Brent Faiyaz — WASTELAND — Album Review

R&B | Hip-Hop | Soul

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Brent Faiyaz, a singer-songwriter from Maryland, Columbia, was somebody who I discovered back in January of 2021, as I’m sure many other listeners had done as well. Said discovery came with his track, and collaboration with Tyler, the Creator, titled “GRAVITY”. The psychedelic feel, along with Brent’s vocals, really stuck with me, resulting in that very track being my tenth favourite for the entirety of 2021’s musical year. But more importantly than that, it served as a great introduction for myself to the amazing vocals and musical uniqueness of this artist.

A few track releases later, I was eager to find out when his next big project was finally going to be upon us. It turns out that in the midst of 2022, we will be blessed with Brent Faiyaz’s sophomore studio album, which has donned the name WASTELAND.

While the teaser tracks for this album were spread few and far between (with some of the tracks not even making it onto WASTELAND), his most recent single release prior to the full album, titled “PRICE OF FAME” pretty much summed up what would later on be the narrative of the album. I was expecting this album to be a typically indulgent and soulful experience; in a musical sense, WASTELAND was exactly that (which I mean in the best way). However, all of that melodic goodness shrouds itself over a subject matter that is much more serious.

The main narrative of the album seems to point at the negative effects of being famous, and how in turn, it affects those around you. In the case of WASTELAND, this narrative is tied together with the use of three skits. Each of these skits draws the listener into the toxic relationship the titular Fiyaz and his partner carry. It certainly plays a part in allowing this record to be mind-blowingly engaging, and has us listening more closely to Faiyaz’s words throughout the rest of the tracks.

All of this narrative mastery ends on an absolute high-note, with the closing track “ANGEL”. Following the impact left by the third and final skit; one that was very haunting to experience, “ANGEL” stands as a defining moment of not only this album, but of the musical year of 2022 in general. And thankfully, “ANGEL” is far from the only great track on here.

WASTELAND has a whopping list of 19 tracks, and a duration clocking in at just over a full hour. And while I wouldn’t say that not every single track blew my mind, the vast majority were still enjoyable listens that contributed at least something to the album, whether that be through their uniqueness, or connection to the narrative.

This album is one of those projects that digs its claws a little deeper into my memory with each subsequent listen, which is a true mark of just how impactful of a project it is. I am hoping that the buzz surrounding WASTELAND from other publishers is as abundant in praise as I think it deserves to be.

Favourite Tracks: LOOSE CHANGE | GRAVITY | WASTING TIME | ROLLING STONE | BAD LUCK | ANGEL

Least Favourite Track: ADDICTIONS (still an OK track)

Lost Kids LLC

Final Score: 90%

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.