Favorite Track: "Empty" Least Favorite Track: "American Boyfriend"
Before he went on to work with his band BROCKHAMPTON on not one , or two, but three, widely successful full length projects in 2017, Kevin Abstract tried his hand in a solo record with : American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. American Boyfriend is a concept record that seems to me like it supposed to be in the stylistic arrangement of a TV Show or a Movie. Many of the tracks start with a quick beep, the same as the kind you would hear in the beginning of a movie being shot on a set. This record features an array of different half songs and skits that are peppered throughout the record almost in the fashion of deleted scenes. In a way it reminded me of what Vince Staples did last year with his record FM, which he arranged in a similar fashion but in the style of a radio stations set list. This record also deals with topics of discrimination in means of both racism and homophobia and does so in a very tasteful way. Kevin Abstract goes about his discussion of these topics in a very retrospective and personal way. He does so through personal stories and recallings of experiences of discrimination he has been subjected to. At American Boyfriends best ; it is a blend of pop/rap that delivers unique and introspective lyrics and ear worm hooks that are fuled by Kevins funky and groovy flows (which this record doesn’t lack). One of my favorite flows on this record is on the intro track Empty when Kevin goes “I'm just tryna get my bands up While you running through the banners I don't understand us, you should find your way home”. There’s just a catchy and light hearted quality to the way he delivers this set of bars that is so damn personable. Empty is one of the tracks off this record that I thought was a flash of some real potential for a future Kevin Abstract solo project. Unfortunately it’s one of the only tracks on this thing that posses any real sonic or melodic appeal and in short most of the instrumentals off this record besides tracks like Empty and Miserable America lack clear direction and I was just looking for a little more. Where the real appeal in this record lies is in some of the introspective and tear jerking lyrics Kevin spits about things like his affairs with getting his family to accept his homosexuality. A repeated theme in this record is the discussion of his homophobic mother and how unaccepting of him she truly was and at times it gets very dismal and hard to listen to. The thought of a mother not accepting who her son is and believing there is something wrong with him for being who he is , is chilling and hard to listen to. A good example of this is in Papercut when Kevin spits “The hardest part of my day is wishing I was fucking straight”. That’s such a hard lyric to swallow and the theme only continues on the rest of this record. Yellow is an interesting guitar ballad with a fun hook “give your heart a breakkkk”. However, it just gives another example of the confusion in this records direction. Guitar ballads mixed with rap songs, and pop songs, it just makes the record seem kinda thrown together. All and all American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story, finds it’s best points from its lyricism and story telling. You aren’t gonna get much replay value from this record outside of a few songs, but it’s still a worth while listen and I feel like anyone who feels like they aren’t accepted for who they are could truly take a lot from Kevin Abstracts American Boyfriend.