Floco Torres’ “Floco’s Modern Life”

“So no, not perfect, but far more than existing. I’m definitely impressed.” -SB

Guest Writer

out of 10

Floco Torres
Floco's Modern Life
February 28, 2011

I will never be the badass that I wish I was when I have N.E.R.D. blasting in my headphones. I am, admittedly, pretty vanilla sometimes. Still, nothing pumps me up like a good hip-hop album—especially a hip-hop/rock album. Now, I don’t know the ins and outs of hip-hop, and I wasn’t raised on it. But, I can tell you that Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album is what made me fall in love with Jay-Z, and that I like it better than The Black Album, that I know all the words to Black on Both Sides and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and M.I.A. has the most plays in my iTunes.

So, I took on Floco’s Modern Life with relish, (and yes, partially because I was a kid in the ’90s and loved “Rocko’s Modern Life.”) Filled with hooks that are stuck in my head, collaborations that are surprising with their brilliance, and words spit out with such speed and consistency that I wonder when this guy breathes, Floco’s Modern Life is clearly an album meticulously constructed by an artist who doesn’t merely care about his craft, but breathes himself into each song.

Of course there are places the album doesn’t work perfectly. “Release” could have benefited from better production, (so I could actually hear the chorus sung, and not melted into and hidden under the too high levels of guitar and bass.)

And the guitar solo on “Superior” is weak. I wanted more Tony Iommi or Jimmy page, and less of my brother’s best friend’s band. I wanted a raging solo where I could hear every single string, one that would scream the latter half of the chorus “I’ll never die/ I’ma rock forever.” It has a raw feeling that I appreciate, but it feels too warbled and blurry to pack the punch that would have sent it over the edge.

Still, I am repeatedly struck by other parts of the album. The collaboration with Tommy Superior is fantastic (and I completely recommend checking him out, too.) Superior’s voice weaves into “Peace” in a rich, hypnotic way. It charmed and pleased me in a way that isn’t dissimilar to how I felt hearing Bon Iver and Kanye West work together.
And “Message” to finish up the album? So great—an excellent inter-weaving of talented rapping, clever rhyme schemes, fantastic sampling, and exactly what you want when you hear the words “rapper with a band.”

And that quote applies to the whole album.

I can only imagine what Torres could accomplish in a world where an artist has access to unlimited resources and crystal clear production value. But, I might not like him as much then. A lot of what makes the album is the imperfections, and the fact that Torres hasn’t been auto-tuned or over processed. It’s a smart, interesting, and an enjoyable body of work. To quote Torres, “there’s a big difference between existing and impressing.”

So no, not perfect, but far more than existing. I’m definitely impressed. I’d recommend this album for anyone who’s craving some good, local hip-hop/rock, and who already finds themselves fans of the genre. It’s definitely got me hooked, and I certainly plan to catch Torres when he hits Savannah for the Savannah Urban Arts Festival in April 2011.
(Did I mention that I don’t think I heard a single ‘ho’ on the entire album?)

-Sarah Bates, March 9, 2011