Give The Drummer Some by Travis Barker
A mixed bag of drum-infused tunes
Travis Barker is best known as the drummer to pop punk trio Blink 182. Give The Drummer Some is about as far away from Blink as you can get. Needless to say, most fans of the band will not like this album. That’s not to say it’s bad, just on a completely different end of the musical spectrum. Barker wasn’t the original drummer in Blink 182. After two albums Barker replaced the far inferior Scott Raynor. Barker’s role in Blink 182 has been mainly one thing, to play drums. The principal songwriters are Mark Hoppus and Tom Delonge. With Barker’s long expressed interest in other styles of music, specifically hip hop, it’s no surprise that this album sounds so little like Barker’s most famous project.
Drummer boasts a large list of guest musicians, mostly from the rap genre. They range from currently popular acts like Lil Wayne, to rappers who haven’t seen much radio play lately, like Busta Rhymes. There are also cameos from guitar players Slash and Tom Morello. Though an impressive roster, if for nothing else than its quantity of musicians, the lack of uniformity actually detracts from the album. When listening to Drummer, it’s hard to hear the tracks as a unified album, as it often sounds more like a mix CD.
Barker produced or co-produced the majority of the tracks and he was responsible for most of the music, but with the different co-producers, the songs tend to sound more like the featured artists than a beat that could specifically be attributed to Barker. Even on his own album, Barker feels more like a drummer than a songwriter or producer. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In case there was any doubt before, this album proves Barker is an incredibly skilled drummer, probably one of the best.
The beats are often impressive. With very few exceptions, most rap is made with the aid of drum machines. Here, real drums play the dominant role. The beats are often intricate and sometimes it’s easy to forget there is a real person behind the kit. There are some impressive fills, but they sometimes feel a little out of place, if only because hip hop is usually devoid of such drumming. Throughout the album Barker lets the listener know the drums are important, after all, it’s his album.
Most of the artists who appear on Drummer have had their share of radio hits. It wouldn’t be surprising if one of these tracks got some airplay. However, none stand out as a single. Some of the songs are strong, but none of them feel powerful enough to really make an impact on listeners. Then again, this is Barker’s first full-length album. Perhaps the tracks will get stronger if he tries for a second outing. But radio play probably isn’t Barker’s goal here. He has had plenty of that with Blink 182. This is Barker showing off and playing the kind of music he enjoys listening to. And at that, he mostly succeeds.