The marijuana loving Houstonian Devin The Dude has never been one to portray a reckless man with wild abandon on the microphone. On the contrary, he has always been a simple man looking for peace with a message to give and some weed for relief. Such is especially true on his eighth studio album, One For The Road, a meaningful LP where he spends much time exhorting his fans to take action to make life easier, no easy task, but a goal seemingly reachable considering the valuable advice Devin doles out here. To decompress, he inserts some skits with comic relief and a few tunes for all the lady lovers and green smokers out there.
Courtesy of Tha Bizness, blues saxophone and gentle piano grace the first track, "I'm Just Gettin' Blowed," an emotionally contemplative song that allows Devin to warm up his casual yet striking flow to address his gonja habits, disregard for naysayers, and unlucky love life. The next four songs starting with "Fresh Air" inspire, motivate, and teach us how to grow up and mature as Devin uses all the lessons he has learned about overcoming mental obstacles to advocate personal responsibility and positive thinking. "Probably Should Have" is Dev's lovesick anthem that also works as a quick reference guide on how to be considerate of our better halves. It is not a guarantee of courtship success, but it surely reminds us to be more sensitive of the mental and emotion needs of our partners. Next begins the first of three "Your Favorite Radio Station" skits, goofy moments of flipping through radio channels, experiencing all the oddball personalities on the open airwaves.
Fans of romantic soul singers will dig the suave "Hear The Sound" with Devin singing it out about his favorite times with the ladies. "Rearview" is the victory song and king of the "we will overcome" jams on this album. The title track, "One For The Road," rides along as a smooth, downtempo track with a well blended melody. Devin invites his Odd Squad compadres on "I Hope We Don't Get Too Drunk" to rap it up about their adventures being touring musicians. The next two songs get a bit more artsy as Dev condemns crack cocaine and praises marijuana on "Please Don't Smoke Cheese," and holds an old school throwback for "Herb The Nation" with its robotically simple feel and old school flows about weed delivered by your very own Coughee Brothaz.
On the surface, One For The Road may seem consistent with and indistinguishable from all of Devin The Dude's previous albums, but the major imparting of wisdom done here by Devin makes it stand apart in a big way. The production has a tendency to drag on with an overly artificial veneer, but the more organic sounds encountered in the first half help to compensate for this shortcoming. Devin is true to himself, he gets creative, and ultimately this pays dividends for him.