ALBUM REVIEW :: NF – Mansion

Many artists gain attention slowly over time, but that is not how NF has operated. NF (Nate Feuerstein) came out of nowhere with his self-named debut EP last year and made some serious noise on Billboard. Now that he’s got the attention, he needs to make the most of it. That is the goal of Mansion, his debut album. The name of the album acts as a metaphor. His thoughts and memories are rooms locked inside the “mansion” of his mind, and the music shows how he struggles to live in the Mansion.

The pre-release, “Intro”, has some absolutely epic rapping. I promise I’m not insane for mentioning an album intro. NF’s quick style paired with the intense drumming make the track a perfect start to the album. Seriously, the rapping is epic throughout the entire track and that makes it a really good track in itself, which is rare from an intro.

The two biggest hits from the NF EP, “All I Have” and “Wake Up”, show up in the album. They’re not new, but they definitely deserve a place in the album. “All I Have” features an amazing flow that shamelessly shows off NF’s skill. He explains how music is his life, and he struggles with whether it is his calling or not. The cool beat plus some smooth transitions between awesome fast segments and more spoken or singing parts make it an awesome track. “Wake Up” is a really epic track as well. I really enjoy NF’s more intense, almost angry, rapping transitioning to the soft start to the refrain. The music video is amazing as well for this great track.

The next track, “Mansion” (feat. Fleurie), is brilliantly put together. The refrain is absolutely beautiful, “These walls are a blank expression, My mind is a home I’m trapped in, And it’s only inside this mansion”. NF doesn’t use many features, but Fleurie adds something to the track. The entire feel of this track is deep. He speaks about his struggles such as physical abuse, regrets, trust issues, finding who he is, and problems with his mom. He locks the rooms so that people can’t see who he is, because they might leave or hurt him once they know what he locks away. Fear fills the mansion, and he can only get rid of it by opening the mansion. Sound wise, NF works the slower storytelling style well. The listener can feel his sadness and frustration throughout the track with his changing tone as well as the background music. “Mansion” is an amazing track in NF continuing to explain who he is.

The second pre-release, “Wait”, is a much different style than the majority of his sound. The majority of the track is NF singing, and he has shown multiple times that he is a great singer. The focus more on singing fits with the mood of the song, which is about his struggle with the end of a relationship. The hook is awesome with a cool beat to back it up. The one rap verse is placed well to not change the pace of the song too much as the piano and beat fit both the singing and rapping well. Just enough bass only makes the track even better. It’s a little different style but another great track.

“Face It” is another track with a great hook. The track is a little slower overall, and honestly the rapping is a little disappointing. There is very little sound outside of the lyrics during large parts of his verses and something seems to be missing. When the beat does kick in it sounds epic though. My favorite lines come from the chorus, “Yes I know that I’m the only person that can change me, Maybe that’s why I ain’t changing, That’s why I ain’t changing, I got too much on my mind and I don’t know how to face it”. Overall it is another good track.

“Motivation” is a definite pump-up track. NF’s intensity keeps the track going strong into the epic chorus. The cool beat from the drum and guitar during the chorus is just plain awesome. The rapping isn’t really anything special, but it is still just as intense, making this a real cool track to listen to.

The next track, “Notepad”, resumes NF’s awesome quick rapping. The speaking stoppages split up the track well and allow for slight sound changes. An awesome beat matches perfectly with NF’s flow to be the best part of the track as there isn’t a refrain. His great rapping skill makes this a great track. The only disappointment is that the track is pretty much over at the 2:30 mark, with a bit of talking and then just the beat for almost a minute.

Another deep track that is absolutely beautiful is “Paralyzed”. The chorus is absolutely amazing. NF again has great singing that just has me playing this track on repeat. The intense rapping for a short period fits in perfectly, again showing his frustration, “I’m paralyzed, I’m scared to live but I’m scared to die, And if life is pain then I buried mine a long time ago, But it’s still alive”. The piano, the singing, the rapping, the beat, the tone, everything meshes together perfectly in this track and it’s definitely my favorite one on the album.

While “Paralyzed” is the problem, “I’ll Keep On” (feat. Jeremiah Carlson) is the answer. This is a much lighter song with just the acoustic guitar and piano in the background most of the song, but the track doesn’t need the intense beat and bass. The perfect placement after “Paralyzed” just makes it even better with the hope from God that is the response to him feeling empty. I can’t pick a quote from this one, because every line of both of NF’s verses are terrific.

“Can You Hold Me” (feat. Britt Nicole) is the final track on the album, and the track finishes it off right. Britt Nicole and NF pair so well to create a really cool sound. The track is another call to God as he feels alone. There isn’t a ton of rapping, but the track is great with the small amount that is there. The hook keeps this song as a memorable one, and is a great track to finish a great album.

This album is amazing as a story and as an album. NF truly is showing who he is by opening up the Mansion. Every track is personal to him, and that makes every track seem like something special. Each track has its own meaning in the bigger story. The album sounds amazing too, and the combination of meaning and sound is absolutely terrific. I had already believed NF was the next big thing in CHH with his intense rapping and great singing voice. He’s come out of nowhere and succeeded very quickly, and I’m not sure he’s becoming the next big thing anymore. He may already be there. This is definitely an album everyone should grab!

US is available for sale on iTunes and other digital retailers.

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