Editor’s Note: To read a revised review of the album written in 2016, click here.
My experience with Macklemore began with the song “Wing$” by Macklemore. Because I had never heard of him before then, I was obviously interested, so I listened. The song blew me away, and it was then that I became hooked on Macklemore and all of his songs. Little did I know his full album was coming out on October 9th. Let’s just say my ears have had a pleasant month listening to Macklemore and pretty much only Macklemore. So now that all 18 of the songs on The Heist have been released, here is my full song-by-song review of Macklemore’s The Heist.
1. 10,000 Hours – 9/10.
Before the album came out, I was browsing Macklemore’s music on YouTube, and I found a very good live version of this song. I had downloaded some other of Macklemore’s songs, but I was disappointed to find that there wasn’t a recorded version of this yet. Now that the album’s out, probably my most anticipated song of his hasn’t failed me. In this song, Macklemore talks about all the work he has done and how it’s finally paying off. He does have one other full length album and two EPs which came out before this, and now that he’s finally at the top, it’s all paying off.
2. Can’t Hold Us (feat Ray Dalton) – 8/10.
“Can’t Hold Us”, very up-beat tempo song, fits perfectly in at the #2 spot on the album. The beat is very good, and it has the vibe of a party song. Although he talks about chasing his dreams and finally getting to the top, the chorus (and most of the song) talks about just partying and having a good time.
3. Thrift Shop (feat. Wanz) – 10/10
I believe this is easily the best song on the album. The beat is incredible, it can really be used for just listening or partying, and it is a very humorous song. What amazes me is his ability to take a very funny idea (a rapper wearing used clothing & broken keyboards) and make it serious. There is a deeper meaning in this song; Macklemore is trying to say that money and accessories really don’t define who you are, it’s the type of person you are. In other words, Macklemore can wear all pink with green gator shoes, and it doesn’t define him, as opposed to some rappers who like to think that money is everything (i.e. all of YMCMB).
4. Thin Line (feat. Buffalo Madonna) – 7.5/10.
This is a song about Macklemore’s struggles with maintaining a relationship with a girl along with a rap career. He talks about how he never gets to spend time with her, he continues to love this girl less and less, and as much as he wants it to last, how their relationship could never be. I think this song does a good job slowing down the album and really added balance to the album. It does have a very similar sound to Kid Cudi too, which I really enjoyed. Overall, it’s a good song, but nothing more.
5. Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert) – 10/10.
As great as “Thrift Shop” and “Wing$” (#11) are, if any Macklemore song were to really go big, I think it would be this. Macklemore does an incredible job bringing some much needed support to equal rights to rap. The beat, the chorus, it all flows together perfectly and makes a really inspirational song about how religion should not dictate who a person is, and how people need to follow their hearts. Influenced by his gay uncles and curiosity of his sexuality in the past, plus time in the music industry are sure to have aided Macklemore’s knowledge of homosexuals and LGBT rights, and helped him make this meaningful song.
6. Make the Money – 8/10.
Honestly, if it weren’t for the meaning, this song might get a six out of ten. However, I really like the deeper meaning of this song. Again, Macklemore talks about how even if he makes great amounts of money, he doesn’t want to sell out and he never wants money to influence his music, like, for example, YMCMB. “Forget about the fame!” and “Make the money, don’t let the money make you” are repeated throughout, and for a good reason; Macklemore wants to express a message, that he doesn’t care about the fame. The beat and repetitiveness do bring the rating down slightly, but it is a good song.
7. Neon Cathedral (feat. Allen Stone)– 7/10.
This is Macklemore’s first song on this album about his drug & alcohol abuse. He is known more for “Otherside” (off of The VS. EP) which is about drug abuse also, but Neon Cathedral does a good job displaying the same message and telling the same story. Macklemore struggled with addiction to cough syrup and other drugs, stalling his music production and risking his life from 2005-2008. Here, he talks about almost losing who he was as a person, and eventually his redemption and rise back to the top. I think it was a good song, but really, “Otherside” is much better.
8. BomBom (feat. The Teaching) – 5/10.
BomBom, an instrumental coming in after Neon Cathedral and before White Walls, confused me for a few reasons. For one, It did not fit in at all at the number eight spot, in between two songs which I enjoyed very much. Another reason was because even though some artists like to put in instrumentals, this one was not even a beat that would “wow” anyone. The instrumental was not enjoyable, the placement was very dumb, and it was all around a bad job done here.
