The Brave (like most of Tom's work) is a political and controversial album and there is no denying that. Tom's music has a specific target market, and is very polarizing. This makes reviewing the music itself a little more challenging, but not impossible to do accurately. I will be avoiding criticism or praise on the grounds of the political content and allow the listener to decide how it makes them feel for themselves. I also won't be comparing this to past albums.
The opening track is highly political/identarian material, some joke bars, and hard aggressive beats. Other political songs on the album take a boy to "Whiteboyz" by allowing it to be the "feature song" of the album. "New World Order" and "Free World" don't make an effort to compete with the joke bars and aggression of "Whiteboyz", instead trying to each come into their own sound and style.
The album has a lot of themes about being strong, bouncing back from hardships, and ignoring critics, aside from the usual politics.
Adam Calhoun offers his bassy voice and slow enunciated verbal style as usual, to contrast Tom's faster lyricism and tenor vocals. The contrast in the tone of their voices is shown best in the less aggressive tracks where Tom can show his tenor voice more, such as in "Never Gonna Come Down", "Revenge", and "Let Me Go". These songs, even including "In God We Trust" which is a little more political, have done a good job of defining the album as more than just "angry politics and liberal jokes". I enjoyed each of these tracks.
"Fire Emojis" and "Smoke" stood out to me, as I found these tracks were more "for fun" tracks for the fans, since they lack the political punch and the aggression to be considered very controversial, and did not explore any form of emotional vulnerability either. "Smoke" is probably the better of the two, because of the unique instrumentals that give the listener a feeling that they are kicking up their feet in a smoker's lounge, while "Fire Emojis" simply expresses classical grit, or toughness.
Overall I found the album had a healthy balance of melodies, and could appreciate that it wasn't that aggressive, but still strong. There is a place for vulnerability and weakness in music, but it is not exposed much in this album, which uses a variety of sounds, and voices, to express strength and resilience overall.
I give the album a 3.5 / 5, but it was really close between 3.5 and 4. The album could get a higher score easily if there were more big hits on the album than just Whiteboyz, or if they explored more themes/subjects in the album.