There has been a lot of questioning around male R&B artists lately. For the new generation, Brent Faiyaz is making a case with his sophomore album, WASTELAND. Toying with his usual themes of love and the spoils of fame, the DMV artist is letting us know he might be the answer.
Offering 19 tracks at just over an hour, this album is the literal answer to the constant fan questions. “Where is Brent?” “When is Brent dropping?”. Two years after his last album, F*** the World, Wasteland is a continued exploration relationships, the fast life, and gaining popularity. He taps a few but heavy-hitting collaborators for features; Tyler the Creator, Drake, The Neptunes, Tre Amani, Alicia Keyz, and Joony. We hear Brent on production as well as No I.D., DJ Dahi, and writing credits from the likes of Raphael Saadiq and The Dream.
I never said that I was the best in the world/ But I’m the best for you, girlBrent Faiyaz, “PRICE OF FAME”
Brent shines on his own with his signature runs and harmonies reminiscent of 90s boy groups, and that shimmering falsetto. The album overall has a heavy use of strings and pizzicato. We hear the occasional blend of intricate drum patterns on songs like “ROLE MODEL”, “ADDICTIONS”, and “WASTING TIME”. Although the album is sonically light and pretty, lyrically it tackles the highs and the lows fame makes space for in the quest for true and honest love. On the opening track, aptly titled “VILLIAN’S THEME”, Brent addresses the “toxic” accusations. He explains he feels he is just making “honest music”.
You wish you could be the reason that I settle down/ You done gave me all I wanted but I still got reasons I should f*** aroundBrent Faiyaz, “ADDICTIONS”
Alongside his vocal and production performance, Brent gets into some voice acting to add to the storytelling. Three skits, “EGOMANIAC”, “OBLIVION”, and “WAKE UP CALL” decorate the project, highlighting his relationship woes. They follow a relationship that is serious to one party and seemingly disposable to the other. The latter, “WAKE UP CALL”, adds a cinematic element, leaving us (stressed and) wondering how the visuals for WASTELAND will turn out. The sound effects layered onto the songs like the background chatter, glasses clinking, and cars passing, create an immersive sonic experience.
Brent Faiyaz in his sophomore showing, reiterated his vocal abilities and proved his attention to detail. Take a listen to Wasteland, out today, available on all streaming services, and let us know what you think!