I was stoked when I found out Milo was releasing his debut album, a double EP, that involves the theme of day versus night and other overarching messages that go along with that concept. He recently signed to HellFyre Club that Busdriver and Open Mike Eagle are both signed to (how cool is that?!), so naturally I had high expectations for this new release. Personally, I really enjoyed Milo takes Baths, his last release, mainly because he rapped over the instrumental glitchy-electronic beats of the artist Baths, who I happen to enjoy quite a bit. Though I enjoyed this album, I felt slightly underwhelmed by it when compared to his previous release I Wish My Brother Rob was Here, which seemed more consistent in the sense that it was varied and flowed effortlessly. Milo takes Baths has some killer tracks on it, but was too short and lacking. Milo makes up for this on Things that Happen at Day/Things that Happen at Night by a long shot. I’m going to try and review this double EP without transforming too much into fangirl mode.
Things that Happen at Day dropped first and my initial reaction basically was love at first listen. The beats were right on point, the lyrics as cleverly written as ever, and Milo sounds more confident than before, like he is proud of his new sound and still maintains his “Modest Milo” swag while showing off how well his rapping skills have developed since his last mixtape. “Folk-Metaphysics” stood out to me immensely. Milo raps about a to-do list like, “I should eat more Fig Newtons and sign petitions for Women Right’s Movements.” I also love the hook on that track, “I won’t make promises I can’t keep, which is why I won’t make promises ever. And when I write letters to those ex-girlfriends, that’s going to be the header.” Also, did I mention how sick the beat is on this song? The guitar sounds mildly bluesy and the electronic part that jumps in makes the track really come alive. I love how Milo sings in reference to the song “One Headlight” by the Wallflowers. The strings on the song “Legends of the Hidden Temple” are absolutely beautiful. Overall, I was thoroughly impressed by this first EP because the beats, references, and messages were all so solid and it felt like I was listening to the same old Milo with a fresh new sound.
As for Things that Happen at Night, I immediately took notice of the references throughout the EP. Sailor Moon, Harry Potter, Gus Haynes (The Wire), and several others are spit out on the table along with other insightful ideas that Milo is known to spit about in his music. He samples the Warpaint song “Billie Holiday” on the track “Monologion” and that blew me away at first listen. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too hot on the beat used in the track “The Gus Haynes Cribbage League” because the generic high-hat beat seemed all too familiar and I was surprised to hear Milo using a beat that sounded so radio-friendly. However, the lyrics, of course, were so substantial and as soon as Busdriver spit out his rollercoaster-esque flow, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (for Schopenhauer)” is probably one of Milo’s best songs yet, in my opinion. He is as philosophical as ever and the Middle-Eastern vocals that are sampled add a transcendental feel to it. Finally, there is a hidden track at the very end of this song that closes the album. Milo is rapping along with Open Mike Eagle about a pizza party with all of their friends that somehow involves Gameboys, dancing to Notorious, and someone stealing the pesto spinach garlic pizza slices. It’s just a goofy track, but the beat is so uplifting and fun. A good way to end such a captivating EP.
I know this has been nothing but positive feedback about this new double EP, but as a critical music listener I must offer some elements of this release that I feel weren’t implemented as effectively as they could have been. Ultimately, I do enjoy how insightful Milo is with his philosophical constructs that lead him on a search to find objective truth, his political ideologies, his literary references, and the many geek culture references that he tends to tip his hat to. According to Milo, this double EP has an intended theme: “exploring duality and responsibility. it is unavoidably obtuse, overwhelmingly self-important and I am not sorry.” I’d agree with this, but I have to say that in terms of both EPs I’m not sure exactly how they are too different in the themes they portray. As a whole, I’m sold on every track and I love this thing to death. But when it comes to differentiating Things that Happen at Day and Things that Happen at Night, I’m at a loss because it seems difficult to decipher. I’m not trying to state that the mere concept of this release is too overwhleming or anything; I just feel as though there wasn’t a significant difference between the two EPs that would create such a lightness versus darkness concept of some sort. In other words, the EPs sound great as a whole, but I’m not sure how they’re intended to stand alone because separately, they do not seem to resonate as strongly because they aren’t too drastically different to me.
Needless to say, this double EP was everything I could ask for from Milo and more. I graduated with a philosophy degree which is why I appreciate all of the philosophical ideas that he throws at the listeners, but I think that anyone could relate to Milo regardless, because of how open he is and how much he references our current society. If you like underground hip hop or clever lyrics, this dude is your man. I would highly recommend this to anyone.