Review Summary: just another one
Future is easily one of the most talented and creative artists of the decade. His distinctively pristine meld of rapping and singing has done more to expand the possibilities of the human voice in popular music than anyone I can think of, and his balance between releasing insane quantities of music and a relatively consistent standard of quality has helped raise the bar for what we expect out of hip-hop. This has led to an ultra-successful career with a surprising longevity, helped along by a controversial Best New Music in 2015 and the chart-topping "Mask Off" in 2017. But as trap takes steps towards fading off the zeitgeist, so does Future. For the first time in years, he feels like he's catching up. While Save Me
has the same general consistency of any of his projects - nothing he's released on his own has ever been worse than average - it's certainly not one of his best.
This isn't the usual musical drooping that happens a decade into someone's career. If anything, he sounds better than ever, polishing his formula. His crooning has achieved peak energy, harmonizing with twisted clones and swinging athletically from hook to verse. That angelic voice melds with flawless production by new talent Fxxxy and, as usual, members of 808 Mafia. Beats continue on the path away from slimy towards translucent they've been on since Honest
, moonlight shining through the waves and illuminating shark blood. Highlight "Extra" warps vocal chops to sigh out a transcendent grief, another step in the direction that Future fans have been yearning for since "Codeine Crazy" broke that mold. It's safe to say this is another solid Future project, if for no other reason than because it is a Future project.
But Future used to be exciting, someone whose name felt accurate, never an artist who it was safe to say anything about. Every frame of Save Me
comes straight from two sources - his old work, or the work of much younger peers. Nothing about it feels unique in his discography. At twenty minutes, being an EP gives it about half the chance he usually has on his longer albums and tapes to develop a new sound. It's the same old Wilburn, singing about how dark love and lust and the twists in-between are, still as problematically as ever (he continues to work with the rapist Detail, probably because of the success of his production "Selfish"), just inching forward to more pop-centric songwriting. As slow-paced as the growth may be, he's slowly getting better at perfecting his own styles, but it's frustrating to hear him fall behind people who were initially copying him. Juice or Uzi could have both easily dropped this and it would have fit perfectly into their aesthetics. Even the cover art looks like a Soundcloud emo rapper's mixtape, which feels off for a rapper who made his name on the aging Datpiff instead. There's no real reason to listen to this over whatever your favorite project of his is, unless you just really want to hear him do his best X impression. If this sounds appealing to you - and for most fans, including myself, it probably will - check it out. For those on the outside, this is just an example of someone falling into the past.