now you may be thinking, ‘blackbear. really? that basic sad-boi, try-hard artist?’ yes, him. ever since fellow classmate jumana schmidtty introduced me to his music in freshman year, i’ve been into his neo-emo pop music. today, i will be giving my take on the highlights of his new album, ANONYMOUS, which was released last friday.
let’s start with the basic skeleton of the album. there are approximately eighteen tracks, and he’s released one track every two weeks since valentine’s day. more than half are explicit, a surprise considering all his previous albums have been 100% explicit. while blackbear usually maintains an all-lowercase stylization, ANONYMOUS happens to be all caps. this is the beginning of where he went wrong. as you can see below, i only liked a couple of his songs.
1. “ SWEAR TO GOD”
this song might be my favorite in the album. again, blackbear talks about his struggle with drugs and his previous relationship (surprise: he cheated on her)! the vibrant string introduction really drew me into this song. he also sings the entire song. the bridge is solid, and he effectively uses a bit of autotune.
2. “ITS ALL GONNA BURN”
this is a typical blackbear song. i love the mild transcendental vibe of the beginning of the song as it reminds of the usual intergalactic rnb music I listen to. the slower tempo of the song accentuates the build-up to the chorus. the addition of the bass and drums pleasantly surprised me. of course, the lyrics reflect angsty themes.
3. “1 SIDED LOVE”
blackbear released this song a couple weeks ago, and i’ve recommended it in a previous article.
4. “DEAD BALLOONS”
another song about blackbear’s failures during previous relationships. while it still has typical pop song elements, the ending resembles a typical blackbear song.
5. “TOO CLOSE”
this has a mix of blackbear “rapping” and “singing”. i put quotations around rapping as his flow sounds very similar to other rappers I’ve listened to. aside from that, the immediate introduction to the treble and the later addition of flare, kick and xylophone-sounding instrumental all combine to create a full-bodied song.
now it’s time to discuss his new version of NYLA, which is the last track on this album. the original version of the song “N Y L A” was released more than four years ago. based on the new version, the former version sounds like a stripped version. the original version has a slower tempo and doesn’t include intense beats and other unnecessary additions. the stripped version better fits the content of the lyrics, which is about his longing for his lover. because “N Y L A” (the original) is one of my favorite blackbear songs, I am extremely disappointed that he would add this new version to his album. i think it discredits the beauty of the original version.
overall, this album was VERY disappointing (you know it’s serious when i use upper case letters). blackbear supports a popular idea that I, as well as many others, support: once artists gain a certain amount of fame, the music they produce becomes worse. the fact that there are no features on this album may contribute to the album’s shortfalls. because no artists are featured, other artists can’t add their own ideas and share their opinions. to top it all off, what is most disappointing is that blackbear is going on tour, and he is NOT coming to DC!! last year when he came to tour, his concert was 18+, and I could not attend. i guess I am not missing out though as this album was below mediocre.