Blackbear - The Afterglow

6.5/10

Favorite Track: "Valley Girls" Least Favorite Track: "Grey La"


The Afterglow is a five (+ an interlude) song EP by Florida rapper/singer blackbear or Matthew Musto. Other than his single “N Y L A”, The Afterglow is to the best of my knowledge ; blackbear’s oldest piece of released music. This EP is vastly experimental compared to blackbear’s newer more polished work. With its drawn out instrumentals and sometimes eerie, distorted, or psychedelic production this EP is full of off the wall beats and sounds that you wouldn’t expect to find from such a mainstream R&B artist such as blackbear. This project also features a vast amount of beautiful, silky strings that compliment some of the production beautifully. Take, for example my favorite track on this thing Valley Girls. The intro features these luscious chords deep in the background that build tension beautifully into blackbear’s cold and cutthroat delivery in his verse about his family encouraging both himself and his musical career. The intro track Califormula is a fun play on words that I can definitely vibe with. Unfortunately blackbear mostly misses the lyrical potential of the title. Lyrically, this track is rather bland and lacks any quotables or really consistent ideas. However, I do love the stuttering kick drums in the verse and the epic conclusion to the track with the erray of synths and keys. In New Years Eve, blackbear discusses his fear of growing up, and giving up his partying lifestyle. I love the progression of this track, and how the beat and production builds on itself beautifully. This song also features some more stuttering kick drums and the vocals on this cut are actually very personable. It definitely is one of the better cuts off this thing. The interlude that flows into the conclusion track The lobby/Hotel Andrew features another cold and cutthroat verse from blackbear. This time about his dysfunctional relationship and how he wishes he could turn back time to when it was healthier. His delivery is passionate and sharp and every emotion behind his lyrics is made audible. It’s one of the better verses on The Afterglow. This project is chalk full of sounds and styles that clearly evolved into what blackbear’s sound is today. In many ways I think The Afterglow is one of blackbear’s better pieces of music and it’s very clear that he had some big projects to build on in the beginning of his career.

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