A journey through the 22 tracks of Grey Crow is sort of like having a hangover at a funeral. It's not as fun as the party the night before, but the profundity of the moment is still strikingly satisfying. No upbeat booty shakin' tracks or club anthems here. Instead, the wordsmith from the hip-hop crew Living Legends creates a sobering and introspective collection of creative beats and intelligent lyrics as somber as the album title implies.
This is not to imply that Eligh is hip hop's emo bastard child. While quick to acknowledge the hardships of life, such as on the darkly autobiographical "Find Yourself," he's just as quick to espouse a hopeful message of tenacity. "When I'm a Dad" has Eligh promising devotion to his future child over a tasteful Red Hot Chili Peppers sample. Elsewhere, on "Wish I Would," the Los Angeles-based rapper delivers spitfire rhymes about chasing dreams, coupled with an indie electro-pop vibe that works surprisingly well. The juxtaposition of motivational lyrics with melancholy backing tracks keeps the former from being cheesy and the latter from being depressing. It's a fitting soundtrack for the moment the sun breaks through the clouds.
Eligh plays the Palace Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 9 PM, with Opio, Mistah Fab and the Bayliens. $10.