Review Summary: Tell a bitch good luck.
Lil Peep is not the first artist to combine emo and rap. Anyone who grew up in the late 00s will be able to recall the period when acts such as Brokencyde and Blood on the Dance Floor popularised crunkcore, a genre that blended Southern hip hop and Warped Tour screamo into absolutely terrible music for Hot Topic kids. But whilst crunkcore is laughably ridiculous, Lil Peep made his name with a more subdued and introverted approach, combining booming trap bass with samples from Underoath and Mineral songs. Having created a dedicated fanbase through his mixtapes crybaby
, Lil Peep finally drops Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1
, an album that is ambitious but misses its mark more often than not.
The instrumentals on Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1
mix the 808s and rumbling basslines of trap music with the guitars of early 00s emo music to create an atmosphere that is at once hard-hitting yet bleak. A notable difference on this album to Lil Peep’s previous work is that the compositions are original and not sampled from songs by other artists; the music seems more personal and intimate, and not like Lil Peep is piggybacking off other bands to generate hype. “Brightside” serves as one of the more effective examples of the fusion of emo and trap on the album; the driving guitars that could easily fit into a Brand New song fit seamlessly alongside the vibrating hi-hats and resounding kick drums. Unfortunately, “Brightside” is in the minority as most of the guitars on the album get lost underneath the trap elements. The production on opener and lead single “Benz Truck” places the kick drum and vocals so high in the mix, it’s hard to hear anything else, with “U Said” facing a similar problem. Whilst it’s not the worst production in trap music, it’s frustrating that the combination of emo-inspired guitars and trap elements comes off as muddled and confused, rather than smooth and fluid.
The mixture of emo and trap also carries over into Lil Peep’s lyrics and vocal performance. His lyrics entail equal parts popping xannies and heartbreak; on “Better Off (Dying)”, Lil Peep laments that his drug-fuelled lifestyle comes at the expense of the people around him (“cocaine lined up, secrets that I’m hiding / you don’t wanna find out, better off dying”). Lil Peep’s style of rapping varies between mumbled and drawled, similar to Future and 21 Savage, to bellowing out in raw emotion as if he’s Adam Lazzara. Lil Peep’s vocal performance reflects the depression he raps about
: sometimes stagnating and draining, sometimes severe and powerful. It’s a compelling way to convey his emotions, but one that gets tired quickly; there’s only so many times you can hear Lil Peep slur or scream his way through a verse before it begins to feel like a gimmick. His lyrics also come off as needlessly melodramatic: Lil Peep’s statement that “sometimes life gets ***ed up / that’s why we get ***ed up” on “U Said” is about as subtle as being hit in the face with a hammer. It should come off as cathartic, but simply seems embarrassing.
Lil Peep presents some interesting ideas on Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt. 1
over its brief 24 minute run-time, and it feels like a step forward from his earlier works. By taking two seemingly disparate genres and fusing them, Lil Peep has established himself as one of the more peerless figures in the Soundcloud rap scene. Unfortunately, the execution of these ideas let him down: the production feels messy, and the vocals and lyrics sound more like a 15-year old Sleeping With Sirens fan than the complex emotions that Lil Peep aims for. Lil Peep may be unique, but “the future of emo” he is not.