J. Cole, ‘Cheer Up’ – Song Review
'Cheer Up' by J. Cole isn't an anthem about keeping your head up. It's actually a sad tune, erected on a mechanized, machine-style beat that loops throughout and he spews some venom at several people. It's a pessimistic ode to the suckage of life and about how there is always a dark cloud overpowering any silver lining.
The most disturbing and emotionally jarring lyric of the song is "Yeah, I wake up in the morning and I ask myself / Is life worth living? / Should I blast myself?"
There are no goes-down-easy lyrics and it's provocative in a manner incredibly similar to that of Eminem. He raps about being "raised with rats and roaches" and even talks about his mom, rapping, "My own mother / Yeah I love her / But things I heard as a child under my covers / Left me with scars / It was hard to see her suffer."
After dropping verses about the dirty business of life, he gets vulnerable in the choruses, singing, "Even through the joy I feel the pain / Even in the sun I feel the rain / Even when I'm high I feel the lows / Cuz it's all I know" and "Getting high just to fight the lows / Cuz it's all I know." He expresses an almost fragile voice here, which a trait we often witness in an Eminem song: Super harsh, angry verses, somewhat softer and more contemplative choruses. It's a winning formula for both J. and of course Em.
On the song, J.Cole allows for no filter and no censor. There is no sparing of one's feelings. The song strikes a raw nerve.
J. Cole will 'Cole World: The Sidelines Story' on Sept. 27.
Listen to J. Cole, 'Cheer Up'