bleed moxie – women’s society

 bleed moxie – women’s society

bleed moxie – women’s society – Album Review

Mitchel Paulson.  Moxie.  The Mox & J. Project.  MJ FLAWS.  bleed moxie.

ALL-CAPS.  lowercase letters.  Abbreviations.  Aliases.  Real name.  Nicknames.

Sigh.  There ain’t enough coffee in the world folks.  *siiiiiiiiiiiiiip

For real…sometimes I sit back and wonder what everything else in the world would be like if it just up and changed its name for this reason or that reason as often as the bands/artists in the music-scene do.  I always come to the same conclusion – it’d be chaos, obviously – but then I wonder why it is that the artists/bands out there wouldn’t go by that same logic when it comes to their own careers.  How in the heck do you establish some kind of tangible longevity in a business that so desperately needs it, when you wouldn’t even be able to say for sure whether the next record you make will be under the same name as the last one you made?  I’ve posed this question to people before and no one has had a good answer for the constant name-switching that goes on out there in this scene we share – I’ve never once heard the benefits other than the proverbial clean-slate of it all, yet even in those situations you’ll get the full resume with all the names they used to go by.  Ain’t a day that goes by where I’m not deleting a bunch of old irrelevant links to the dead-names of past projects that are now called something else.  Usually doing the same thing more or less too, which makes it all the more wild.  If you’re gonna change, then change.  And if you’re not…just keep your monikers/sites intact…it’s the right move in the long run.

Anyhow.  End rant, as they say.

As “let me say my hellos” starts up this debut record from bleed moxie, a veteran of the scene with more than fifteen years on his resume under a variety of names, I gotta say, I dig the confidence I hear from the main star of the show as this album begins.  The kind of performance he puts in is what’ll tell your ears that it’s bleed moxie’s first album, not rodeo.  From the drama the piano instantly provides, to the energetic burst that bleed moxie adds to the vocals and the punch he adds pound for pound, syllable by syllable – “let me say my hellos” serves as a solid introduction, while also flexing content that’ll hold up stronger than your typical intro would.  As in, “let me say my hellos” goes on to prove that it’s a full-on track that you’d wanna repeat, not just a way of reintroducing Mitchel under the name that he felt like using this week.  Nothing I’d change here though…bleed moxie sets a high standard right off the drop with a noteworthy performance that has the man sounding larger than life on women’s society.  Credit where credit is due, always – “let me say my hellos” is a powerfully engaging start to this record.

I feel like…hmm…yeah…ultimately, I’m cool with “out on my own” too…it’s another solid track overall.  I guess my main debate is surrounding the hooks and whether or not bleed moxie is getting the absolute maximum out of’em…maybe he is, maybe he isn’t – I’m not entirely sure to be truthful.  I look at it this way…when the guy is rapping, it’s clear that he’s owning his moment and in-charge of every syllable he spits – that’s where Mitchel’s strengths are.  Like anything else in life, whether it’s getting your car repaired or dental work done, if that’s not your primary area of expertise, then chances are you got someone else to lend a hand, you feel me?  Would a track like “out on my own” have come out stronger with a guest star handling the main hooks?  Possibly.  I’m not saying that for a certain fact, but possibly.  What I like about bleed moxie handling his business from every angle is that, well for one thing, it serves this particular song and its concept to have him take on each role – but I’d also say that it’s a track that proves his natural personality adds in an addictive quality to the experience, even if it might not be considered to be a completely 100% flawless performance in the hooks we hear.  I love the additional details in the music, especially in the hooks with violin provided by Sarah Hubbard of Flobots – and I love the backing vocals added in from Kate Fern of May Be Fern as well.  You factor all these things in together, and I think it’s safe to say that bleed moxie gets me onboard here.  The more I spun my way through “out on my own,” the more I ended up appreciating the hooks and got attached to them – it ended up being the verses that I felt might benefit more from a bump in volume than anything else.  There’s single-worthy potential in this track though…it might need a polishing, but it’s definitely there.

How much value do we place in a title as listeners on the other side of the speakers?  Does a title have to represent the content?  Is that still a thing?  From the moment I pushed play, bleed moxie has had me wondering why the record would be called women’s society, and I’m still feeling that question pop up even now.  Like…you’ll probably know what I mean when you listen to R3D I kick off “welcome to the end” – I’m not saying that the mystery won’t eventually be revealed, but I am saying that it’s tough to figure out how the opening three tracks would fit into a larger concept that would justify calling the album women’s society.  Do I enjoy listening to “welcome to the end?”  Sure!  I’m not complaining about the sound or the performances or even the content itself when it comes right down to it, I’m simply thinking out loud about how a title used to serve a more clear purpose than they seem to these days.  It’s not really a bleed moxie thing, so much as it’s yet another indication of how I’m getting older than dirt.  “welcome to the end” works well…bleed moxie’s got the energy dialed in tight throughout this set-list and the unique vibes he’s creating from track-to-track keep this album highly engaging.  Produced by Hayden Hallatt, women’s society is thriving on continually switching things up…no matter which kind of sound, style, or vibe is in behind the man on the mic, or men in this case, the confidence comes through.

