‘Ventura’ is Anderson .Paak’s fourth studio album dropping only six months after the release of ‘Oxnard’ last year.
‘Oxnard’ was claimed to have received a mixed bag of reviews, with many fans being critical of .Paak retreating away from his soulful roots heard in previous projects, like ‘Malibu’ (2016).
‘Ventura’ is perhaps .Paak’s movement back into his more familiar soundscape.
In an Beats 1 interview, .Paak said ‘Ventura’ and ‘Oxnard’ were both created and released close together intentionally.
“I felt like one was made to be gritty, one was made to be pretty.
“One you could play on your way to Vegas and one on your way back,” he said.
So, let’s piece together the story that is ‘Ventura’.
‘Come Home’ featuring Andre 3000 rings true with its lively nature, subtle backing harmonies and dreamy piano radiating those groovy 70s vibes. If you close your eyes and listen, you can imagine a glistening disco ball twirling on an empty dance floor as the song rings out. Andre jumped on the track last minute with his verse and blew .Paak’s brains out with his lyrical genius, which really elevates the song to that next level.
A track right from the heart, ‘Make It Better’ featuring Smokey Robinson is like an easy going morning stroll along the city streets. The jumpy bass guitar and fluttering strings interwoven along a hard-hitting beat, reiterates the song’s purpose about trying new things and feeling good.
‘Reachin’ 2 Much’ featuring Lalah Hathaway, the only one smoother than Paak, himself. Hathaway’s lovely, soulful smokey tone and rather fitting lyrical composition warms up the colourful synth and glitzy variating beat.
The low-key coolness of ‘Winners Circle‘ was sent to .Paak by homies Vicky Nguyen and Kelsey Gonzales. For .Paak, the beat was reminiscent of the early stages of meeting someone and trying to determine if they are ‘the one.’ It’s serious yet light-hearted instrumental further paints the paces of falling in love, not jumping in too deep too early.
‘Good Heels’ featuring Jasmine Sullivan, the ‘young Aretha, no bullshit type’ woman. Definitely a voice to watch into the future, Sullivan apparently came up with the whole concept and attitude of the track. Her velvety passionate vocals revolve around being caught out cheating, standing her ground as not one to mess with.
‘Yada Yada‘ is simply about being on the road as a musician and understanding that the longer you stay home, the broker you are. This is a track where .Paak puts it all into perspective, understanding that although travelling and being away is hard, he has an amazing life full go rich opportunity many would dream to have. The instrumentals are the ultimate old-school 70s keyboard vibes’ warped into today’s modernity.
‘King James’ is indeed a salute to LeBron James but it goes deeper as serving more of a salute to all those using their platforms of power to bring drowned-out social issues the breath of air they need. .Paak reflects on how times are changing and people are beginning to take a stand rather than just being agreeable.
A fusion of long-time collaborators, ‘Chosen One’ features Sonya Elise, a close friend of .Paak’s. Ticking away like clockwork, this track was simply a natural partnership. Some even might notice the Mac DeMarco sample chirping in and Sean Price vocals here and there, but this track is really just a whole lotta’ fun, a cool, future-funk tune.
‘Jet Black’ featuring Brandy is cool, calm and collected. This track is just a breath of fresh air making you feel like your gliding through the sky. .Paak’s words really sum it up, “It’s just a good dance tune, I feel like it’s gonna be a nice little overseas joint.”
Formed in collaboration with Pharrell, ‘Twilight’ is just a whole vibe, it’s really the perfect getting ready for a night out ‘go-to’ track. Paak described Pharrell’s “brain as moving a mile a minute.”
‘What Can We Do?’ featuring Nate Dogg is one of the last tracks Nate Dogg did before her passed away and it was given to .Paak specifically for his album in memory of Nate Dogg. The moment I heard this tune, I fell in love with it instantaneously. The track is particularly resonant for it being purposely created in memory of Nate Dogg, perfectly done almost sounding like a duet, as if Nate Dogg was still here.
Go start your day or night the right way and grab a copy of ‘Ventura’ right here.