Atmosphere - God Loves Ugly      
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written by Andrew Lunny    
I like Slug, you know. 'Overcast!' was a dope album, he was really cool on there, and the EP of the same name had some great tracks as well. I really liked the Deep Puddle Dynamics album, especially his verses on there, and the 'Se7en' tape was great also. ANT's beats weren't too great, but he was improving and Slug was worth listening to over anything. 'Lucy Ford,' aside from a few weak songs, kept the legacy alive. But 'God Loves Ugly' just doesn't do anything for me, and is a big disappointment.

There's nothing new here, basically. The much-acclaimed 'Modern Mans Hustle' is too bland to hate, but it's hard to see its attraction. Okay, ANT's found a new sound to imitate, but the beat's still mediocre and the rhymes are doubly unremarkable. Worse, Slug on the mic seems to have lost all momentum, phoning in his dull rhymes from somewhere close to sleep. Sadly, this brand of emo-rap takes hold of the whole album, bogging down Slug's considerable talents. 'Lovelife' gives us some shallow philosophy that matches the "trite clich" tag Slug gives it, while 'Hair' and 'A Song About A Friend' are the requisite "extra songs about women" needed on any Slug project. And if you were worried there'd be no place for the random aphoristic wisdom of, say, "Running With Scissors," then both the title song and 'Shrapnel' satisfy that urge.

It all feels contrived, basically, and formulaic as hell. There are a few nice lines scattered throughout ("From the cradle to the grave, the Pampers to the Depends") but there's so much whining and self-absorbed crap that it hardly seems worth trudging through. Nice samples crop up every now and then ("A Girl Named Hope," for example) but they just loop to oblivion, or get lost around ANT's dull drumwork. For the most part 'God Loves Ugly' contains the worst work that Slug and company have ever done.

There are some standouts here, but you feel they'd be less notable on a stronger album. 'Fuck You Lucy' isn't too creative on the writing side, but Slug wakes up for this song and his impassioned delivery raises the material to generate some interest. 'Saves The Day' would fare better if it didn't recall 'If I Was Santa Claus,' a far superior song. Yet the beat is better than ANT's usual contributions, the lyrics seem to hit a little harder, and it's the best song here. 'One of a Kind' features Slug remembering he used to be a rapper, and also raises itself above the prevalent mediocrity, while 'Blamegame' has a nice dub-beat and a likeable sing-song flow from Sluggo. But it's too little too late.

There's a lot of people who like 'God Loves Ugly,' and it's certainly an album designed to make people like it, but it just doesn't come together. There are no moments of inspiration on the LP, nothing that we've never heard before, and nothing to justify the reputation that Slug's earlier releases earned. 'God Love Ugly' is simply the new Atmosphere album, never more or less.

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