There’s a very clear focus on misfit style culture, taking cues from hip-hop, funk, electronic, soul, and a few other places. So Alive is a mashup of genres and sounds that may leave the listener wondering, ‘who is this actually for?’
Whilst there’s a definite sound of traditional hip hop buried in here somewhere, along with some solid rap delivery, but this also has to be taken with a few odd choices as well.
Starting out with the background track, it’s a solid track that incorporates a lot of deep bass guitars strummed on open chords, solid and heavy drums, and percussion that includes chimes, bells and a few other unconventional instruments.
With some solid verses in the first half describing the realities of urban life and growing up within that environment, it does feel like there’s going to be a great string of lyrical triumphs coming the listeners way.
The second half of the song is where the track falls down hard, losing all momentum and dropping into a much more mediocre state. As the verses finish at the halfway mark of a nearly four-and-a-half minute song, the listener is left to wonder what awaits in the second half.
What does await is a general spiral and breakdown of the instrumentals that have been used throughout as part of the backing track, which is solid and interesting. What isn’t interesting is the same vocal samples being thrown at you every couple of seconds, like a child who’s just found the DJ button on a keyboard. The interesting instrumental second half is entirely overshadowed severely by the use of these samples for the entire remainder of the track.
What makes it even worse is that you’ve already heard these samples multiple times in the first half, but in a much more modest dosage. With one of them sounding auto-tuned and out of tune all at once, it just rubs salt in the wound.
So Alive is a tale of two songs, with one being a solid hip-hop track that means something, and the other sounding like an overzealous DJ mashing on buttons to make a song that just ends up far too annoying.