Oftentimes when an anticipated album fails to live up to the expectations set by the songs that were previously released on the net, I will do what I can to salvage it by creating my own version of the album for my own listening pleasure in sort of a “1.5” remake. In the case of Lupe Fiasco’s ‘Lasers’, I was disappointed in the album (read my ‘Lasers’ review here) but I felt it could still be saved. There were lots of songs that hit the net before its release that were supposed to be on the album but were eventually left off as well as a bunch of loose tracks so I took off the weak links on the album, replaced them with the other songs and placed them in the tracklist where they fit best. You can view the original ‘Lasers’ tracklist here.
What I came up with was an album that I think is still reasonably poppy enough that it could make waves in the mainstream while feeling more cohesive and far better in quality than what was on the retail version of ‘Lasers’ by simply replacing five of the twelve tracks. Excluding the bonus track, it’s still twelve songs long and the running time is about the same as the retail version (almost to the minute, which was coincidental) but it sounds and flows much better as an album than what we eventually got. This is what I think Lupe would have wanted ‘Lasers’ to be. This is ‘Lasers 1.5: Vince’s Mix’.
- Letting Go feat. Sarah Green
- Words I Never Said feat. Skylar Gray
- Till I Get There
- I’m Beaming
- Love Letter To The Beat feat. Alicia Keys
- LASERS Manifesto (Interlude)
- Beautiful Lasers (2Ways) feat. MDMA
- Coming Up feat. MDMA
- Go To Sleep
- State Run Radio feat. Matt Mahaffey
- All Black Everything
- Shining Down feat. Matthew Santos
- SLR (Super Lupe Rap) (Bonus Track)
While I took off The Show Goes On, which is what would eventually be the lead single, I replaced it with I’m Beaming, which was the original lead single before all these release troubles. As the centerpiece to the album, I added the LASERS Manifesto from the ‘Enemy of the State’ mixtape, which is normally a no-no for me when I do these things, especially since it’s only an interlude which I usually hate. However, I feel that this 20 second interlude represents what the original ‘Lasers’ and every other album that is shelved by major labels stood for. The message is so central to the story of ‘Lasers’ that it only feels right to include it. As well, the beat is a nice teaser to the finale of the album, Shining Down, which acts as a bookend for the album. Although the original conclusion, Never Forget You was fairly catchy, Shining Down felt like a more fitting closer. In addition, Never Forget You didn’t feel right anywhere else except at the end so I cut it out completely for the sake of cohesiveness. I also added Love Letter To The Beat so that the big-name collaboration would be with Alicia Keys rather than John Legend.
I placed Go To Sleep after Coming Up because they both used piano and segued nicely into each other. In addition, it’s not very radio friendly compared to Coming Up, which made it the perfect transition into the following song, State Run Radio. Lastly, I added SLR (Super Lupe Rap) as a bonus song because it’s sonically so different from the rest of the songs on the “album” that it didn’t fit anywhere within the album itself. But it’s so dope and generated such a buzz when it released that I had to include it as a bonus.
If you have these loosies that hit the net and was disappointed with ‘Lasers’, I strongly recommend trying my version. Even though seven songs were from the album itself, the replacement of some songs with tracks that sounded more cohesive both sonically and lyrically made a hell of a difference. This proves that ‘Lasers’ was not a total failure, it just needed a little shuffle and retooling to make it a great album.