One of the best things about the hip-hop duo Atmosphere is how articulate rapper Slug is. One of the worst things about When Life Gives You Lemons is how an army of overpowering instrumentals, led by louder-than-necessary snapping snare drums, negates whatever advantages clear vocals usually bring to an Atmosphere track.
With the music out in front of the vocals, otherwise noteworthy beats grow mundane, rarely changing, which further diminishes the listening experience. Adding to the monotony of the album, most songs carry a dark, ominous tone; songs simply mesh into each other. The album lacks strong distinction among the individual tracks.
D.J.-producer Ant provides a few brighter tracks, but they are not at all upbeat, catchy, or impressive enough to heal the damage that the rest of the album does. The album earns points in the fact that these few tracks are fun to listen to, but overall, Atmosphere missed with this album, and must look to future efforts for redemption.