I do have moments where I’m listening to bleed moxie rap and definitely feel like a syllable less or a syllable more (it’s usually less) would make his job a whole lot less challenging – but maybe that’s just the way I’m hearing it.  I’d be the first to tell ya that he gets to the spots he wants to get to by the time he needs to get to’em, but I also feel like if you were to look at these lines on paper, chances are you’d be able to pinpoint the parts of his metering that we hear him battling to keep in line as he raps.  At the end of the day, when you end up in the space you’re trying to reach, we can’t really complain, so I won’t.  I’m confident that bleed moxie would know exactly what I’m talking about, because chances are, when he’s in the studio booth, those are the lines that give him the most trouble…the fix is easy – tinker with it…add a syllable, take one out, compare a troublesome line to one that flows smoothly…doing that will usually help identify what the issue might be, but also increase the fluidity of the finished results.  “bad at (this) love” unloads a laundry list of details from relationships that didn’t work out…and while I think it delivers a decent listen, it is a tougher track to cite bleed moxie doing anything that hasn’t been done before than some of the rest by comparison.  “bad at (this) love” utilizes a fairly tried, tested, and true format inside of Hip-Hop/Rap that you’ve been listening to ever since buying your Rap Traxx tapes back in the day.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t sound good – it does…I might be inclined to say that the most memorable aspect of what you’ll hear is in the hooks of the chorus, which ain’t bleed moxie on the mic, but I’d still give the guy high marks for wrestling these lines inside the metering required to make the verses work.  The mellow melody of the chorus hooks make it seem like “bad at (this) love” is a bit more perfect than it probably would appear under a critical microscope…but yeah…it’s still fully entertaining.

So don’t get me wrong…just because I hold the guy to a high standard doesn’t mean I don’t think he should be proud of what he’s creating, or how this album has come out for him – honestly, this is probably the strongest I’ve heard the guy in the past four years.  I think a lot of what I was talking about in the metering and how he could make life easier for himself is revealed in the hooks of “i’m a little bit” – this is what I’ve been saying when pointing out he’ll get to where he wants to go, but with milliseconds to spare.  I think bleed moxie is often tempted to add as much as he can into his lyricism because he’s pretty much got the kind of speed and technique that’ll help compensate for the metering if he tries to jam in a syllable or two extra.  All I’m saying is that less can be a whole lot more when it comes to the strength of any emcee’s bars – it can give you the freedom to flex a more finesse with the extra space, like you’ll hear bleed moxie do in the opening verse of “i’m a little bit.”  He’s got a whole lot of thoughts, feelings, and emotions…some that you’ll relate to, some that’ll have you wondering WTF is it like to live on the inside of this guy’s head, and some that speak volumes on behalf of the way we think in the moment, but not necessarily how we feel about things long-term.  “i’m a little bit” follows a formula with respect to its design on a lyrical level, but bleed moxie proves this blueprint is effective for him.

Alright – “so close/so far” is a stellar example of what I was talking about earlier on when I was listening to “out on my own” – this is where you hear the potential of where bleed moxie’s music can go when he’s not forcing himself to play every role.  I don’t know where the hooks in the chorus of this track come from, but that’s the magic in action right there.  Kate’s back in the mix here too…and don’t get it twisted, she sounds great – but I’m talkin’ about the main melody of the chorus where the title is being sung out loud – that’s what people are going to feel like makes “so close/so far” so compelling.  That being said, everything you’ll hear in this track is a pretty tight fit and the results speak strongly on their own behalf.  Each individual contribution makes an impact here…the beat produced by Black Lions Beats is killer, the support from Kate on the mic is as remarkable as ever, the performance from bleed moxie is right up there with the best you’ve heard from him as well – the rhythm he’s rocking with line for line is supremely enticing to listen to.  It’s a real case of just about everything you can think of going right for the main star of the show – and he deserves a lot of credit for that – but I do stand by what I was saying earlier about how it’s going to be the main chorus hook of “so close/so far” that you’ll remember most.

