Former soundcloud crate-digging gem, Dave B, releases his first commercial project, Punch Drunk. It shows a progression all of the previously displayed strengths of Dave B’s music, but doesn’t improve much on the weaknesses. This makes a decent showing for new listeners, but familiar ears may be disappointed in the lack of growth. Punch Drunk (apart from its successors) holds its own, though.
The standout feature of the album is consistency of effective, memorable, and melodious choruses throughout it. Where the verses are generally a blended cluster of words in an interesting cadence, the hooks are quotable word-for-word in a singalong quality. The album opens with a very bright, cheery, and upbeat “Outside” (arguably the best track). It has a two-part hook starting out with a punchy chant “Sho’ nuff!”
then switching to singing and harmonizing that’s very hard not to recite. A good chunk of the hooks follow a similar format. The only hook (more of a bridge) that could be passed on is in “Navy” which has dull wordplay, and a flimsy metaphor.
In fact, most of the lyrics here are something to glaze over. While it manages to avoid cringeworthy material, “Punch Drunk” gives no real story or insight. It’s hard to take away much, if anything, from the lyrics. Like in “Cheap Sofa”, initially he seems to be talking about drug dealing, but when he reverts to talking about women, then bragging about his rapping it really just turns into word gumbo.
Fortunately, there’s a few interesting and funny moments with Dave’s carefree and lustful personality. A crazy example is in “Rain” where he says, “her intentions so precious, she be like, ‘You wan’ f**?’ I’m like ‘Eh, why you even bother asking? I’m with that!’” Or in Polaroid where he concisely (relative to the rest of the album) praises a woman’s beauty: “The best bread is ready, we netflixin’ heavy, the double D’s is right, that Ed, Edd, and Eddy.”
Sonically, Dave’s delivery, melodies, and rhythms mesh well with the instrumentals. The beats all set a mood and usually have some cute sample and simple drums. Not much else to admire besides that though.
Overall, Punch Drunk is for anyone who wants to sing along to some catchy, moody tracks without really thinking about what they’re listening to. Because Punch Drunk really doesn’t challenge the listener in that way unless he/she is looking for something they won’t find. Musically, it’s incredibly listenable, and Dave’s flow is undeniable.
Favorites: “Outside” “Rain” “Polaroid”
Could be skipped for eternity, and I’d never look back or regret: “Navy”