The Third Hand
Fans of RJD2’s previous albums might want to prepare themselves. Over the course of time, many musicians go through extreme changes and tweak their sound a bit. This can certainly be said for The Third Hand, on which RJD2 demonstrates an entire album with (gasp!) his own vocals. Known for his electronic music and quality of production, it comes as no surprise that The Third Hand is pieced together so well. Perhaps this new change in sound will anger older fans, but this album sounds like more of an experiment than a life change for RJD2. It’s true the songs here are more pop-based than his other, more hip hop influenced records. But one cannot deny the unifying quality that ties each of the tracks together and how the somber tone is strewn throughout the album.
Despite the sparseness of lyrics in some tracks (“Have Mercy,” for example), he proves to be an adequate writer, especially with the strange track “Just When,” where RJ sings, “Just when just when/I don’t mean to push the issue there’s no young ones without you/ Just when just when/ I need a little one to pass the name on before I’m dead and gone.” Those lyrics paired with one of the more up tempo beats make the song very listenable as well as slightly humorous.
As a whole, the tracks move beyond RJ’s previous works. Sure, the vocals may not be the best, but you cannot blame him for trying. He may not be Jon Brion just yet, but give him some time. More surprising albums are sure to come.