Will Clay, Staff Writer
The music world saw the return of one of its most sentimental and anticipated singers for the first time in a while. This past week, R&B star Bryson Tiller began dropping new music again and the reaction was as expected. To commemorate his iconic debut album, Trapsoul, he made a deluxe version of an already masterpiece of a project.
He added three singles, “Just Another Interlude”, “Self Righteous” and “Rambo: (Last Blood) ft. The Weeknd,” all of which could be considered hidden gems. To sum it up perfectly, he added “Outro (Thank You)” in observance of the 5-year anniversary of TrapSoul and his latest album appropriately titled Anniversary. He clearly plays off the feel of his debut album with him positioned the same but facing the opposite direction on his latest cover.
Since his last album drop, Sophomore project True to Self, Tiller has welcomed a new baby girl with his girlfriend, Kendra Bailey. Fans have been itching for new music from the R&B star but of course, his craft could understandably be back seated for the changes life has presented.
Due to COVID-19, Zoom has become more popular and Tiller allowed his passionate fans to get a sneak peek of his new project through a personal zoom call. In building the anticipation for Anniversary earlier in the week, Tiller released “Always Forever” and “Inhale.”
The bar was set high on the whole album because of the excellent standard Tiller has set for himself. When he releases, whatever the project is should make the listener feel fulfilled. Anniversary is a fresh reminder of R&B that can be a vibe whenever because of how it touches the soul.
He opens with “Years Go By” with his thrilling mix of sped-up singing and rapping. Some conversation is happening, don’t know who it is but it is motivating as the voice says to “Do you.” “Spit the truth in the booth, give it to the fandom.” So true, that’s why the fans stick with him, straight-forward. The briskness of his songs is just as exciting as the softness.
“Always Forever” places at the second slot on the album and it demonstrates the authenticity that draws fans into Tiller’s music. My personal favorite from the album so far, when the single was released I just thought it sounded like a typical Tiller track that will get you in your feelings and hyped at the same time. It makes you ask ‘who is he talking about?’ The realness always jumps out in his storytelling. Relatability and applicability, making it easy for fans to connect.
“I’m Ready for You” is the irresistible, nostalgic feel presented on every track. Nothing really pulls you in and tells you to choose to blast this one while driving or chilling at home. He cannot go wrong with the background talking/singing over his slow, mesmerizing beats.
“Things Change” starts like you know he is about to drop facts about something (Yeah there it is, “maybe calling you up would fix things right now, are you listening right now?). He even asks “You gon’ let me talk?” just like you say when you lose the argument but still want to get your two cents in. This one ends with the smooth flow the slow jam icon teases at constantly in his songs. He likes to turn around and hit listeners with hard bars that could probably challenge your favorite rapper. The true face of trap-soul.
The mellow “Timeless Interlude” starting with the piano, uh oh. Bringing up his relationship with God and stamps the song with “Sincerely, Bryson.” He likes to steal the attention with the kind of dramatic interlude used in his other projects that makes you forget it even is an interlude.
“Sorrows” is full of sharp, catchy melodies as he has different conversations between the slowing down of the moody beat. Feels like an attack on someone you want their attention so bad. Do not know whether to forget it, be sad, or go harder.
“Inhale” comes in at number 7 on the project as he samples Dpat’s “Exhale.” Did not think too much about this one but easily still a track worth listening to. With all the sampling of the background music, feels like wow over already?
It’s a bold move to have one of music’s biggest stars, Drake, as the only feature on your new album. But “Pen Griffey” does just that and makes a statement on his elite ranking in R&B. The two pop music stars collaborated on the mid-tempo “Outta Time,” making it difficult for the song to not be catchy. Singing Drake introduces the track, do not always get to hear the solely singing side without the hard rapping Drake. A little underwhelming at first but this one is growing on me. Come on these two on the same track? This has to be different.
“Keep Doing What You’re Doing” is sung on the common warm beat in most of the R&B star’s songs. Repeating a lot of the same words doesn’t even matter with his melodies. He even hints at some of his own insecurities like believing in himself. Cannot go wrong with mentioning the human side of the pop star, why it is so easy for him to form connections with fans. Another inspiring piece that could probably pick someone’s head up today when listening.
“Next to You” is a sample of Flight Facilities “Heart Attack” and sums up the artist’s mood and once again taps into his feelings and the listener’s. Nothing different from the rest of the album feels like it does not overshadow the others or overpower them, just summarizes the point of his project.
Whatever he is feeling on the track, he makes you feel it too. On an album with 10 songs and only one feature, creating instantly catchy melodies sounds effortless for Tiller.
Bryson Tiller provides an even-keeled blend of rap and singing, making both sides of the Louisville native’s music captivating and preferable. He can go bar for bar describing his experiences and situations or create another viral slow jam for his fans to instantly relax to. The epitome of mood music, causing his listeners’ emotions to be hurled all over the place.
Tiller’s fans will not let him forget about Serenity, his other album he scheduled to put out this year. He hinted to fans that he was still working and that he plans to release it eventually but it is temporarily put on hold. Could we possibly receive two new Tiller albums in one year?