Album Reviews

With ‘Signs,’ Runtown’s High Run Continues To Fade

What are the 'Signs' for Runtown if his music doesn't work?

Runtown Signs Album Review
Runtown [Instagram/@runtown]

In this signs album review, it’s important to note that Runtown’s musical releases have been nothing short of impressive. The journey began in 2015 when we got signed into his musical world via his debut album ‘Ghetto University.’ One of the standout tracks from the album, ‘Mad over you,’ featured on the ‘Runtown Hits Vol.1’ compilation album and has continued to captivate listeners ever since.

Runtown’s musical career has been a series of buzzing singles and strategic collaborations that have served us with hits time and time again. From his debut album to Soundgod (2018), Tradition (2019), and more recent singles like ‘If e happen for Lagos’ (2020) and ‘Things I Know’ (2022), Runtown has consistently delivered quality music that resonates with his fans.

Nonetheless, his booming career still serves us ‘Signs’ (2022), an album with a mix of high and low; not many highs. This newest release has the opportunity to further drill his artistic recognition into people’s hearts, especially as a singer, songwriter, and producer. It could have raised the bar again, as many of his other projects did. Did it deliver?

For an audience whose primary musical concern is rhythm and something that has been described as ‘vibes’, Runtown’s latest project ‘Signs’ leaves much to be desired and much more to be distasted by.

In the lead-up to the album’s release, we were treated to a steady stream of extremely tasteful album art and imagery, with a decidedly retro Dancehall vibe. Honestly, it was a good one. Combined with certain expectations that have perhaps been raised by other artists releasing a kaleidoscope of great music on great music this year, and with foreknowledge of Runtown’s great hits of the (very distant) past, one expected a solid-sounding set of tracks with deep lows and janty highs.

Let’s dive into Runtown Signs album review;

Here’s what we got:

The titular track, ominously named ‘Signs’ is like a roadside speed warning on a sharp bend. Opening interestingly with a standard reggae tempo and ad-libbing voices, then Runtown comes in, and that is in essence the end of the album. 

The lyrics offer neither theme nor plot, depth nor width. The vocal performance is pretty good for Runtown, especially on ‘High Spirit’ and ‘Dangerous Hearts’, although on “Sinnerman” I strained to make out what was being said. 

‘Dangerous Hearts’ featuring American singer Mr. Hudson threatened to redeem the album as if we finally had a proper musician in the house. The message of being wary of deceit came through like a beam of light, and the melodic interplay between Hudson’s vocals and scintillating backing music worked like a treat. Even Runtown moved with some suave on it.

Let’s leave it at that. 

I should mention that ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Mic Check’, ‘Kini Issue’, and ‘Propaganda’ are not bad tracks at all. But none will be breaking into any charts anytime soon.

On the other hand, someone should have stopped ‘Hella Sacrifice’ from being recorded. Once recorded, someone should have found a place for it not on the album tracklist, but in a metal trash can, where it belongs.

The sound production on the album was pretty good; there were a lot of great layers going on throughout the album, although the expected retro Dancehall vibe was not always perceptible. The choice of instrumentation could perhaps have been better. The instrumentals seem to lack a sense of fullness and things seemed to go helter-skelter at times, but that seems to be Runtown’s brand of sorts.

In conclusion, the Signs album review reveals that while there were certainly some standout moments, they were few and far between. Ultimately, the album falls short of expectations and fails to deliver the level of musical satisfaction that fans expect from Runtown. This album should serve as a sign for Runtown to take control of his career and deliver a more focused and cohesive body of work in the future. While ‘Signs’ may be viewed as an experimental venture, it ultimately falls short as a true showcase of Runtown’s immense talent, leaving listeners feeling somewhat let down.

Runtown Signs Album artwork
Review Overview

In summary, ‘Signs’ had its moments, but they were few, and it is a body of work I will likely not be going back to. ‘Signs’ is a sign for Runtown to have a grip on his career because this recent taste of him doesn’t please the music palate.

  • Songwriting4
  • Production6
  • Sequencing2
  • Enjoyability2
  • Delivery4

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