Quelle Chris, Chris Keys – ‘Innocent Country 2’ album review

Innocent Country 2 is the sequel to the collaboration album this pair released back in 2015. My introduction to Quelle Chris dates back to 2018 with another collab album that he did with his wife Jean Grae, Everything’s Fine. An album that produces quality songs with some witty, hilarious writing, but also lines that were thought-provoking.

This would be the main formula to Chris’ songs down the line, especially on his Guns record from 2019. An album that I can’t stop listening to this day.

While Innocent Country 2 isn’t as intricate as Guns, I find this record to be slightly more enjoyable, and that is thanks to excellent production from Chris Keys.

Every track on this album is one that you can just lay back and listen to or one for a road trip. Aside from the psychedelic banger “Bottle Black Power Buy the Business”, sonically every track on here is very soothing to listen to. It’s easy on the ear with the lack of tension.

The album’s sentiments range from being able to get over relationships on “Honest”, being happy with life and dancing for fun on the track “Living Happy”, all the way to embracing and loving yourself as a black person on “Black Twitter”. While the vast themes can be overwhelming for some, Keys’ melancholic production brings it back down to earth.

What could be seen as the album’s biggest strength in its lack of tension, could also serve as its biggest weakness, especially towards the end of the album as “Mirage” and “When You Fall” feel like they take years to wrap up with their 14-minute combined runtime. It’s almost too slow for its own good.

However, the slow-paced songs do not take away just how enjoyable it is to listen to most of the songs on here. Chris’ very nasally voice mixes well with the jazzy, neo-soul production scattered on the record. It’s a third-straight hit for Chris in a very underrated discography.

Richest Tracks: “Outro/Honest”, “Living Happy”, “Sacred Safe”, “Bottle Black Power Buy the Business”, “Black Twitter”, “Make It Better”, “Graphic Bleed Outs”

Worst Track: “Horizon

Rating: 8.5/10

Listen to the album:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/30hEhSuHVZ9dsUYDX7qabr?si=sb6M-FpMSTmjhM8BrL1rVQ

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/innocent-country-2/1500985249

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