Review Summary: Copyright infringement.
The first song of Roy Woods I ever hear was "Why." I thought it was a song by The Weeknd
. The hazy, trap-lite production and bemoaning drug references, the Michael Jackson-aping tenor with melismatic falsetto swirling in the background. I was wrong, and when I found out that it was, I was beside myself. "How can this fly? Isn't this illegal? This is wrong
!" I thought. Unfortunately, Roy Woods (or Wood$, as it's stylized) is yet another addition to the pantheon of horribly dull copycat trap-soulers who are almost wholly unworthy of time or attention.
Let's begin with the more positive features. Roy Woods is, in and of himself, not a bad singer or rapper. His vocals rarely show strain or limits, and he's got a workable sense of melody. Songs like "Got Me" and "Down Girl" almost mistakenly fall into their own grooves, subsumed by their own fluidity like mountains in fog. This lends the album that nice narcotized flow that makes these albums palatable and even enticing
in the first place. It's a characteristically OVO release, which means that it's at least pleasing as mood music.
But the accolades end there. As a lyricist, Woods flits between unconvincing If You're Reading This... Drake
impressions and piss-poor The Weeknd
paeons. As mentioned earlier, single "Why" is literally just a Weeknd B-side. "Menace," in all its lyrical vagaries and "What You Need" synths is so Weeknd that I had to stop it halfway through and go listen to House of Balloons
to cleanse my palate. "I don't wanna be the menace to *** up your mind again," he sings. What the *** does that even mean?!
He then goes on to casually mention how he wants to commit suicide as if HE's not the menace. It reads like a 15 year old's piss-poor attempt to emulate The Weeknd. "How I Feel" is equal parts Tory Lanez
, with dvsn
's enigmatically nimble production thrown in to further confuse things. This may sound like a glowing endorsement of this unholy union, but for a debut album by an artist that's less popular than Soundcloud mixtapers with no major
Label or Drake backing, this is possibly the worst thing that could be said. It doesn't help that he wastes a good instrumental doing his best Michael Jackson
impersonation, and somehow seems less
authentic than Michael Trapson.
Overall, this project is frustrating as hell. Many of the lyrics here deal with lost love, and the faint spectre of past love lingering over new outings. Somehow, that seems like an apt metaphor for this album. This album is that new girl in your life who, despite possessing a number of good enough qualities, only serves to remind you of the truly dynamic and memorable loves that you left behind. Waking at Dawn
is nothing more than an embittering replacement for better projects.