Review Summary: Tricyclics with an SSRI just might fix this mix of intense hard times.I’ve reinvented myself more times than I care to count and each one is a little less beautiful than the last, which leads me to here - to now: the culmination of every moment of my life. And I want nothing more than to tear every piece of my flesh off one by one to show you what’s been hiding underneath, because these are the flowers for my father.
The above is a spoken word excerpt from Cody Foster (Sadistik) lamenting his late father in the opening song “Petrichor,” and it sets the stage perfectly for the rest of his introspective masterpiece, Flowers For My Father
. For Foster, Flowers For My Father
is a deep excursion into his past, finding himself confronting his deepest problems in a cathartic display of release that’s all at once disarmingly personal yet wholly relatable for many. Having suffered the loss of both his father and dear friend, Foster has been inspired to write his best and most emotionally engaging material yet (and likely his tour de force) whose themes revolve around the loss of loved ones, deep regrets, depersonalization, drug and alcohol abuse, and trying to overcome one’s demons despite all of this emotional turmoil - things some of us are all too familiar with. However, while it’s somewhat disconcerting to hear his words set to the music here, optimism is somewhat central to the album’s theme.
Despite the pessimism and self-deprecation, Foster tellingly shows signs of personal growth and reconciliation in songs like “Michael,” where he vows not to dwell on his friend’s loss: “But I won't dwell inside the ends/And that's not what you would want, you would tell me “Find connections to the world” and to tell it my confessions/The hell that I invest in is a part of something bigger.” Here, it becomes obvious that Flowers For My Father
is so much more than a personal statement -- Foster is trying to reach an audience with whom he can relate these emotions. That isn’t a bad thing though; he isn’t really making music to cater to some fanbase, and he’s made it overtly clear that criticisms regarding his lyrical content are of no concern to him. He even makes a scathing remark to critics on “The Beast” about this very subject when he says, “I got lectured on the matter that my topics are myopic, non-sequitur and scattered/”He uses big words, complex with all the patterns”/But maybe it’s for me and not you!” He uses music primarily as a form of expression, not some verbal wankery meant to impress. Not that anyone should ever think that in the first place. I mean, he’s only 24, yet his verbal skills emulate that of hip-hop’s most iconic artists. He raps verses with effortless ease, establishing a truly commendable flow and air of confidence through his words. But Flowers For My Father
has far more to flaunt than lyrical content.
The music throughout is absolutely sublime and oft times hauntingly beautiful. “Petrichor”’s aforementioned excerpt is backed by a very powerful, memorable guitar-driven section near the end, making it a strong contender for song of the year; “Melancholia” is a mastery of ambiance and choral work; “The Beast” is chock-full of evocative string arrangements, keys, and female backing vocals; and “Seven Devils” is a perfect encapsulation of Foster’s struggle ridding himself of his demons - it’s also inarguably his most epic song to date. And everything else is honestly just as good, albeit a little bit more on the atmospheric side (which may or may not work for you depending on what you’re looking to get from this). The only real detractor is the surprisingly commonplace “Snow White,” which seems to interrupt the overall flow and atmosphere of the album, despite having some of the fastest, most technically interesting verses on the album.
Foster’s growth as an artist from 2008’s The Balancing Act
is honestly astonishing. Flowers For My Father
has the perfect balance between deep, emotional content and accessibility and is surprisingly engaging and catchy, despite how atmospheric it is. The subject matter he’s dealing with here has bolstered his confidence and made him a force to be reckoned with in emotional hip-hop music, and as a result, this is one of 2013’s very best records. At this rate, we can expect great things of this young artist.
I set to write a portrait, not emotional confessions
This is spring cleaning for a closet full of bone collections
I’m not alone, the monochrome is so infectious
But I won’t regret it if I follow all my own directions