Photo By: Noah Nickel via Apple Music

Canadian and Juno Award-winning rapper Shad released his new album TAO, which provides good beats and rhymes to boot; a perfect listen to start off October.

Released Oct. 1, TAO consists of 12 songs with a total running time of 37 minutes. Listening to this album in one sitting will make it feel as if it was just one 37-minute song. The transitions between songs are smooth, but rarely does an album have such contrasting songs that fit so well together.

The importance of cover art for an album is not talked about enough, but Shad’s cover for TAO is worth admiring. The cover consists of an abstract combination of shapes and colours that match one another and leave the listener curious as to what sort of rhythm this album might contain. 

For rap fans, there are fast-paced songs with heavy rap verses such as “GOD,” “Work,” and “Body (No reason).” All of these usually follow slow and melody-focused songs, but the transition between them is well done and so nothing feels out of place.

Other songs focus on melody and smooth beats that carry soul singing choruses, such as “Out of Touch” featuring pHoneix Pagliacci. Her angelic chorus complements the tropical beats that Shad sings to. Pagliacci also appears on “Storm” and brings a calmness to another fast-paced song. 

The two shortest songs are “TAO Pt 1,” and “Garçon,” both being just over a minute long. These two songs are a great addition to the album, both serve as a checkpoint, either providing a breather after two fast-paced songs or preparing the listener for the grand finale. Each of the 12 songs sound like they fit in, but the album would be incomplete without these two.

Picking the must-listen-to songs from TAO is a difficult task, as they all work so well together. But for fans and casual listeners who may not be into rap, these six songs are worth giving a shot. They are unique in their own way, and any music lover might enjoy the beats and rhythm they provide:

“Slot Machines,” featuring Mah Moud, has an old-school hip-hop beat that makes it hard not to bop your head to. “Slow,” featuring Yung Tone, is perfectly described by its own name. The song is slow, but the verses maintain a solid beat that will keep the listener engaged. Describing “TAO Pt 2” in one word would be bright. The background beats make you picture a beacon of light that lifts some weight off the album for a few minutes. Both “Black Averageness,” and “Garçon,” match the style of Chance the Rapper’s songs, with the former having a soul feel and the latter deserving a second mention. Finally, “TAO Pt. 3” is the closing song to the album, and it provides a satisfying closure to the whole experience.

TAO receives four stars out of five, as I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. The main drawback it has is how superficial the lyrics are; deeper lyrics would have made the album better. But for anyone just looking to enjoy some good beats, this is an enjoyable album.