Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 5/24/13
I make my living (primarily) by writing about athletes, and Royce White makes his living (primarily) by being an athlete, but nobody is just one thing, and that is why now you are reading a music review written by a sportswriter of an album (possibly) made by a professional basketball player. Confused yet? So am I. White was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the No. 16 overall pick in last year's draft, but he didn't play in any games for the NBA team, spending the season instead with its D-league affiliate. White himself is an interesting character with a worldview all his own. A sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, White is a vocal advocate for those with mental illnesses, often observing what he perceives as injustices in the way people like him are treated. He had some highly publicized disagreements with the Rockets over that. None of that is relevant to the quality of his music, but it nonetheless seems important to point out. I should also point out that I am not attempting to position myself as some kind of music critic. I'm just a guy. So about the music well, it's pretty good, if that's all you're wanting to know. And I have to tell you that I was not expecting it to be pretty good. I know White plays guitar, so I was not surprised that this was a rock record, but I was surprised that to my untrained ear it would have passed for something that was on Top 40 radio in about 1997. I also don't even know if he plays any instruments on this record or what his role was, because the band's Internet materials offer no clues as to who is in the band. I asked White about that via Twitter. @tullycorcoran: @highway_30 Do you play instruments on this album? The band wants to be anonymous, I can't say who is or even isn't in it. Royce White (@Highway_30) May 24, 2013 So that makes this a review of a record by an anonymous band with some kind of connection to Royce White. The recording quality and competence of the musicians is good enough that I don't hear anything wrong with it. The music obviously was recorded with pop sensibilities in mind, and several of the songs are legitimately catchy (even though parts of the album were a little screamy for my personal tastes). It's just that something about it reminded me of sitting in the back of an older friend's Grand Prix listening to Third Eye Blind or that song "Your Woman" by White Town, or something like that. It doesn't quite sound like either of those things, but it would have been at home coming on the radio between them. That's overly reductive, of course, but this is a music review by a sportswriter. As mentioned, it is unclear exactly what was White's role in the production of this album, which is called "MAMF" by a band called Me And My Friends. White has operated a music label since he was in college, so this is not coming out of nowhere. We just can't pinpoint exactly where it's coming from. I asked White if he was the producer or if he could share anything about his role in the project. "I wish I could," he said. @tullycorcoran: @highway_30 Are you the producer? Can you say what your role was? I wish I could, trust me. Royce White (@Highway_30) May 24, 2013 The album release, insofar as I can tell, is a grassroots campaign. White on Friday announced it by tweeting out a link to iammusic.commamf, the Web site for the band where you can download the album for free. The site appears to be still under construction; the blog is "coming soon," the "About" section reveals nothing about the identity of the band members, and the "Artists" page is just a photo of a notebook with some nicknames written in it. On Twitter, White has described this as MAMF's debut album. A Twitter profile for the band (@MAMF_Music) sent its first tweet Wednesday and at the time of this writing has nine followers (including me). So now we're at the part where I give an assertive opinion as to whether or not you should take advantage of this free download opportunity. I would say so. I would say you'll learn something about Royce White you didn't know. Or maybe you won't.
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