2020, Music

While the World Was Burning (2020) by Saint Jhn

This guy immediately put me off by dropping a vowel from his nom de plume. What is with dropping the vowel(s)? Why do people think it’s creative? I get that this guy likely did this before dropping vowels became an epidemic in branding but it’s, um, really dumb. Now, I’m mostly kidding about holding this against him, but I still find it mystifying. There are languages in which vowels can have all sorts of sounds to change the meaning of words and in English we’re like “What if we stop writing our vowels?”

I have listened to more contemporary hip hop and R&B in the last 5 months or so than I have in years. (If I mean “contemporary” as within the last 10 years, possibly ever.) And one thing that I can say about this record, compared to all the others, is that it is a lot less diverse. I don’t know anything about trap and little about alternative R&B but I know in metal (for example) there’s this tendency for some artists (the less interesting and compelling ones) to just do one thing and try to do that one thing really well. Those bands rarely elevate themselves in my eyes because they don’t have much variety. Well, that’s sort of how I feel about this record and I wonder if it’s actually common within the trap and R&B spaces but I just didn’t know because I’m listening to acclaimed stuff most of the time.

People say the beats are generic. They may well be. They don’t sound super interesting to me. It’s recognizable as trap to me, so at least that’s something. When I listen to music like this and I have no particular reaction to the production (in this case because I really haven’t listened to much trap) I tend to read other reviews and fan reviews are saying this is not particularly creative. So I’m going to take their word for it.

There’s too much harmonizer on his voice. That’s probably a feature of the genre for all I know. Sometimes he does sound like he’s being creative with his voice but so much of that is the harmonizer or whatever it is. I have never liked that sound and a trap record isn’t likely to change how I feel about it. And that song where he mispronounces a ton of words that don’t rhyme so that they rhyme with each other is…interesting. Maybe it’s creative.

I just don’t really have much of a reaction or feeling about this. I think I’m going to forget it as soon as I’m on to the next record. Just does nothing for me.


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