His son. Not going to lie, the chorus where his son is just giving a short, ‘inaudible’ part, just adds so much to the track and gives it some energy. Wasn’t expecting his son to be on a track but I got to respect the experimentation and letting your child be on something that is yours.

The Edge of New Clothes opens up with an eerie synth note in the background. After that high note cuts out, Open Mike Eagle starts to rap, but you still have an eerie feeling in the background. The track just has an uneasy feeling to it in my opinion. While this doesn’t really have any yelling parts, he talks about needing to yell rap about something since he was stressed. However, as time progressed, the real truth comes out during the chorus and how he is watching everything burn to the ground.

Everything Ends Last Year is definitely more toned down in nature compared to the previous tracks. You just have an easy going beat in the background. However, you can definitely hear more of the emotion that is put into this track. This track really talks about how things and success can fade just in the blink of an eye. He had a show that just premiered, however it was scrapped, and his wife had just divorced him. He talks about how it’s only October and he’s just over all of the mess that has gone on during the year.

Besides the weird start to the track, The Black Mirror Episode is definitely a banger from the album. It was definitely just a culmination of some angry feelings toward this show, especially since the chorus says ‘the Black Mirror episode ruined my marriage’. He talks about how a certain episode with a couple just had a weird effect on their marriage. He also swears that this episode alone would raise the divorce rates.

Wtf is Self Care is one of the shortest episodes of the album, just clocking in over two minutes in length. This track is almost just a spoken word type track at moments. Besides the glitzy basic backing track, Open Mike Eagles decides to tackle the idea of self care. A lot of people hear the word self care, however, it doesn’t really have that much meaning to it when self care could mean anything to different people. He’s just trying to distract his mind for the time being, but it is a bit hard with the pandemic still in full force.

I’m a Joestar (Black Power Fantasy) is also another fun track from the album, especially with the retro-like video game sounds on this track. This track references the anime and manga series of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. While I haven’t personally watched or read it, I can tell this was a fun and interesting track for him to write. However, doing a little bit of deeper digging on Twitter, he talks about how this is a type of a prayer song for his neighborhood.

Airplane Boneyard opens up with a groovy and wavy like beat. We are also greeted with his vocals after the quick fifteen second introduction. He definitely seems more relaxed on this track with the almost R&B type vocals he delivers in the beginning and during the chorus. This track just seems like he’s at his lowest point after the divorce. He talks about how he used to be good with his ex-wife, but things just started to fall out of nowhere. He also talked about how he didn’t know why they were good before things went bad.

The last track from the album, Fifteen Twenty Feet Ocean Nah, is a fun bit and live piece from his son, also known as Little A$e. Also, one of his friends joined him, the Infamous T. It’s a bit funny and a fun track from them, especially since it seems like he’s just having some quality time with his son. He said that he made this with his son after they went snorkeling. I definitely think Mike definitely helped write some of the verses for his son, but it’s fun to see a little kid rapping like this.

Overall Rating: 7/10

Favorite Tracks: Death Parade, Headass (Idiot Shinji), Sweatpants Spiderman, Asa’s Bop, The Black Mirror Episode

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