Review: Marquis Hill – Love Tape
National Music Reviews
Marquis Hill = The Internet + Flying Lotus
Now releasing his eighth studio album, Marquis Hill has brought a collection of buttery smooth tracks that continue to raise the bar of his current catalog. Love Tape feels like more than just an addition to his catalog. It’s also as a love letter to Marquis’s inspirations and fans, even with the opener, “Roy’s Intro,” a track featuring a spoken word intro detailing playing for God and how that drives the creative process. This shout-out is quite appropriate as the smooth beat and instrumental flow that follows can only be described as heavenly. The smooth keys played on the piano give the opening track a welcoming lounge feeling.
Love Tape really opens up with the following track, “Beautiful Us,” a composition with warm trumpets, a funky beat and a soothing vocal loop that all comes together for a track that touches on the authenticity of falling in love, with a vocal sample questioning just that. The third song, “Wont You Celebrate With Me,” is a soft drum beat accompanied by a busy fluttering of wind instruments that leaves the track almost dream-like in its delivery. Though it is busy, you still get the subtle bass notes in the background before the vocal sample and trumpet solo kick in around midway through the track.
What I love about this album is its use of vocal samples that really allow the listener to enjoy the song’s tone and meaning while getting the message summarized in just a short clip. The interlude follows and comes by like a dream harmonizing over minimalistic instrumentals. “To You I Promise” is what follows and this may be the top song on the album with a more hip-hop/pop sounding beat and an infectious flute melody. The track has a beautiful message of self-love with a vocal clip breaking down how a person should look at their own self. Toward the end of the song, it transitions into a beautiful backing to the narration.
“I Believe in Love” uses more upbeat instruments to highlight the similarities between love and passion through energy. Love Tape slows down a bit with its second interlude, “Confessions of the Heart,” a much more peaceful instrumental with a somewhat haunting vocal harmony. The interlude quickly becomes “A New Life,” a track introduced through its more hip-hop sounding percussion before being swallowed by flowing woodwinds that cascade over the track, followed with some smooth and hot sax. Lastly, we come to “Wednesday Love,” the most pop-sounding of the tracks that to merely describe it would not do it justice—it’s just something you need to hear for yourself.
Love Tape is just that: a love tape to the listener, to god and to yourself. Not from Hill to you, but to you from yourself. This album brings a message of self-love and discovery that is embodied by the tone, beats and through carefully placed vocals that, overall, create a beautiful experience. Love Tape is a must-listen. –Connor Brady