We’ve arrived!  We’re at the title-track, and we finally get to resolve the mystery as to why in the heck this album is called women’s society at long last!  Look…I don’t know that that’s really the case – I think there’s an undeniable level of uniqueness in the sound of “women’s society” that would certainly make it tempting to go with this as the title for the record – the music is genuinely off-the-charts cool in my personal opinion.  So that opens up the question of whether or not what you perceive as the best track on an album is, and/or what you might think the most single-worthy song on the record is what the title should be, or is it supposed to be used to imply or identify what a central theme is going to be?  None of the above?  Outdated thinking?  Honestly, I’m about as confused as you might be by this – I find it a little perplexing that bleed moxie has gone with “women’s society” as the title for the album, but I do think the song itself has about a million hooks and gateways into it.  So if that was the criteria, I suppose I get it, though I’d argue that the majority of albums you’ll find out there carry titles that point towards the overall content more than what you’d probably argue this one here does.  It’s a seriously irresistible cut though…I ain’t gonna front about that – “women’s society” is the very definition of dope, and a hybrid vibe that could easily work its way onto the majority of playlists out there.  Kate’s performance on this track is award-worthy if you ask me…there’s a whole lot to love about the title-track from this record.  Is it as progressive as you might think it would be, given its title and its title-track status?  I think that’ll be one of the more debatable moments of potential controversy for this album, and/or the most polarizing.  There’s always value in that…debate and polarization gets people talking – it’s indifference you wanna avoid – when it comes to “women’s society,” bleed moxie ensures that we’ll be anything but indifferent.  It’s an extremely creative track with a metric ton of personality to its sound…people will dig this track.

It tends to take people a lifetime to figure out who they are, but bleed moxie went in the other direction (surprise!) to figure out the opposite on “i know who i ain’t.”  A track that is twice the fun to write about by using the small i instead of the big one…it seems like my ongoing feud with Microsoft Word is going to continue to be all of the fun today.  Anyway.  Stylistic choices.  Cool.  The things we do for our music and art that ain’t even ABOUT the music and art I tell ya.  I can’t talk – I end up yelling in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME about this or that for better or for worse, so what the fuck do I know anyhow?  I suppose “i know who i ain’t,” similar to bleed moxie in that regard.  Who I ain’t, is agreeable, whenever I gotta go back to change an automatically capitalized I back to a small one in situations like these, but i digress.  As I’ve always said, if you can limit my complaints to things outside of the music like the artwork, titles, or the semantics of writing, you’re probably in pretty damn good shape.  I don’t have any substantial beefs with “i know who i ain’t” – all-in-all, I feel like this one sits somewhere in the middle of the pack.  I don’t know that it’s the most memorable cut in the set, but I don’t think it has any glaring errors or anything I feel like bleed moxie could have done too much more with either…it’s satisfying, and that’s really all things ever need to be for the most part.  I like the drama present in the music, I like the performance from moxie…I’m a more mixed on the final production of this one particular tune, but ain’t necessarily hatin’ on it either…like I said, “i know who i ain’t” does enough right to secure a solid passing grade.

As he wraps up things with “we ain’t got too much left,” bleed moxie takes a moment to remind us of our own mortality and how fragile it is currently.  So…look…I think a couple things can be true when it comes to signature sounds and styles and whatnot.  On the one hand, you’ve gotta applaud the level of consistency you’ll find in a record like this, because from the time it started to the time it was over, you can tell that bleed moxie put the work in.  Like I said earlier on, comments that I still stand by at the end of the album, this is the best incarnation of the guy that I’ve personally heard so far to-date, bar none.  On the other hand, it can be that same consistency and signature sound that can make things feel a bit more similar than they should at times…and sometimes that can work against ya.  To his credit, I feel like bleed moxie is aware of that to a degree – musically, he’s compensated for the similarities in his vocals by switchin’ it up when it comes to the vibe of his sound or the addition of backing vocals etc. etc. – these moves become crucial, because he does have a very identifiable approach, rhythm, and method to the way that he raps.  For some, by the time they get to “we ain’t got too much left,” it’ll simply be more bleed moxie – but for those that have been ridin’ loud and proud from track one, it’s more of a good thing – you see what I’m saying?  It really just depends on whether or not what he does speaks to you on a personal level…if it does, chances are you’d be just as stoked to find another nine tracks and a whole second half.  If it doesn’t, chances are it sounds a little bit like more of the same from the man behind the mic.  From my perspective, I think there’s an argument to be made that he actually finishes this album off on its strongest track.  Whether you’re looking at the concept, the lyricism, or the larger point that bleed moxie is making with “we ain’t got too much left” – this is him at his insightful best, giving you a finale that’s intensely personal, raw, and real.  To me, this last cut is the blueprint forward.  Hopefully, if you were feeling like there’s a whole lot of bleed moxie inside this lineup of nine, you’ve still got the energy to hang with him for this last track at the end…I feel like this is the most that he lets you in on the inside of who the man on the m-i-c really is, and I want a whole lot more in this direction.  I think many of us will.  Sure there are similarities that he brings to just about everything he’s done here, or that he’s ever done as far as I’ve heard under his other names as well – but real evolution, be it in art, be it in life, or just about anything else…occurs in increments, not usually in leaps and bounds.  As “we ain’t got too much left” finished off the album, I feel like Mitchel proved he’s got so much more left than he’s shown us before…this final cut ended up feeling like he’s really about to head into the best years of his career.  Whatever time he’s got left, he’s made it clear that he’s gonna give it everything he’s got.

women’s society comes out officially at the start of summer on June 21st this year – make sure to find out more about bleed moxie and stay connected by visiting the official website at:

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