Review Summary: Bad albums forever
Well here it is. I have to admit that I’m pretty surprised that X’s estate is billing this as his final album, which we all know is a lie. Give it a few months and we’ll probably have a few more scrapings of the bottom of the barrel for sale. How long until ‘Having Fun on Stage with X’ and ‘The Jahseh Onfroy Seance’ are released? God knows. For now we have this: ‘Bad Vibes Forever’, an album X intended to release a few years ago. It’s probably a good thing we’re getting it now given the man’s terrible track record and history of releasing unfinished albums, and his estate has kindly spruced things up to make them sound a little more finished. However, given their treatment of last year’s ‘Skins’, which was the exact opposite of completed, my hopes weren’t high. But hey, maybe this one will be different. ‘Bad Vibes Forever’ is nearly one hour long, the longest album attached to the X brand and contains a fair few songs. Are any of them good? Is it an improvement from his previous records? Let’s have a look.
First thing I should note is that Bad Vibes Forever is less of a rap album and more of an emo folk/RNB record. A massive chunk of the songs are simply X and a guitar, sometimes accompanied by a guest and sometimes with some trap drums. While he does rap occasionally, he spends most of the album singing (or mumbling). The songs, like those on his other albums, are brief, with most levelling out at 2 minutes and under. The longest one is 4 minutes (I think that’s actually the longest song he’s ever released to be entirely honest). And of course, as expected, THEY AREN’T FINISHED. There are 25 songs on this album and only a few feel slightly completed. Given how the man is dead and obviously couldn’t rise from the grave to finish his verses, the producers have searched his hard drive to find any vocal snippets they can cram onto this thing. Naturally, X barely appears on this record. Sure, he’s on all the tracks but his presence is scant, where he either delivers a single, short verse before they loop whatever they have to fill out the run time or a collaborator swoops in to finish the song. This is especially prevalent on the tracks ‘Limbo’ where Lil’ Peep soundalike Killstation takes up a bulk of the song with X only stopping in to offer a brief verse, the bizarre ‘Ecstasy’ where Noah Cyrus’ vocal segments are filled out by weird barely audibly spoken word parts and ‘Daemons’ where X lays down possibly the worst verse in his entire career, sounding like he’s got a sore throat and is drugged up on ambien. The collaborators themselves either greatly outshine X (which is incredibly easy here, let’s be real) or are completely wasted. Lil’ Wayne’s verse on ‘School Shooters’ is downright horrific and Rick Ross shows up to deliver a so so set of bars before he disappears and you forget he was even there. Thankfully, the Lil’ Nas X country rap song that was teased in a pre release interview isn’t here, so maybe we got lucky.
A good chunk of the songs, along with being unfinished, are just ***ing laughably bad. X’s vocals are some of the worst he’s ever released and they greatly affect some of the scraps passing as songs here. He either sounds bored as sin or jacked out of his mind, performing in a goofy and scratchy tone that ends up just sounding completely indescribable. Instead of working around his weird voice here and making some of the beats a bit more layered back and light hearted, they’re given edgy bass heavy backings which create these bizarre contrasts which just make the whole project sound even more stupid. ‘Eat It Up’ is a serious contender for worst song of the year and one which exemplifies everything wrong with this thing. Are there any good songs here? Any at all?! ‘Royalty’ is decent enough I guess, with its ominous but restrained sound and solid bares from the collaborators but again, X is barely on it and a huge chunk of the track is dedicated to the 3 other artists (ON A 3 MINUTE SONG). ‘Wanna Grow Old (I Won’t Let Go)’ is surprisingly quite beautiful with a lovely performance from Jimmy Levy and some light string accompaniment to make a fairly nice little song. ‘Hearteater’ isn’t terrible either. But the rest? Why bother?
I’m fairly convinced at this point that the estate is doing this on purpose and this whole operation is some type of satire. There’s a track on here called ‘The Interlude That Never Ends’ for god’s sake. Either they’re fucking geniuses and have managed to mock the dozens of fans who will ‘eat it up’ then I applaud them because that would be pretty funny or this is completely straight faced. Of course it’s going to be the latter. I don’t know what else I expected to be honest. Suppose I should’ve seen this coming. Guess the only good thing I can say has come from this is that they won’t be milking his corpse for any more cash. But who am I kidding? I said it before and I’ll say it again. Money never sleeps.
Wanna Grow Old (I Won’t Let Go)