Yum: slowthai’s third studio album opens with a tension-filled track backed by an experimental death grips-esque instrumental; with references to conversations with his therapist, anxiety, drugs and sex. Yum is a fantastic way to start slowthai’s darkest album so far, this track makes me feel like I’m having a panic attack and the heavy breathing outro is a perfect touch to it (9/10).
Selfish: as the first single for UGLY, “Selfish” delivers a great electronic punk-inspired dark banger about hate and jealousy. The moment I heard this track and saw the music video I instantly loved it, I think it’s lyrically flawless and it was a great way to introduce his listeners to the world of this album (8.5/10).
Sooner: “Sooner” is a great song about carelessness, depression and reminiscing the “best of times”. The track features one of the best hooks on the album and the punk-inspired instrumental accompanies Tyron’s lyrics perfectly (9/10).
Feel Good: it still surprises me how a less then mid song could wind up on such a beautiful album. From the annoying pitched up vocals to the empty instrumental to the repetitive song structure and hook, this whole song just doesn’t make me feel anything. On a more positive note, I love the concept of the song (it’s meant to be a mantra to manifest happiness, slowthai said in an interview that he made it while he was feeling like shit). (5/10)
Never Again: this is one of the album’s darkest & most painful songs. The track is split into two sections: the first features a somber key loop over rapid punk drums, on top of which Tyron raps about meeting his ex’s mother at a grocery store and reminiscing on his relationship with her; the second section is the most hearbreaking, where over a simple electric guitar he discovers she was murdered by her husband. He then runs to find her memorial set up and sees a photo of them together she cut him out of since they had broken up. Absolutely perfect song from the storytelling to the production (10/10).
Fuck It Puppet: the only interlude on the album. This track is a violent rap song that describes his internal dialogue with his depression telling him to kill himself by overdosing on cocaine, but it ends with his depression saying “delete my number from your phone”. It’s very short but has a lot of tension to it, the production could be better tho (8/10).
HAPPY: “HAPPY” is a great song about realizing that happiness is the only thing that matters, and how people would give anything up for some of it (the refrain says “I would give everything for a smile”). The third verse is one of the highlights off the album, where slowthai’s passionate delivery that borders on spoken word proves that he’s one of the most promising lyricists of the modern age. Great punk production and great lyrcism (9/10).
UGLY: this song feels like falling down a bottomless pit of darkness while being set on fire. It’s the definition of beautiful chaos production-wise: screaming goth reverb-soaked guitars, anthemic drums and swirling synths that sound agonizing beautifully accompany slowthai’s desperate vocals. As the title track of the album, it conveys the concept of the project: “UGLY” is an acronym for “U Gotta Love Yourself/U can’t be part of anything else”, ergo the answer to happiness is to love yourself (10/10).
Falling: a track I consider the musical representation for depersonalization/derealization, “Falling” describes the feeling of falling deeper into your mind (losing the feeling of being “alive) and living your life on autopilot. The tension rises gradually thru the progression of the song, climaxing in an explosion of reverbed electric guitars and screams of desperation, as if slowthai is desperately attempting to hang onto reality while being slowly pulled away (9/10).
Wotz Funny: with “Wotz Funny” originally being the title for the album, this track discusses the irony of how things that are serious topics are commonly laughed at (like a teacher becoming homeless due to their drug addiction, a single mother and an alcoholic old man). Good track with solid production, but I feel like it could’ve been executed slightly better (8.5/10).
Tourniquet: this is possibly one of the darkest & most emotional tracks I’ve ever listened to. The instrumental itself sounds broken, with somber guitars and piano hits, slow drums and occasional glitchy sound effects, but the most powerful part about “Tourniquet” is slowthai’s performance: words cannot describe the extreme emotion that his vocals convey with throat tearing screams of desperation straight from rock bottom. This devastating song climaxes around the 2:06 mark: slowthai gradually continues to brutally scream and cry with so much pain that he winds up offbeat, until he ends with “take it all, take it and leave, you can have everything”. The sheer power his screams and lyrics convey have almost brought me to the verge of tears (something very few songs have been able to do), and on my first listen all I could do is stay captivated in pure shock. The concept of the song is cutting away a part of yourself to grow (the metaphor he used to explain it was that of being stuck under a bus and having to cut off your legs to survive). Beautifully broken song that represents the biggest moment of emotional catharsis slowthai has ever had (10+/10).
25% Club: the last song on the album gives us closure. Thru soft vocals, an angelic hook and smooth production, Tyron describes the 25% Club: we all feel like a part of us is missing (that 25%) that we try to fill with a person or other, but it’s the biggest illusion in a world full of beauty. We cannot be completed by something because we already are complete, we just have to realize it ourselves by loving ourselves (10/10).
TOP 5 FAVORITE SONGS:
LEAST FAV SONGS: Feel Good
FAVORITE BEAT: Yum/Never Again
FAVORITE PERFORMANCE: Tourniquet
"You are what you eat, I must be nothing" (from "Sooner")
"When pigment's a depiction of class, when your body has to be a wine glass, you drop your guard, you realize it's ugly" (from "UGLY")
"Take it all, take it and leave, take it and leave, you can have everything" (from "Tourniquet")
"We both have to break like porcelain plates, but I got some glue so we can rebuild" (from 25% Club)
This is slowthai’s magnum opus. This album puts you thru the ringer emotionally, and then pulls you out when you’ve found closure within yourself. Even tho a lot of the songs aren’t perfect, the album is and songs like “Feel Good” are necessary. The concept is masterfully executed. The lyricism is flawless. The production is unique. This album breaks you and puts you back together, and if that doesn’t define a perfect album I don’t know what does.