It seems as if the prime song for reviewing off of any album would be song #1. A band usually places it there for a reason; it’s the strongest track or a good initial hook. I however, am not falling into that trap and insist on going with three that stand out sort of randomly. This brings us to track #5, “Waterworld”, an odd choice maybe but I get to pick here.
“Waterworld” comes at vaguely the midpoint of a string of six slower numbers that come immediately after the upbeat opener “Rock N’ Roll (Could Never Hip Hop Like This)”. Such a succession of slow numbers can really bring an album’s momentum to a grinding halt though, so it behooves one to try and maintain energy somehow. This is no mean feat without upping the tempo, that being the easiest and most obvious method of creating excitement. The song’s tempo and overall feel instrumentally are pretty laid back but it’s in the vocals that the song retains its energy. They maintain a sort of slow burn anger while not having to be too speedy.
This song is also one of the more modern-feeling tracks on the record but it still retains a bit of old-style as well. In fact at times, one can hear echoes of the old De La Soul track “Ghetto Thang”, especially in the pauses during the chorus.
The more modern bits seem to be from the rapping style with its lines that overlap the bars of the song and suddenly shift in and out of double time. There are also plenty of aquatic-themed references to back up the water theme here: waves, tsunami, aquarius, the Great Lakes and Chinese Water Torture to name a few.
This last reference brings me to my first of two gripes however. I always admire people doing innovative things in the studio. In that spirit, “Waterworld” has water sloshing around as a part of the rhythm track. This reminds me of Klark Kent using a typewriter for the same purpose back in the early 80s. However, it sounds just a bit too close to someone chewing with their mouth open. This sounds really anal but that happens to be one of my all-time pet peeves. I just can’t get fully past it for some reason.
Gripe number two is relatively minor. They are using the exact same sample as the Beastie Boys did on Paul’s Boutique in “B-Boy Bouillabaisse”. What makes it worse is that it’s utilized for pretty much the identical purpose, namely as a transition piece between verses. Minor quibbles, yes, but I have to put my years of wasting time digesting music to use somehow.
Listen at about 1:30 here…
About 2:32 here
All in all, it’s a pretty enjoyable track, the negatives notwithstanding and it does bridge what would otherwise be a real lull in the album’s momentum.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5