Review Summary: x Infinity: delivering orgasms purely structured from sound since 2016.
Before he would release Complaint in 2019, Watsky handed us x Infinity, gave us a kiss goodbye, and went on a 2.5 year hiatus. Was the album that he left us with any good, though? Yeah, totally. I might be slightly biased, but there's no question that this album is definitely Watsky's best effort so far. This album boasts 18 tracks (the first 13 being regular tracks, after which an LP titled "Lovely Thing Suite" occurs from tracks 14-17, and track 18 is a bonus track). For an album in the 2010's, that is a lot of content. And the best part is that almost every single second of this album is really solid from start to finish. It's a whale of a time to listen to. But it's not perfect.
The writing on this album is at Watsky's finest. Most of the time it doesn't sound like he's trying too hard, but his lyrics don't sound off beat like he's gone bat*** crazy. The lyrics on every single track seem to have found the perfect balance of seriousness and lightheartedness, and it sounds beautiful. Certain lines on "Chemical Angel," such as the lyrics 'I don't know if I'm close to drowning/Deeper than anybody on the planet has ever been under the sea' and 'I touch my artery/And watch my fingertips bob up and down like buoys at sea' fit this description. These lyrics don't sound like they're trying too hard to fit a certain metaphor, but still, sound wonderful. George (Watsky's first name, probably should've said so sooner) even manages to make simple sentences into lyrics that fit into the track and work wonderfully as a hook. On "Lovely Thing Suite: Conversations," George manages to take the sentence 'That isn't for a long, long time' and turned it into a hook that sounds nice and works with the track.
The songwriting isn't the only strength of this record, though. The melodies are crafted beautifully and practically bless this album. Just listen to "Lovely Thing Suite: Roses" with headphones on and you'll know what I'm talking about. However, there are also simpler melodies on some tracks that fit well because, well, they're simple. Take "Springtime in New York," for example. This track isn't rapping or singing, but rather spoken word, so its simple beat made up of some guitar notes, a drum kit, and a sexy-ass trumpet work all too well. In fact, it'd be better if you just listen to the album to hear its melodies rather than me making a pathetic attempt to explain them.
However, I've been kissing this album's ass a bit too thoroughly, because it's not all sunshine and rainbows. There are moments on the album that tend to cover quite frankly taboo subjects, which isn't something Watsky is notorious for, per se. That's not to say he doesn't cover serious topics and deep memories from his lifetime, because he does. But I'm pretty sure he didn't write a song about performing oral sex on both genders until he wrote "Going Down." Just the mere fact that this track decided to cover such an odd and undiscussed subject kind of made it a magnet that specializes in repelling most Watsky fans. I personally like this song, but I can't say the same for most other Watsky fans, unfortunately. The album's lead single, "Stick To Your Guns," covers a school shooting event from the view of the school shooter his/her self, as well as the views from a journalist/news headliner and a political take on the event. This concept is really cool and Watsky handled it well, but fans didn't really expect this sort of take on an event that's as common (these days, anyway) as a school shooting It doesn't feel natural, and therefore the single didn't gain much traction from fans.
Then there are uncomfortable moments. Remember "Springtime in New York?" About halfway through the track, it launches into this rough spot, where Watsky's voice suddenly becomes loud and gritty, and random, unnatural sounds are blasting at the same time. It feels awkward like it shouldn't belong in a 2.5-minute long spoken word track. On the previously mentioned "Going Down," there are several lines that just don't feel right, such as 'So in this scenario where I brush my teeth with a penis/Let's assume that the penis we're dealing with sparkles the cleanest of all.' This line, among others, was probably part of the reason why most fans prefer to sit this one out.
Overall, it seems as though Watsky really wanted x Infinity to be his best effort, and it most certainly was. There were certain moments where he began to slack a bit or go a little overboard with the way he wrote his music, and these moments make up this album's holes. But accept that the holes are there, give the album a full listen or two, and you'll realize that this is one Watsky album we can all be happy with.