Opinion | Kevin Abstract’s ‘Blanket’ is one of the year’s best albums

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Following the breakup of the alternative “boy band”. Brockhampton – A collection of singers, rappers, producers and other creatives who rose to fame following 2017.Saturation” trilogy — frontman Kevin Abstract follows in the footsteps of other boy band standouts (Justin Timberlake, Harry Styles, etc.) and focuses his efforts on a career as a solo artist with his latest full-length, “A blanketHe said.

Abstract is no stranger to solo work, having gained a cult following before its creation with Brockhampton 2016.American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love StoryHe said. Released later.”Arizona BabyIn the year in 2019 and even performed Brockhampton’s “Last” record (later followed by the stunning release)TM”) with 2022 as a solo effortThe familyHe said.

However, “Blanket” marks a unique departure from both his previous independent material and his work with Brockhampton in an abstract sound direction. It’s a truly individual statement that sees Abstract return to his singer-songwriter roots while at the same time forging a new style that listeners haven’t seen him embrace before.

Abstract never fails to surprise his audience, often using curveball songs as lead singles to herald a radical change in his artistic direction, like Brockhampton’s tracks “Born Again”, “Juvert” or “Buzzcut”. A similar strategy is used for “Blanket” as clips from Abstract’s live listening parties emerge, revealing an unexpected grit and rock sound. This new direction was confirmed by the short, unique, guitar-laden title track that doubled as the lead single in early October.

When the full album debuts on November 3rd, listeners get to see the breadth of Abstract’s new sonic landscape. Intro track “Tropical Post 2 Breaks” is an oxymoron of a song, reminiscent of Abstract’s past work and featuring his signature recorded vocals while simultaneously sounding like we’ve never heard the artist speak before. It eases you into a “blanket” of scary, tumultuous, emotive imagery without holding your hand. It’s the perfect mission statement for an album unashamedly dedicated to artistic self-expression.

But this experiment in no way leads to a lack of grip on the “blanket” – Abstract always has the ability to write memorable hooks and employ sticky products. “Voyager” and “Madonna” add pop sensibilities on this front without throwing off the balance and taking away from the world the album builds around you, a prime recipe for emotional vocals and even more pop sensibilities over moodier guitar palettes.

“what should i do?” It could fall into this category as well, but what’s perhaps even more impressive is how extraordinary this song can be while still being a solid earworm. Its placement on the tracklist is indicative of the album’s order, as it serves as a strong introduction to both and “Mr. Edwards” – seriously, if music is listenable to both And Unsettled, that is.

The record’s stunning closing track, “My Friend,” feels like a calm after the whirlwind that seems to invigorate after 12 tracks of unsettling instrumentals, with a genuine tenderness emanating from its lyrical content and vocal delivery.

The introduction of Kara Jackson and MJ Lenderman, the only guest vocalists on the entire album, seems like a real turning point not only for the album, but for Abstract as a musician. These sounds, unrelated to Brockhampton and Kevin’s musical life of the last six or so years – are the epitome of a new direction.

Sonically, “Blanket” clearly draws from many different pools of inspiration – grunge rock, alternative, indie, emo or any of the many elements from Abstract’s own discography. At the same time, this record weaves these influences together into a unique and forward-thinking, refreshing take on familiar ideas.

It seems perfect for an artist who wants to find a new way forward without forgetting the past.

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