Low key, laid back and so totally woke. Benjamin Haggerty tries so hard to project effortlessness that you can almost hear his hammock straining at the seams.
"Wanna give it a hundred percent, but I'm too afraid to try," he raps on his cheeky ballad Intention. "I wanna be faithful, but love hooking up with randos ... I wanna get exercise, but I'm too lazy to workout."
The struggle, it seems, is real. But Haggerty has real issues to talk about: he's a former addict still struggling to stay sober, he's a new dad, and Gemini is his first album since the departure of Ryan Lewis, the producer behind some of Macklemore's biggest hits.
Mostly, though, Haggerty spends Gemini being all kinds of silly.
"Watching Toy Story 3, that's a great f***ing movie," he raps carelessly on Marmalade, trying and completely failing to ape Lil Yachty's Autotuned madness.
When Yachty shows up for verse three, it shows what kind of distance separates the two.
That's not the only example. How to Play the Flute takes Future's Mask Off flute riff to a ridiculous extremes, Corner Store is an updated rerun of Thrift Shop with diminishing returns, and Ten Million's grimy thuds sound a lot like a YouTuber's fan tribute to Travis Scott.
It's easy to hate Macklemore, but some of Gemini's intentions are to be applauded. Ain't Gonna Die Tonight tackles tough topics but finds room for big band horns and stadium chants, Levitate is a funky old school trip, and Church, one of Gemini's final tracks, finally finds some emotional depth lacking elsewhere.
Even without Ryan Lewis missing, Macklemore still knows how to deliver epically upbeat pop: Glorious delivers a chorus Katy Perry would probably kill for right now, Kesha continues her run of form on the soaring Good Old Days, and Intentions might ape Ed Sheeran's antics, but it still hits its mark.
So it's a shame, then, about the album's fourth track. Willy Wonka is just horrible, wasting the album's best beat with terrible chocolate metaphors and Migos' Offset repeatedly chanting: "Flavour, got flavour, got flavour, got flavour ... lifesaver."
"I'm a motherf***ing icon," raps Haggerty on the same song. Mate, sit down. You're not even close. But Gemini proves Macklemore's up for a good time - even if he might not be around for a long time.
Macklemore - Gemini
Verdict: Fun but flawed third album
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