Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (Cover Artwork)


Atmosphere: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit GoldWhen Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold (2008)

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: swankswank
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The one-two punch of Atmosphere's much-hyped Epitaph debut, Seven's Travels, and its superior followup, You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (which was free of the stylized "E" on the back cover), kept Sean Daley (Slug) and Anthony Davis (Ant) busy through most of the mid-2000s. The resulting.
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The one-two punch of Atmosphere's much-hyped Epitaph debut, Seven's Travels, and its superior followup, You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (which was free of the stylized "E" on the back cover), kept Sean Daley (Slug) and Anthony Davis (Ant) busy through most of the mid-2000s. The resulting tour for You Can't Imagine was their first with a live band, as well as tour-shy producer Ant's first venture as the band's live DJ. But following that, the Minnesota duo appeared to be keeping a low profile. Not much was heard from the group for most of 2006 and into 2007. It could be seen, in retrospect, as the calm before the storm.

In the spring of 2007, the band dropped "Sunshine," a sugary good-time jam, celebrating life's simpler pleasures. Featured on the silence-breaking Sad Clown Bad Summer EP, it was the start of arguably the second-most prolific 2007/2008 year-and-a-half span in hip-hop¹, spawning four EPs, a weekly Internet show, two full studio albums and a live DVD. But it was all leading up to the release of the group's sixth full length, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.

Lyrically, the major difference between this and other Atmosphere output is Slug taking the focus off himself. Whereas previous releases dealt with personal issues such as alcoholism and failed relationships (provoking many unimaginative music journalists to tag the group as "emo rap"), Lemons shies away from these themes, and generally tells stories from either an outsider's perspective, or from the point of view of a character. This lyrical approach, as well as the themes visited, are far more similar to a genre like blues than anything you'd hear in a hip-hop album which debuted on the Billboard top 10.

"The Skinny" is harshly delivered cigarettes-as-pimp allegory (in similar fashion to Nas's "I Gave You Power" or 50 Cent's "Baltimore Love Thing") with an electro feel. "The Dreamer" successfully juxtaposes dance-funk with the heartbreaking tale of a single mother. Another standout is "The Waitress," featuring beat-boxing from a surprisingly low-in-the-mix Tom Waits. Lyrics are told from the perspective of a homeless man with nothing left to live for except for the reluctant attention given to him by a waitress at a local diner. The newest trick in Slug's storytelling arsenal seems to be painting a vivid story that gets turned on its ear in the very last line of the song. Nowhere is this more evident and more effective than in one of the few auto-bio tracks, the phenomenal "Yesterday."²

Musically, the album is more diverse than anything seen from Atmosphere before. Ant brings a wide variety of styles to the album, from dense synth ("Shoulda Known") to sparse single guitar ("Guarantees"). The inclusion of live instrumentation -- everything from flute to lap steel to trumpet -- is also an added plus.

While the album is sadly devoid of any real bangers like "Watch Out" or "The Arrival" from their previous effort, this is the sound of a group expanding beyond hip-hop while challenging borders some fans of the genre would see fit to put up to pigeonhole it into. More art than entertainment, it's more likely to evoke melancholy than excitement, but it's more than worth the listen to see where hip-hop can be taken in the right hands.

¹ - First of course being the 'org-reviewed Lil Wayne, and his innumerable "Carter 3"-era mixtape releases.
² - Which also contains a nod to fans of either Gladys Knight and the Pips and/or the Eels' song "Susan's House"


People who liked this also liked:
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!Alkaline Trio - This AddictionA Wilhelm Scream - RuinerDear Landlord - Dream HomesBomb the Music Industry! - ScramblesTeenage Bottlerocket - They Came from the ShadowsDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeThe Lawrence Arms - Buttsweat and Tears [7 inch]

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
scruff207 (June 29, 2010)

This albulm still has the raw gritty feel of atmosphere's other albulms, but puts them in a story form. There is a song on here that everyone will enjoy

treos (March 30, 2009)

prefer his old flow..

xshoutoutx (March 30, 2009)

This record was pure banal shit.

... I'll stick to Lucy Ford

sundowning10 (March 29, 2009)

Solid release, I liked it a lot, although I still believe Giod Loves Ugly was their best, this was good. I wish they would kinda go bakc to that style, a lot of their songs were almost poppy, but enjoyable nonetheless.

tenwestchaser (March 29, 2009)

"before you fucks gave a fuck about them"

Wow, why all the hostility? Are you still in high school and upset that one of your favorite bands "sold out" and all us "posers" are into them? Sorry to break it to you, pal (or gal?) but sometimes good bands get a growing audience. Sometimes that involves touring. One more thing...are kids who are into punk and hardcore not allowed to listen to hip hop or something?


xchemicalx (March 29, 2009)

this album was worse than YCIHMFWH which was worse than 7's travels which was worse than all the shit they put out before they were on Eitaph and Warped Tour (i.e. before you fucks gave a fuck about them). And their tour with a live band was horrible. Almost as bad as their "release tour" for this album. I hope they stop soon.

But, uh, thanks for buying all my OOP atmosphere shit on ebay and supporting my habit!

xchemicalx (March 29, 2009)

This album

Citizen_Crack (March 28, 2009)

Score is for having footnotes in a review. Style citations up tha punx.

mikexdude (March 28, 2009)

No the atmosphere!

fallingupwards84 (March 28, 2009)

nice review, i've been meaning to listen to this

ChadReligion (March 27, 2009)

Haven't heard this yet, and haven't heard the last one either, but Seven's Travels and God Loves Ugly were fucking masterpieces, so if this is along those lines, I'll probably pick it up.
Always miss this show when it comes through because something always comes up, but one day I will

andrethegiant (March 27, 2009)

Lucy Ford was the best. Easily.

damnitsderek (March 27, 2009)

This wasn't reviewed yet? Wow. But yeah, this album is a blast. One of my favorites they've done.

Cos (March 27, 2009)

Strictly Leakage is the best thing these guys have ever done.

tenwestchaser (March 27, 2009)

Why does everything Atmosphere do get compared positively to Seven's Travels? I loved that album. I have God Loves Ugly and Seven's Travels and the latter is far superior. In fact, its better than some of the random other Atmosphere I've heard, too. I love it beginning to end.

Cheesetits (March 27, 2009)

My second favorite cd of 2008, loved it to death.

SloaneDaley (March 27, 2009)

Jon Daley > Sean Daley

actually Slug is pretty cool.

mattramone (March 27, 2009)

Easily their best record. Paranoid and claustrophobic in the best way.

hellxblazer (March 27, 2009)

I love, love, love Atmosphere, but I thought this album was pretty boring. Dude with the beats needs to get back in the God Loves Ugly state of mind.

RossHostage (March 27, 2009)

Score is for footnotes in a review! Atmosphere is cool too.

Swank (March 27, 2009)

Dude, did you read beyond the first paragraph? It says "and into 2007" and then goes onto discuss "Strictly Leakage" and the Sad Clown EPs (of which there are 4, actually), which didn't start 'till spring if that year.
Learn to read.

punk_sk (March 27, 2009)

did this not get reviewed last year?

cronophrog (March 27, 2009)

Not much during 2007?!?!?

3 Sad Clown EPs and the free Strictly Leakage.

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