If hip cache could make an album great, the self-titled debut by Trouble Andrew (nom-de-bro-rock of former snowboarder Trevor Andrew) would be a classic. He’s engaged to Santogold (who guests on a song here, and he guested on her album’s worst track), was on Diplo’s Top Ranking mixtape, and he has the best ironic haircut — the mullet-hawk.
But unfortunately for Andrew, a haircut and all the support from the right people can’t compensate for a lack of ideas, songs that bleed together, corny faux-rapping and lyrics that evoke the worst of rap-rock.
Lyrically, Andrew is a low-budget Fred Durst, spending time to talk about how he’s a “goddamn pimp” (“Pimp Millenium”), comment on women chasing money (“Does your money love you?/ Does your money fuck you?” he says without humor on “Chase Money”), and seriously deliver lyrics like “I got it/ you want it/ you want it/ you got it” on “Be Free.” It’s not that every singer needs to have labyrinthine lyrics, but Andrew presents himself as something “different” when we’ve had guys just like him selling this reductive brand of machismo since at least the mid-’90s.
Lyrical lameness aside, Trouble Andrew also has an enthusiasm problem. Andrew sounds utterly bored to be around, like he cut the record when he was thinking about anything other than the music he was making. Throughout the album, Andrew’s flat, non-rapping (but definitely not singing) vocals are filtered through a megaphone, like that was the one effect that could make his pitchless croon palatable. And while the effect does work once (on the garage rock rush of “Bang Bang” featuring Santogold) it wears thin even though the album is only 29 minutes long.
At the end of Trouble Andrew, Andrew asks “What’s so strange about me? “ as if he’s been alienated all his life for being a pro snowboarder and being engaged to Santogold. But there’s nothing strange about Andrew, except for that, in a time of economic downturn, he could somehow finagle his way onto the roster of any label, nonetheless a major.