Reviews

Review: Common – Finding Forever

by Winston "Stone" Ford

Finding Forever

Common

Finding Forever

There are so many things to like about this album, yet so many things to hate. Common’s Finding Forever on its surface is an amazing work of hip-hop. Songs like “Forever Begins,” “Misunderstood,” “Black Maybe,” the questionable “Drivin’ Me Wild,” and even bonus track of “Play Your Cards Right” (from the Smokin’ Aces soundtrack) are probably some of the best hip-hop produced this whole year.

But somehow, this album feels like its missing something, and even after the 10th listen I coudln’t? figure out what it was. I even went back and listened to Be (which I consider Common’s second best album next to Like Water for Chocolate) and still couldn’t figure out why why I’m not enjoying Finding Forever as a whole. But after a while, I figure out what it was: Commons weak flow and his over-reliance on wack pop-culture references (“Its kind of like the breakup of Jen and Vince Vaughn”? Come on.). The first few seconds of the Dilla produced track “So Far to Go,” were ruined by the first bar of Commons rap. It’s sad but true. Common has ever element of his career going for him right now, but lyrically he’s off his game and it makes the album unbearable at times.

As for the album itself, the production work is downright amazing, even though Kanye West (who helmed most of the album) tried to channel his inner Dilla too much. Having that said though, I’m also glad that sample-based production is alive and well on a major label release. With Finding Forever giving Common getting a #1 album, this could bode well for hip-hop in the future.


  • http://nappydiatribe.blogspot.com/ Humanity Critic

    I feel this review homey, I too dug the album and felt that something was missing. I never thought about a less than stellar lyrical performance being the culprit, but I completely see your point on that. Personally, I think that the album would have been a lot better if he gave us 2-3 songs of just pure lyrical assault. Tracks that served no other purpose than for Common to basically obliterate the microphone – no message in the song, no particular point, just a verbal onslaught. Dope review. Peace.

  • http://www.soulculture.net Ms.Marsha

    I agree with the lyrical comments. Common’s lyrics were much better on Be. Even with my favourite tracks on Finding Forever – like ‘Break My Heart’ – his flow is fairly mindless. But I still love the album & extremely happy to see him with a #1..

  • http://www.thesnapclap.com craig

    You know what. I’m not gonna say that this is the best Common album at all. I’m not even gonna say it was the best produced of 2007. But what i will say is that ‘hate’ is a strong word. I might not like certain things on this album, but ‘hate’. I don’t know if I can go that far. I don’t really find anything to hate on this recored. In addition, while going back through an artist’s catalog and listening to older albums and comparing them to new releases is cool. But, I think that sometimes we do ourselves and the artists a disservice by doing so. Hip hop won’t grow if we keep looking back through the same critical lens, you know? I evaluate a 2007 record in a totally different way then a 2000 record and even more different then a 1997 record, you know what I mean? Finding forever is 2007 Common, and should be evaluated as such. Just my two cents.

  • http://thecouchsessions.com Stone

    My bad, I don’t often realize that “hate” is a strong word to some people. I don’t hate the aspects of the album, I “dislike” them.

    And I feel you on people who try to compare Like Water for Chocolate Common to 2007 Common and I’ve tried not to do that. However, I’m just saying that Commons’s lyrical content was a lot stronger on Be than Finding Forever and I don’t think he should get a pass for that.

  • http://www.thesnapclap.com craig

    I’m not sure if I’m advocating a pass. I mean, if you don’t like something, you don’t like it. I was merely speaking on characterization of your dislike.

    An interesting that I noticed, perhaps you did as well, is that some songs on this joint had two verses instead of the customery three. Maybe Common was reading KRS’s book from back in the days and thought it would be better leaving us wanting more, rather than completly satiated.