Album Review: Theophilus London - 'Timez Are Weird These Days'

Harmless entertainment full of experimentation

  • Release Date 19 Jul, 2011
  • Record Label Warner
  • Fact He was born in Trinidad, raised in Brooklyn, then moved to the Poconos
6 / 10
Brooklyn-raised Theophilus London is a fountain of Tumblr bloggability. Alongside a hipster-in-skinny-jeans image, he’s put out cool-catnip like his Smiths-worshipping, synth-heavy ‘This Charming Mixtape’, which even had a Kraftwerk sample thrown in for extra brownie points. He’s worked with Solange Knowles and Dev Hynes. But this checklist for scene popularity has built him up for a fall, with critics baying for his blood if his debut album didn’t stand up to the hype. Sadly, he hasn’t quite nailed it.

For starters, he’s not an amazing MC. As a lyricist he doesn’t compare well against counterparts like The Cool Kids, and the rhyme-heavy moments on ‘Timez Are Weird These Days’ are its weak spots. Strained lines like “I fell in love with a disco queen/In the heart of the city at a bistro scene” don’t exactly help. But where he comes into his own is on fluffy, Juicy Fruit-esque funk like ‘Why Even Try’, featuring Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara. While a female hook can often sound like an afterthought in rap, here her vocals gel effortlessly with his silky-smooth laydeez’ man persona. The real shine, however, appears when London himself flexes his lungs on tracks like ‘Wine And Chocolate’ and current anthemic single ‘I Stand Alone’, proving that, as a vocalist, the boy’s got good tone. By the end you’re willing him to sing more.

It may not be game-changing and it’ll be slaughtered by those who have a hatred of hipsters/fun. But it’s harmless entertainment, and London gets full marks for what he’s best at – experimentation. Hopefully a second effort will be less a roll-call of references and more a tailored blend of new wave and throwback funk that he can truly brand as his own.

Jo Fuertes-Knight
Theophilus London - 'I Stand Alone' Theophilus London - 'I Stand Alone'
Video: Theophilus London - 'I Stand Alone'

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