Buzz for local rapper Blue, The Misfit's sophomore album, Perfect Night for a Funeral, began building last September after he hosted a listening party at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Nearly a year passed before the album was delivered to the public — Blue said there were holdups with the nonmusic aspects of the album — but it finally arrived Saturday, and it is worth the wait.
Blue says he was going for the feel of a movie soundtrack. “On Child in the Wild [his debut], it was everything that I wanted to create but I didn't take the listener into account. This time it's the opposite," he tells the Observer. "On PNFAF I wanted the listener to feel like they could hear any one of these songs and see themselves in the song even though it's my story. It's easy to gravitate to but possesses all my creative input."
1. "Slow Singing & Flower Bringing"
Blue, The Misfit sets the tone for the album with arrangements that are moody, grand and theatrical. Daniel Hart of Dark Rooms assisted in the orchestration, and his strings are perfect.
2. "Perfect Night" featuring Xes
If you’ve been listening to Blue, The Misfit since his days as the de facto leader of Brain Gang, you’ll instantly recognize the warped, reverberated synth. It's his signature.
This track establishes the album's concept: an inside look into Blue’s wild party lifestyle. The three Hs (Henny, Honeys and Homies) are a recurring theme.
This song starts strong, but it’s bogged down by Xes' awkward delivery. It's a jarring dichotomy that brings you out of the mood Blue sets.
3. "Died Last Night"
We've all experienced what this song describes: a deathly hangover. As the booming bass settles in, Blue tries to recount the events of the night before. When it concludes, Blue delivers one of the greatest hooks you’ll hear, screaming, “I think I died last night!”
The scream is coupled with screwed vocals and a screech as the bass rumbles underneath. It’s a brief moment, but it’s outstanding.
This track reveals the meaning of the album’s title. As the artist puts it, “PNFAF is really about me being content with my life the way it is, and if I was to die tomorrow, at least I went out happy and the way I wanted to go out, so any night could be a Perfect Night For a Funeral."
4. "21 Gun Salute"
This song represents the funeral. Blue went out with a bang, and now we’re remembering and celebrating him. The album doesn't feel heavy despite the dark subject matter. Blue seems at peace with any of these plausible outcomes to his party-hard lifestyle even as he performs third-person eulogies about himself.
5. "Solo Adventures"
The previous three tracks told big-picture stories about when partying hard, loving that life and being at peace with it come to a fortuitous end. That shifts on this track, which discusses Blue's solitude because he doesn't have time for girlfriends.
Some of Blue's influences — Kanye West, Tame Impala and Crystal Castles — are obvious throughout the album. Others are more subtle. Blue says he also drew from Linkin Park, System of a Down and Gorillaz, and this song is reminiscent of Kid Cudi.
The hum that closes out "Solo Adventures" would fit right into Cudi’s Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager. In fact, this whole album is likely to appeal to Cudi fans.
6. "Key & Peel (Burn Rubber)" featuring Danny Cainco and Devin Canady
"Key & Peel" expounds on the themes of the previous track with lyrics like, “I might want you, but don’t need you.” While these lines are delivered, we’re introduced to Danny Cainco and Devin Canady, who harmonize perfectly with the soundscape Blue’s laid out.
Six songs in, Blue's strengths as a producer really start to show themselves. Each song has unique sonics, but they all form a cohesive soundtrack.
Blue is not afraid to experiment, and his experience collaborating with diverse Dallas artists such as Jordan Richardson (Son of Stan, Ben Harper) and Hunter Moehring (Sealion) shows.
7. "Shut Up (Interlude)"
If “Solo Adventures” was the heavy-handed Kid Cudi homage, “Shut Up” is the heavy-handed Kanye homage. It's straight out of Yeezus.
8. "Slow Motion"
At its peak, this song is a pulsing jam with plenty of interesting progressions. It's not trendy or pandering. This is take-it-or-leave-it Blue, The Misfit.
9. "Carousel" featuring Zyah
At this point in the story, the protagonist is “fucked up beyond belief,” and he’s contemplating his decisions as a go-hard party animal.
The opening vocals to this track will be the first time many people hear Zyah, who possesses a wonderfully sultry voice. The new artist steals the show from Blue, whose production skills are stronger than his writing and his raps.
On Perfect Night for a Funeral, the writing sometimes feels redundant — more so than on Child in the Wild.
10. "Child of the Night"
"Child of the Night” might be Blue, the Misfit's anthem. No matter how fucked up he gets or how much he regrets it the next morning, Blue is determined not to walk away from his lifestyle.
“You feel like a shell of yourself the next day, but what do you do?" he asks us. "You ready your body and do it again the next night. It’s easy for people to grow up and be like, ‘Man, I’m done with that.’ It’s like Groundhog Day. We go hard. I can’t think of nights where I’m trying to play it safe. I’m willing to take on the moment. I don’t think things through all the time because I’m too busy living in whatever moment I’m living in. I think it’s a gift and a curse, but I live for it.”
11. "Lost & Found"
This song may be the best-written one on Perfect Night for a Funeral. Blue's words are deliberate, and there’s a sense of urgency in his delivery. The strong writing and solid guitar riff toward the end of the song make it a complete-sounding track.
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12. "Funeral (Interlude)"
Blue is ready for his funeral. It’s the only lyric in the interlude, and we believe him.
13. "Live Forever" featuring Sarah Jaffe
Blue went beyond the realms of hip-hop for his features on this album. If it weren’t for that willingness to experiment, we wouldn’t have Jaffe’s wonderful falsetto gracing this song. It may be buried deep toward the end of the album, but “Live Forever” is a banger.
14. Bonus track: "Walking Dead (Rise Slow)"
The rare bonus track on a digital release. It’s a solid listen, but the album closing on “Live Forever” would’ve been just fine. There’s just no payoff with “Walking Dead,” but the previous song delivered.
All in all, Perfect Night For A Funeral cements Blue, The Misfit as one of Dallas’ most creative acts and maybe its best producer.