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Chance the Rapper is back and more hopeful than ever with The Big Day, a persistently happy, semi-concept album about his recent marriage. His opening line—“If you blink you might miss it”—instructs us that this album is all about moments: seizing them and joyfully inhabiting them. Such euphoria is to be expected. An album about newlywed bliss from hip hop’s premiere proponent of exuberance should be joyous. Yet The Big Day’s hopefulness is a unique blend of celebration and invitation. While most rap artists chaperone their listeners to life’s darkest valleys (which is good and necessary), The Big Day mostly takes us to the mountaintop, where the hope-filled view and vibe are contagious.
It doesn’t take long for The Big Day to invite listeners into its hopeful possibility. The second song, “Do You Remember,” is a dreamy, melodic anthem (featuring Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard) that literally asks us to remember the happy summers of your youth. As we ponder our own past, Chance explodes into a joyful ode to Chicago summers, alongside early, sentimental memories of his marriage. For Chance, nostalgia, whether dated or recent, is not a vehicle for regret but for reflective celebration. The Big Day immediately establishes itself as a marker of moments (marriage, memories, covenantal love), which then for the listeners become moments of...
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