In our boozy album reviews, Miles Bolland expertly pairs wine, beer, or spirits for an album we can’t stop listening to. Atlanta rap duo EarthGang’s recently released full-length album, Mirrorland, was a new album we couldn’t wait to drink to—and now we can. Turn on Mirrorland and drink up with Saint Audio’s boozy review.
“LaLa Challenge”: I spent the entirety of this song trying to pair something with the lyrics, the beat or just something. So many competing elements that mesh so impressively within the music pull me in a plethora of directions. So instead of trying to match it, I decided to go with something that would complement it. With all the flavor from the music, your best bet is to break the pairing down to something simple. As such, crack open a Pacifico and enjoy a delicious, crisp, cold beer.
“Up”: I’ll be honest—I have no idea where this pairing came from, yet it popped into my head instantly, so guess what? We’re going for it. Kir Royale, a mix of crème de cassis and champagne. Also, if you don’t throw some red fruit into the glass, you’re not trying hard enough. It’s fruity, smooth and just good—seems to fit to me.
“Top Down”: Again, I’d go for a crisp beer with this one. It leaves you something to enjoy in the background while you focus on and enjoy the music. You don’t want anything that will take your attention away from aural canvas as it were.
“Bank”: Right, bear with me, I feel a bottle of vodka is what you need here. Don’t drink the whole thing, you just have to be holding as you dance—drink responsibly. My go-to vodka is Ogilvy, which as far as I’m aware isn’t available in the US (though I’m willing to swap it for a good BBQ or Mexican place here in the UK). Ogilvy is smooth, flavourful and is one of the best vodkas available on the market today.
“Proud of U (feat. Young Thug)”: Straight in with this song from EarthGang, I’d go for something tropical and fruity. A piña colada would go wonderfully with “Proud of U” in my mind. Even better, perhaps a Mai Tai would go down a treat. There’s a slightly more chilled, yet upbeat, element to this song that in my head equates to summer, sun and tropical cocktails.
“This Side”: Coming down from the previous song I felt deeper flavours were what was required. I found myself torn between a good espresso martini or an Old Fashioned. Something darker, deeper and much more of a sipping cocktail, but with a life and vibrancy that comes from a well made one.
“Swivel”: I don’t know why this idea came so quickly to mind, but I’m going to say it: Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Now the reason I’m leaving out a producer is simple—all you’re going to need is a good one. If it’s properly made, you’ll know what I mean when you taste it. It’ll provide a background depth but its lighter flavours will dance across the music (and yes, that’s something I usually say when pairing with food, but the comment stands).
“Avenue”: Another one that gave me an instant idea, but it evolved as I listened to the song: tequila,Given one of my favourites is Villa Lobos, I’m recommending that. So sip some before the song picks up, then toss in some orange juice to really get the party going.
“Tequila (feat. T-Pain)”: The name of this song and my recommendation for the previous one may seem poorly matched, but it’s not. It’s all part of my master plan, so buckle up. EarthGang’s “Tequila” surprisingly makes me think of Mezcal. It is an interesting twist when made in an Old Fashioned, or you can serve it straight with some sliced citrus fruit for a burst of flavour. The funky twist will pair impressively with the music, as far as I’m concerned.
“Blue Moon”: The title makes me think of the beer of the same name. However, unlike the beer, I like this song. Pour yourself some sangria, get yourself up, and dance. I suggest something fruity, something funky, and something with a kick—but make it something you truly enjoy. Let’s be honest, if you’re anything like me, you only get to enjoy this once in a blue moon anyway.
“Trippin (feat. Kehlani)”: This one was simple for me: a smooth bourbon, with an emphasis on smooth. I won’t get into flavours with this one. Everyone likes different things in a bourbon, and those can contribute to what you find personally define as smooth. As such, pour your favourite bourbon, relax, and enjoy. Good music and good bourbon—what’s not to love?
“Stuck (feat. Arin Ray)”: EarthGang’s style here to me screams Bordeaux. The way the whole song flows together and intertwines brings one of the great wine regions to the front of my mind. Something with depth that’ll give you a range of flavours as it moves across the tongue and with a good, lengthy finish. As such, I lean towards Margaux, but a good Saint-Emilion I feel would work wonderfully as well.
“Fields (feat. Malik)”: Well, I feel I kind of screwed myself on this one. While playing “Fields,” what jumped forward was what I recommended above—a Bordeaux. So, here’s what we’re going to do: whatever you didn’t pick above, pick for this one. It’s smooth, it’s got these layers that open up as the song moves along, and simply put, Margaux and Saint-Emilion work their thing here too.
“Wings”: I find myself listening to this over and over, not because I don’t know what to pair it with, but to simply bask in the song itself. All I’ll say is to go with that thing that you enjoy that’s simple, but done very well. Something that allows you to focus on the music, but a drink that brings enough to the table to allow you to savor it. Find yourself some friends, or simply find a comfy spot and relax, and give “Wings” a listen with your beverage in hand.
I think this may be my most diverse music pairing to date, but there were so many facets to this album both lyrically and musically that I wanted to try and represent them all. It’s a task I feel in some small way I’ve done, but of course, opinions are so subjective. With that said, should you find yourself with a glass in your hand and Mirrorland playing, hopefully you can see where I’m coming from. – Miles Bolland
Listen to EarthGang’s new album Mirrorland on Spotify now.