Finally, there’s more Kyle to listen to. I haven’t anticipated a sophomore album this hard in a while and Smyle did not disappoint. In fact it’s taken me 15 – 20 listens just to sit down and write about it without dancing. I don’t mean toe-tapping, I mean physically dancing. And I’m sober. And it’s 3pm on a Monday.
So let’s start at the beginning. “The Force” opens the album up softly and then jumps to lightspeed. The first verse made me a little nervous. Did the fame go to Kyle’s head already? Am I in for an hour of generic boasting? And then he’s all “wishin’ hella hugs on [his] enemies,” and then lasers happen… Before you know it he’s singing about starships and haters (in the intergalactic sense). By the second chorus, you’re singing it too. “I’ve got the force. I’ve got the force.”
The second track is a love-song, and it’s not my favorite of his. He recently released a single called “Angel” (ft. Buddy) that I would have rather have seen on this project, but in defense of “Feels Good”, theres a line about tea-bagging makes me laugh out loud every time I hear it. And even during a track about a girl, he manages to mention Harry Potter, Houdini, and the real estate market on Saturn.
Now I’m just hoping the album doesn’t slow down too much. “Summertimesoul” is deep and soulful (which is lovely in small doses), but at this point I don’t know tracks 4 – 8 are coming. Then 45 seconds in I get wrecked by that minor chord change, and it melts my heart like crayons on the sun. That’s the moment I was sold on the album as a whole. 45 seconds into track 3, and I’m 100% on board. Another handful of seconds pass and if you’d been in my living room, you’d have thought I was rolling my damn face off.
“Don’t Wanna Fall in Love” has been one of my favorite Kyle tracks for months, so for me it’s hard to place because I’ve already worn it out. But for about three weeks this track and “Just a Picture” were the only two songs I listened to. Kyle’s flow is immaculate on this one. Oh, and I do like the little instrumental thing he added at the end.
“Endless Summer Symphony” is the bait I use to hook my raver friends, followed up by “Superduperhero”. So far, Kyle, Chidish Gambino, and Drake are just about all we agree on. Also this song is a good example of Kyle’s inherent knack for brand recognition and cross-song marketing. Note the signature “hey Kyle!” and the clever melodic twist on “Sex and Super Smash Bros”. This track too, is sort of about a girl. But it’s so bouncy it’s hard to tell. I’d also like to point out the excellent use of lifeguard whistles in the beat. It really feels like you’re dancing on a beach.
I have only one complaint for “Really? Yeah!” which is how intricately Kyle uses the N word on it. It’s maybe the most catchy single of 2015, and I can only rap along with half the words when I bump it in the car, which is some bullshit. That said, it’s one of the catchiest singles of 2015. His Wile E. Coyote shout is awesome and potentially really deep. Wile’s shit always blows up in his face, or drops him off a cliff or something. But he is relentless in the face of the road-runner (life), and often his own lack of forethought. Because of this, he’s been entertaining the world since 1948. Or, you know, I’m way off base and it’s just words. Either way, sweet. Try and not yell “Really? Really? Yeah!” one time. I dare you.
I usually think interludes are a waste of time. I don’t necessarily disagree here, but I will say this. “Deepest Part of Me” is very well placed. Since the last three quarters of “Summertimesoul”, we’ve been smashing our faces off, and if you didn’t fall in the shower at some point during all that then you probably needed a break. I know I did. Catch your breath quick because the orgasm of the album is coming (pun semi-intended).
It happens three minutes into “Superduperhero” ft. SuperDuperBrick, when the drop kicks in. The song is great, Kyle’s verse is funny and has a lot of tone even for him. He proves that he can say a lot, but he doesn’t have to for it to sound cool. Brick’s lyrics are clever and his delivery is on point. I’d say he 100% held his own, which on this album is NOT AN EASY TASK. But you guys, the drop. The drop is so awesome I plan my workout around it. And then it’s like the album knows I’m tired and I just want to smoke a bowl and lazily cuddle.
“All 4 You” is very jazzy, I’m just not really into the melody, or featured singer Yuna’s choices. She’s not bad, not by any stretch. I just wish she’d done more to stand out. The song is a little repetitive, but the “Do you want to start the game again?” sample is another example of seamless thematic integration, and a nice undertone to the album. This album is both beachy and spacey, like a futuristic vacation.
It’s unreal that he buries the Chance the Rapper guest feature. That alone shows so much bravado it’s stupid. This album doesn’t need Chance the Rapper, it just has him. And “Remember Me” is totally awesome. Chance’s singing on this track is reminiscent of John Legend. We knew he could sing, obviously we’ve heard him do it all over his own tracks. But this is almost like a bridge to straight R&B. Kyle’s verse is deeply meaningful, but still playful. Also it’s a melancholy inversion of the “no new friends” mantra.
**It should also be mentioned that this track was released as a single in a way I’d never seen before. Kyle and Chance the Rapper instagram[ed], tweet[ed], etc., a picture of a cocktail napkin with a phone number on it. You had to text that number (The Super Duper Phone) and add yourself to its contacts. Then you got a link to “Remember Me”.**
Safe to say “All Alright” is my least favorite track on the album. It’s just not that original of an idea, and the execution is a little juvenile. I think “The Best Day” by Atmosphere (among others) did it a little better. Also, the beat is pretty plain, so there’s not much redemption there.
And then we’re back! “Dewwutitdoez” is dancy as fuck, and it’s dedicated to one of the coolest dudes out there. Sure, it’s possible that Kyle is actually shouting out the Christian savior one or two of those times, but he’s obviously talking about his tour manager. For the record, I can’t imagine how many times Jesus has caught Kyle and Brick after crowd-surfing or crowd-boogy-boarding. He’s not a huge security type either, so he’s gotta be deceivingly strong, unbelievably dedicated, or both. Shout out to Jesus and SuperDuper Max. And shout out to this song, just for the fun. No hook needed, Kyle’s flow on this is at its most melodic. So much so that I kind of wish this was the final track on the album.
But that’s just because I fear emotional music. If you don’t, you’ll probably really enjoy “@Foundbae” featuring Je$$e. I do really like the stanza about having a hundred thousand kids and bringing them to school in a hundred limousines. Hard to tell if that’s Kyle under voice-mod or if that’s Je$$e. Either way, it’s lovely. I might not blast it over and over and over like I have and will with the rest of the album, but the harmonies make this a beautiful piece of music, and a tranquil way to put a bow on my favorite album of 2015 so far.
I give SMYLE 8 and 1/2 thumbs up. Now go buy it.