9. White Walls (feat. ScHoolboy Q & Hollis) – 7/10.
This song is clearly one of Macklemore’s more mainstream songs, since he talks about his Cadillac and all of his riches he finally has. I get that he finally made it and he wants to show the haters how successful he is, but he whole basis of most of his songs is how the riches don’t matter, and although I don’t doubt he believes that, I don’t understand why this song is here. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the beat and chorus a lot, but I just think he shouldn’t have put out a song about his riches when his whole thing is about the money not mattering. It is a good song though, with a more mainstream feel to it.
10. Jimmy Iovine (feat. Ab-Soul) – 6/10.
You know, this song really felt like a Bad Meets Evil song, the beat, the rapping, everything. That being said, I didn’t buy one song off of Bad Meets Evil’s album. The song is about stealing and graffiti, along with other assorted crimes. The beat isn’t bad, just again, this just doesn’t sound like Macklemore. It’s not a very good or well thought out song, because of the little meaning the song posseses and the irrelevance to anything Macklemore has said before.
11. Wing$ – 10/10.
Wow. The song that turned me on to Macklemore still gives me chills every time I reach the chorus. A song about the Jordan shoes lifestyle and how they can take over your brain and the whole thought process is turned into a masterpiece here by Macklemore. What’s amazing is how he makes it so great, by referencing how it was a part of his childhood, getting mugged and murdered over a pair of shoes. The chorus is absolutely incredible, and he really gets into this one. I highly suggest Wing$.
12. A Wake (feat. Evan Roman) – 8/10.
I thought Macklemore would write a song about this earlier, especially on his 2005 album which criticizes everyday issues greatly. This song, for the entire thing, talks about problems with today’s society, targeting teens and the questionable activity of some people. He brings up people needing to go to Planned Parenthood for abortions, addiction to alcohol, and how old teens think they are. I am a teen, and I know sometimes I might act a little older, but I’m just happy I don’t meet all of Macklemore’s criteria for a dumb teen in today’s society.
13. Gold (feat. Eighty4 Fly) – 7/10.
This song is about people who need everything to be perfect, and how your life doesn’t have to be gold to be perfect. He says that if everything was perfect, then there would be no problems, and everything would be boring, which is why people need to accept a flawed society more. It’s not the best song, but it isn’t bad, and the meeting isn’t bad either. Which is why this song gets a pretty average rating of seven.
14. Starting Over (feat. Ben Bridwell) – 7.5/10.
Pretty self-explanatory, this is a song about Macklemore starting his life over after his addiction to cough syrup got really bad, having to face his parents, his girlfriend, and the world again. It isn’t a song I have listened to a lot, but again, it is very meaningful, and I do think Macklemore’s story is incredible.
15. Cowboy Boots – 6.5/10.
This is a more old-west style song from Macklemore, and it’s kind of confusing. The chorus is about being a cowboy at an old saloon, but then the verses all have some different meanings. Some are about holding on to who you are, being real, and other references to cowboy-type things. It’s not great, and there really isn’t much else to say, which is why it gets a 6.5/10.
16. Castle – 7/10.
I’m a little confused about how I feel about this song. While it got such good reception on iTunes, I just don’t think I like it. It’s another one of the dance songs, which sounds extremely similar to “And We Danced” (a song of his off of his 2009 album The Unplanned Mixtape). It is humorous; I just don’t really like it that much. It is a good party song; but i just don’t feel it, especially as the last song on the non-deluxe edition.
17. My Oh My – 9/10
Maybe it’s my love for baseball or maybe it’s just a really good song, but something always pulls me to this song. This song was written for the 1995 Mariners, who were the first Mariners team to make the playoffs and win a series, and their announcer Dave Niehaus, a legend who died in 2010. As a Phillies fan and a baseball fan, I found this song particularly funny, because the Mariners are notorious for doing badly and never making a World Series despite numerous opportunities. The song really shows how baseball influenced him and other children, and how every little boy’s dream of becoming a baseball dream really never does go away.
18. Victory Lap – 9/10
The final song on this album, I think it is a very appropriate ending, because he ends it off with, well, a victory lap. He is famous now, and he just released an incredible album, so why not take a victory lap? He recaps his redemption and his rise to the top again, with a very good, up-tempo beat that just ends the album very appropriately.
AVERAGE SONG RATING: 7.8
ALBUM RATING: 9/10 stars
I really thought out of any album I’ve ever listened to, and I’ve really loved and downloaded many full albums, this one tops all of them. It isn’t that Macklemore is the best rapper, or has the best beats, he is just so real and that’s what’s likeable about him for me. I do think, however, he is a great rapper and his beats on some of these songs are just incredible. This album is great and I’m really counting on Macklemore to go big.