I don’t know a lot about Joe Budden other than what I saw that time I watched the premiere of Love and Hip Hop. So, of course, I had little to no expectations when I sat down to listen to his third studio album No Love Lost. Budden, however, changed the rather vague impression I had of him as I listened to each soulful track.
No Love Lost kicks off with a stellar “Intro” track. The piano medley was surprising, in a pleasant way, and I wanted it to evolve into a full length song. Fortunately, Budden doesn’t disappoint with the follow-up tracks “Top of the World” and the album’s single “She Didn’t Put it Down Like You.” Both songs contain catchy beats and background melodies yet manage to retain some of their individuality.
“Castles” and “All in my Head” hit a deeper, more emotional level that I hadn’t associated with Joe Budden before listening to this album. However, my favorite track on the album was “Skeletons“. The music was light and easy-listening while the verses contained darker concepts. These two components contrasted each other in a beautifully artistic way that I was not expecting.
No Love Lost is not without its flaws though. “Last Day” and “NBA” sound contrived and unlike the Joe Budden that I had slowly come to appreciate over the course of this album. They seem to pay homage to every other rap song I’ve listened to, and not in a way I appreciate. ”Role Play”, the quasi-opener for the track “Switch Positions” really just sounded like bad, audio porn. There’s nothing remotely sexy about this song, if that’s even what Budden was going for. The entire juxtaposition and compilation of those two songs create disaster.
No Love Lost conveniently ends with the track “No Love Lost”. Despite the second guesses I had as I listened to this album, this track reminded me why I enjoyed listening to it in the first place. It serves as an exit song or an “outro” of sorts. It’s in no way as pretty as the intro, yet it fully sums up Budden’s style and talent. Overall, No Love Lost is a journey of sorts. It has its ups and downs, but in the end, it’s worth it.