I have a confession to make. As much as I was a blog rat from 2008-2012, I’ve never listened to Odd Future (or Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All). I had no desire for Tyler the Creator or Earl Sweatshirt. The first album I listened to by their affiliates were Frank Ocean (nostalgia,ULTRA) and The Internet (Purple Naked Ladies). I always felt that their non-rap acts had stronger appeal for me but the first time I heard The Internet, I was addicted.
The first song I heard was Love Song-1 and I was enchanted by an angelic voice in a 1:29 sec song. I was shocked by the emotions I felt and how much I just wanted to hear the rest of the story. I put this directly on a playlist and let the vocalist, Syd tha Kyd lull me to sleep. I listened to Purple Naked Ladies, enjoyed it, but didn’t really connect until their second album, Feel Good. Feel Good was the neo-soul, lush instrumental, sunrise album that I wanted to wake up to during the summer. It was everything I wanted from an album that shocked me coming from the same camp as the shock rapper I avoided for so long. Ego Death rounded out the trio of albums with a little more funk, experimental sound, coming into their own musically.
Guess how surprised I was when I found out that since 2016, at least four projects have been released by individual Internet members (I could have missed more) with Patrick Paige II, Matt Martians, Steve Lacy, and Syd pulling up the rear in February with Fin. Each album has its own merits but Syd’s album was building the most anticipation and visibility. The day the album dropped, I downloaded it, jumped in the shower, and soaked up the goodness. I was amazed.
Syd is too cool for me. Her lyrics aren’t outstanding but her voice is the most hypnotic thing I’ve heard in a long time. In fact, if someone else sung this, it probably would have been really boring but Syd makes anything sound great. Yet, her voice and the production are so amazing that the album easily has been my favorite R&B album of the year so far.
The album felt different from the other Internet projects but familiar. The album starts with Shake Em Off, a slow, defiant, lazy song that sounds like watching the sunset while purposely not caring about curfew. An early favorite is the clearly Aaliyah & Timbo influenced Know. It is ridiculously danceable and perfect to boost any moods. No Complaints drips sing-swag rap that is taken directly from the West Coast for a little over a minute and switches to the smoothest pre-party song since Ego Death with Nothing to Something.
Nothing to Something leads right into a proverbial night of good times with All About Me, Syd’s ode to her friends with another almost vintage-Timbo sounding beat. She’s saying things that you will hear from any other rapper but it just sounds better from her. Smile More is a sultry, smooth, slow burning track for your special someone without being vulgar or trite. Got Her Own is a dedicated track to women not easily impressed by the flashy or braggadocio. The beat sounds like it was taken from a Travis Scott album but once again, I’d rather listen to her.
Drown in It is another seductive track where she is taking her time with her girlfriend. It’s extremely short as to not get too vulgar and gently blends into a new slow jam song for the parties, Body. Body is reminiscent of Ciara’s Promise or Kerry Hilson’s Slow Dance in every way. Dollar Bills ft Steve Lacy sounds amazing and would be great for the club. The best part is Steve Lacy coming in towards the end as a pleasant surprise. He has great texture and coolness to his voice that blends perfectly with the airiness of Syd’s voice.
Over ft. 6LACK is a great song showing the potential of both artists. I honestly expect 6LACK to be huge in the future as the new heir to moody R&B since The Weeknd went Pop. This is a perfect showcase of both of their relaxed R&B stylings. Syd’s whisper feels so comfortable contrasting with the slight gravel of 6LACK’s voice. Insecurity finishes the album out strong with a vulnerable song about her personal struggles and her choosing to leave a relationship. It has a really nice breakdown towards the end that would be fun at a live show or home with Janelle Monae. It’s a nice finish to an extremely pleasurable album.
Fin was a great experience for me. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking conceptually or lyrically but amazing sonically from cover to cover. Sometimes, you just want something easy to put on in the background as you prepare for a night on the town. It has great uptempo songs and some sultry tracks for your special someone. It was amazing seeing her evolution from Purple Naked Ladies to now. You can hear the confidence that has built and her maturing as an artist. I can’t wait for the next Internet album but this was great in the meantime.
We see you Syd, Turn Your Brightness Up!
Bonus: Syd – Treading Water
Syd released this as her favorite song that got left off the album.