Brighter Future by Big Gigantic is an experiment with cohesion. Known for encompassing elements of different genres into their music, Big Gigantic turns Brighter Future into a chemistry set of musical elements. Some concoctions produce something explosive, while others unfortunately fizzle out.
First and foremost: Brighter Future is the only album I’ve ever listened to that puts the weakest songs upfront. Don’t get me wrong, the opening track “Odyssey, Pt.1” is a groovy electric Charon leading you across the river Funk, producing a sound you’ll be chasing throughout Brighter Future.
When there is little cohesion between Big Gigantic and the guest artist, you get an underproduced track. Suddenly, the featured vocalist is the main attraction with Big Gigantic playing a supporting role. These songs become truncated and repetitive, and you wish Big Gigantic would just do something, anything, to shake things up.
Take “The Little Things”, which has a classic, big band sound to go with the raspy stylings of Angela McCluskey. The EDM elements are present, with rises, drops, and wubs, but it feels tacked on when presented with the more traditional jazz sections. With these jazz sections untouched, “The Little Things” feels old-hat. Essentially, it’s one of those raspy-voiced big band pop songs that emerge from flapper mausoleums every once in a while, like Elle King or Duffy, but boring.
Sometimes, these guest artists push Big Gigantic out of the spotlight. For instance, “Miss Primetime (feat. Pell)” doesn’t sound like a Big Gigantic song — it sounds like a Pell song with some basic trumpet accompaniment. This track was the hardest part of Brightest Future to review, as it just drags on, becoming a legitimate struggle to not skip ahead.
Supplement Big Gigantic with an artist whom they have excellent chemistry with however, like frequent collaborator GRiZ, and the full power of Big Gigantic is realized on tracks like “C’mon”. Armed with barely a sentence of lyrics, the funky fusion that is Big GRiZ brings out the best of each artist on the sharpest track on Brightest Future. If anything, the quality of “C’mon” makes me wonder why Gramatik wasn’t present for a Big Grizmatik reunion.
Likewise, when there is good cohesion with the vocalist, you get “All of Me”. Here, Big Gigantic’s jazz sound reverts to a trap beat, with ROZES and Logic providing vocals and rap sections, respectively. This blending of styles produces a song that doesn’t sound like typical Big G, but is certainly worthy of their pedigree.
Essentially, the quality of a Brighter Future track hinges on the guest artist’s relative funk index. For instance, “High Maintenance” is an amazing track, with a talking guitar, a baseline so dirty you can’t not strut to it, and the incomprehensibly funky fresh lyrics of Waka Flocka Flame rounding it all out.
Speaking of funk, “Bring The Funk Back”, is one of the best EDM tracks on the album. A Phish style guitar line gives way to an electric banshee wail ripped right out of a Knife Party jamboree. It’s a song that divides Big Gigantic against itself, a maelstrom of funk and EDM that booms and swells into an instant classic.
On the other side of the spectrum, there’s “I’ve Gotta Know”, which feels like a rehashing. It’s a very jam band song, with solo sessions, cosmic rises — standard Big Gigantic protocol. If you’re a Big Gigantic fan, you’ve heard “I’ve Gotta Know” before in one way or another.
Brighter Future is at its best when an intricate lattice of sound styles inexplicably flow together, with “No Apologies” serving as the prime example. Natalie Cressman‘s voice is autotuned by just a whisper, as it is gradually weaved into an perpetually building beat.
Ultimately, the few good tracks on Brighter Future are glimpses of the auditorial utopia that the album strives towards: a musical landscape reaching across all genres to produce a single dope tune. I just wish that Big Gigantic had acknowledged that some artists just produced a superior collaboration, focusing on producing tracks with these worthy few. Instead, the medley of artists present on Brighter Future dilute the quality of that pure Big Gigantic sound.