Emptiness, Nihilism, Emptiness
No artist on this list (few that you’ll encounter on any of the lists I produce once a year by screaming at the unfairness of life and smashing my tearing ducts against the keyboard) have taken me quite as much time to truly understand than Future. Now way near as much time.
Firstly, Future (real name ‘Marty McFly’, so he thought he best play up to the assumptions of time travel) is simply extremely difficult to keep track of: he releases albums and mixtapes at roughly the same rate that you might decide it’s time to buy new shower gel. He released two albums this year, and I had to decide to cull ‘Hndrxx’ from NE2017 when it became clear space was premium, and I had to start considering proper vowel usage as a prerequisite. His 2016 mixtape ‘Purple Reign’ was also unlucky not to make the cut (kayfabe) last year (sadly, due to its obvious play to my affections). He even released another mixtape in late 2017, which, I mean, come on Future, give a guy a break!
Such insane productivity is the reason Sun Kil Moon were cut from NE2017: Listen, Mark, I’m still not truly finished properly taking in your last album, you can’t just drop another- 129 minute!- record on me and expect me to give it proper consideration!!
Then there’s the music Future makes. On my first, second, thirteenth listen, lyrically he often sounds like he’s celebrating the same superficial- and occasionally rather boorish- achievements of his life as a rapper. He’s got guns, he’s got bitches, he’s got, like, loads of money, expensive cars, guns that fire out cars, bitches stuffed with money, expensive bitches firing money out of guns as they drive in cars: you know the drill.
Musically though, there was always something subtly bizarre and really rather morose, even depressing about his backing.
On the three hundredth listen of ‘Future’ I started to listen to his lyrics closely, and try to better put them in the context of a melencholy musical backing that initially sounds almost perversely paradoxical. The album’s opening song presents a perfect example:
Future isn’t celebrating this lifestyle at all. He is simply listing the deplorable acts he tries as an attempt to spark some feeling and meaning in life. This is Lil Peep, simply presenting the depths that his self-hatred can force him to descend toward, and at other times he’s Danny Brown, laying out quite how many drugs he’s forced to take in order to help treat his emptiness and remove himself from his reality.
‘Future’ isn’t designed for banging clubs, or even to boom from your car’s speakers. It is designed to be a harrowing view of of his day to day life, and any mention of money (‘it ain’t an issue’) and success is only presented to show the context within which Future still feels so empty. All the money, all the drugs, all the women: so what? ‘Future’ is a fascinating, and often extremely depressing, study in dejected nihilism.
There’s one song in particular
that succinctly presents the album’s bleakness and disengagement so perfectly that’s it’s one of the year’s best songs, but the album surrounding it is such a triumph because it manages to present such a harrowing and depressing (I honestly, without joking, would seriously suppose that, if this unrelenting narcissism were close to his real thought process, Future has serious issues with depression) world view with such a captivating and state of the art production.
Finally: ‘Future’ is in no way a ‘commercial’ or ‘mainstream’ sounding release: its outlook and atmosphere is far too bleak, it lacks any obvious floor fillers, and I couldn’t imagine any commercial radio station in the UK even considering any of its desolate growls of disenchantment worthy of their playlist.
It went straight to No.1 in America, and was only knocked off the top by Future’s next album ‘Hndrxx’. What the fuck is happening in that country?? The number one album in the UK at the time was the ‘La La Land Soundtrack’!
Born one month and eight days before me
Album Number: 24 (yes, really) (+144)
Album Length: 62 minutes (-16)
Only a handful of pointless songs dropped, though my main duty was to edit out the freaking skits!! Flip was no great loss, but the extended nonsense at the end of Zoom meant it had to go, which was a shame as it’s a really strong track
Very Good Songs: 7 (+14)
Brilliant Songs: 6 (+30)
AMAZING Songs: 1 (+10)
% of Album Worthwhile: 82.3529411765
Meh, very forgettable, but I do like how the ‘parental advisory’ sticker is worked into the design
Previous Entries: None
Did I used to call this ‘fresh meat’? Isn’t it fascinating to see this blog develop?
Meta Critic: 67
That One Song Though… +40