Hello again!

The time has come for another review on the posthumous album, released this year. If someone doesn’t remember, or doesn’t know, I recently reviewed Lil Peep’s posthumous album, which I refused to rate, which didn’t stop me from actually finding a pair of good tracks on that release, especially considering the fact that nothing special radically new and interesting we have not heard in it. Here we have a similar story, with one great exception: out of 19 minutes of music content on this album, I enjoyed a total of one and a half minutes, for there were several small pieces and moments in each of the tracks that I liked, the rest – not very much, to put it mildly. I will not evaluate the whole thing for obvious reasons, but I will make strong claims to the team of this artist and his label.

The tragic death of American rapper XXXTENTACION struck the musical community around the world, because even those who did not like his music or those who even treated him with rejection were all astonished. Naturally, it is always tragic and regrettable to see the death of really young person out of the blue. Nevertheless, I personally was much more offended to observe the result of the actions of the label and XXX’s production team, that decided to issue a posthumous album. Of course, claims and arguments on the theme that the label decided to milk the image of the artist after his did not disappear and will not disappear, however, if in the case of Lil Peep it really felt that beatmakers and sound designers really invested a good portion of work and care for fans In order to give a really worthy continuation of his latest release, the XXX’s team obviously decided to be guided by the principle “We don’t care as long as the fanbase will consume everything and tear off the album from our hands.” On this account, I have no doubts. But still a little respect would be worth showing while releasing this album. Now I’ll tell you what I mean.

The album is called SKINS and already at the stage of analyzing the title and cover art of the album, it seems to be made quickly and carelessly. What is behind the name, and in general, how to correctly decode it, I do not really understand. Again, as with previous releases, at the beginning of the album we were given an intro, read by the robot instead of the usual voice of X because he really didn’t have time to record it live. This phrase can be used to characterize this album, because it is really unfinished. It really sounds as a compilation of passages and drafts or ideas that were not given proper development. On the cover art, we actually have a photo of X, which, like the name, has the same level of meaning. In other words, little meaning.

The timing of the album is too short for someone to perceive it as a full-scale album. From the musical side, I have too many questions left for the producers and the guys responsible for the overall sound of the album. Why, you ask? Because it is mixed up like tracks that I compose myself. That is, very bad. Only I compose in my bedroom on cheapest (or unofficial) software and equipment from the Stone Age and my experience for obvious reasons are no match to the level of a professional. Why this album was so badly mixed by one of the biggest labels in the world remains a mystery to me. Moreover, this is exactly the case that the approach “he wanted so to make it this way, he specifically wanted to make a raw and maximally coarse sound” will not work here because here, the irresponsibility in production is really felt very clearly.

The overall arrangement of the album is too chaotic and inconsistent. After the intro, we have a track from an inverted sample of the track Jocelyn Flores, then a very dark and gloomy track about death, describing a really creepy plot (which, by the way, is very decent tbh), and then we immediately get a tearful “whoa” sampled from track that can be heard on every low-fi stream in YouTube. That is, without any connection and at least some adequate reason, absolutely polar tracks were put one by one. I can not say that X showed himself greatly somewhere in these tracks as a rapper and as a vocalist, with the exception of the Guardian Angel track, because he sings two lines, and then sings one or two vowels in the chorus. And when he tried to scream in the tracks Staring at the Sky and One Minute, I really felt hurt and my mood finally worsened. Scream was in quality and sound worse than in some emo screaming bands fifteen years ago. And you know what? I cannot blame X himself for this, it was not his decision to release an unprepared album. And it was not his decision not to treat the scream and vocals in any way so that they sounded decently.

Regarding the beats – they are all static and have no development, because, again, they were not given the opportunity to be developed. This is especially clearly audible in the tracks Staring at the Sky and One Minute with absolutely sickening guitar tone and distortion that couldn’t be produced by a live guitar and could only be designed artificially in DAW. And yes, these guitar samples were just launched on the same loop, until the track ended. This is understandable to the extent that in the track One Minute, all the work on the track was performed by Kanye, to whose part I felt much calmer compared to my usual  feeling about Kanye’s parts, because it really sounded good. And for the genius who decided to loop screams in this track on the word “UAAAAN” and stretch it into eight bars, I would like to ask the question: “Bro, were you ever a child? Did you have a dad or mom? Why are you like this?”

Acoustic guitar parts save the overall impression a little in the end, but the feeling that I was deceived and was given an unfinished demo instead of a full release was still present.

Lyrics…

Again, there is not a lot of text here, especially at the end of the release. If at the beginning, with the tracks of Guardian Angel and Train Food, we can see either personal experiences, or a hypertrophied stories about the fear of death, then at the end we see only a few phrases that really do not tell us about anything. It would be possible make pretend and imagine that these non-cohesive lines meant something there, but I really don’t even want to do this. Especially when only the letters “O” and “U” are sung above the acoustics or fake-deep or fake-sad sample.

It is really regrettable, and not only for the death of X, but for the fact that the fan base is being given no product at all with an intent to sell it for the full price. There is no effort in it to make an album out of scraps and sections, there is no attempt to create X’s tribute album and somehow put a good artistic point, as it was in the same release of Lil Peep. Unfortunately.

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