Album Review: Laeland – look at the mess we made

Within the multifaceted sphere of modern music, genres continually evolve, bleed into each other, and sometimes birth entirely new forms. Laeland, the Mississippi singer/songwriter/rapper/producer, has situated himself at an interesting crossroads of these genres with his latest offering, “look at the mess we made”. The 10-track album, out now through Nettwerk, cleverly fuses acoustic folk, RnB, and lofi hip-hop, effectively blurring the lines of categorization.

Drawing inspiration from the ephemeral fragility of relationships, likening it to the shattering of glass, the project feels like an aural kaleidoscope of emotions, providing an incisive and intimate examination of the very nature of relationships and their inherent volatility. The album’s title and its encompassing theme capture the essence of Laeland’s perspective: that of unexpected disarray and the contemplation of its aftermath.

Starting with “Just Give Me Something”, a collaboration with Snøw and Boy Nobody, the listener is immediately taken into Laeland’s introspective realm. Heralding from his signature “sad rap” style, which gained prominence during the late 2010s, this track exudes both vulnerability and introspection against a backdrop of lullaby lo-fi trap beats. This atmospheric melding is representative of the sonic journey Laeland orchestrates throughout the record.

Tracks like “Dumb Luck” and “Are We Wasting Our Time Again” feature Skinny Atlas, a collaborator who aids in weaving a textured sonic tapestry. Here, Laeland’s storytelling prowess shines, further echoed in tracks like “u never call” and “i wish u cheated sooner”. The raw, confessional nature of these compositions serves as a reflection of Laeland’s emotional depth, an attribute nurtured since his choir days in Mississippi.

Perhaps the album’s most touching moment arrives with “dear lovrr,” where Laeland’s mother provides a soul-stirring outro. This inclusion not only adds familial warmth to the project but also accentuates the deeply personal essence that the entire album embodies.

Laeland, born Bradley Davis, has always donned his heart on his sleeve, a sentiment rooted in his chosen moniker – Let’s All Embrace Life And Never Die. This guiding mantra is palpable throughout “look at the mess we made”, and especially in tracks like “i don’t wanna fall in love again” and “tell me to fall and i will”. Each song is a vignette, a window into Laeland’s soul, revealing his introspections, desires, regrets, and hopes.

Despite Laeland’s recent surge in popularity from the viral TikTok moment of “i’m inlove but…” in Kazakhstan and Russia, this album steers clear of pandering to viral fame. Instead, it delves into the intricacies of human connection and the feelings of isolation even amidst global recognition.

The album’s production, largely shaped by Laeland’s vision, dances between minimalist acoustic sections and rich, genre-bending instrumental segments, creating a soundscape that allows the listener to journey through various emotional states. The lyrical content, often anchored in relationship woes and loneliness, consistently feels genuine and unfiltered.

By keeping his circle of collaborators intimate, with the inclusion of close friends like Skinny Atlas and Snøw, Laeland ensures that the album retains its cohesive, genuine touch. It’s evident that every song, every note, and every lyric was chosen with intention, crafting a musical journey that feels both expansive and intimate.

In “look at the mess we made”, Laeland offers listeners a magnifying glass into the world of modern relationships and self-reflection, while also pushing the boundaries of lofi hip-hop. While the album spotlights his evolution as an artist from his 2018 beginnings, it also teases at the vast potential and new heights he’s yet to reach.

Conclusively, “look at the mess we made” is a testament to Laeland’s masterful articulation of human emotions and his ability to wrap them in innovative sonic arrangements. It’s an album that doesn’t just ask you to listen, but to truly hear and reflect. For those seeking profound emotional exploration and genre-blending artistry, this record is not to be missed.

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