Recommended Tracks: SWEAR TO GOD, CHANGES, DEAD TO ME
Artists You May Like: Post Malone, Juice WRLD, Goody Grace
There are a lot of words that you could use to describe blackbear: talented singer and producer, hopeless romantic, and…anonymous. After releasing four other albums, working with some of the biggest names in music, and accumulating massive amounts of followers and subscribers on social media, there are still some people out there who don’t know about blackbear’s existence. Maybe blackbear is ready to change this or maybe he is content with staying under the radar. Whatever the case, after hearing all 18 tracks on his new album, ANONYMOUS, it is clear that blackbear is just trying to keep it real.
The album begins with the track, “PINK ROLEX,” which gives a small intro to who blackbear is and the kinds of topics that will be explored on this album. Topics like fashion, relationship issues, and figuring out what is real. What gives us value? What is valuable? How are we to know?
A quick standout on the record is the fourth track, “SWEAR TO GOD.” Right away, the relentless string motif creates a sense of drama that stays present throughout the track. It also brings forth a sense of urgency, accompanying the manic tone behind the lyrics. In the track, blackbear sings about taking responsibility for his poor life choices and swears to God that he is going to change. Based on his tone, you want to believe that he will make things right.
The next two tracks, “MAKE A MESS” and “SICK OF IT ALL,” maintain two prominent themes on the album: troubled relationships and self-deprecation. In “MAKE A MESS,” blackbear invites a lover into his life, telling this person to just “make a mess” out of everything he knows. He mentions “move right in/tear me apart/show me that you really care.” Despite his defeatist attitude, we feel as though blackbear takes his love life seriously, especially after we here the next track, “SICK OF IT ALL.” In that track, he starts to resent everything in his life, all because his relationship is in turmoil. We know that he probably isn’t sick of his dogs or his house, but we can understand what he means; sometimes it just takes one last thing to go wrong to make us believe that nothing else was ever really right.
The seventh track, “CHANGES,” is an acoustic track, showcasing blackbear’s unique timbre. The track title is reflective of this change in song style: the acoustic makes the song more exposed, more vulnerable as opposed to the other tracks on the album that feature more elements. The topic of the song is about moving on, making the necessary changes to get over someone. It might be a short song, as are most of the songs on this album, but it hits you in the feels all the same.
By the time we get to the eleventh track, “HEARTBROKEN,” we have heard blackbear blame himself for most of his problems. However, in this track, the tables have turned. It has more of an angry vibe, with blackbear finally taking control of his situation. He is here to shut down the haters and validate his worth. Instead of being heartbroken, he is a heart-breaker and he wants everyone to take note.
After hearing a few more bangers, such as “IT’S ALL GONNA BURN” and “DEAD TO ME,” the album closes with an older track from 2013, “NYLA.” This newer version is a lot like the original, in that the lyrics and the piano accompaniment remain. However, it is not as raw as the original: the quality has been enhanced. It is a bittersweet end to the album, making us feel a bit somber once the final note cuts out. While it is an interesting choice for a closing track, it just reminds us how far blackbear has come and how he is still that same guy, trying to figure it all out.
You can listen to ANONYMOUS on sites like Apple Music and Spotify.
Catch blackbear on his dead 2 the world tour here.