An album that delivers on Faiyaz’s trademark soothingly dark production and unique vocals but disappoints with a dull theme and lack of variety.
Brent Faiyaz is back with his latest project titled WASTELAND. Containing a mix of skits, intros, interludes and, of course, the tracks themselves, it runs for just over an hour. There isn’t a ton of new music here, as much of it has already been released.
Making music about his toxic love life is far from new for Faiyaz and the project centers around his inability to have healthy relationships.
WASTELAND is Faiyaz’s foray into the complicated, messy and primarily toxic relationships with women in his life. He struggles to empathize with the feelings of those around him. In turn, this leads to the destruction of his relationship with his child’s mother, the central relationship in his life, as it’s implied she commits suicide in the final skit.
That said, there are definitely moments where we see Faiyaz convey some remorse for his actions as well as some recognition that his recklessly lavish lifestyle is unsustainable and certainly not the way to attain any sort of lasting happiness. This is a stark contrast to the Faiyaz of the past who seemed incapable of recognizing the emotional destruction he left in the wake of his brash, flashy behaviour.
As per usual with Faiyaz, production across the project is great. Most beats sound well-assembled and complex yet the music itself really lacks diversity. Individually, the songs are good, yet most come out sounding remarkably similar and it’s hard to differentiate one song from another. Furthermore, the songs are dangerously on theme to the extent that you sort of get tired of the dark, moody, synth-filled, deep bassline tracks.
The majority of music here is synthesized so when there’s any sort of traditional instrumentation it’s highly impactful. Look no further than ANGEL, ROLE MODEL, and WASTING TIME.
It should also be mentioned that Faiyaz did a great job with his use of skits. They further the theme of toxic relationships and create some unique context for the music.
As for features, they are a bit varied in how well they fit. Tyler, Joony and Tre’Armani all do a great job of matching Faiyaz and contributing to the songs they’re on. They also add some great dimension and depth to what Faiyaz is trying to get across.
A track produced by the Neptunes seems right on brand for Faiyaz yet, in its actual execution, it sorely under-delivers. The beat isn’t bad by any means but it really doesn’t sound like something Faiyaz couldn’t have come up with on his own.
Drake’s verse is decent and it fits the song it’s on, but on a track that has little to no musical or lyrical progression, it comes too late. And I hate to say it, but Alicia Keys’ verse is terrible. It’s not on brand for her at all, doesn’t play to her strengths as a vocalist in the slightest, it feels forced, and the lyrics are borrowed and corny.
Overall, this album meets fan’s expectations but definitely doesn’t surpass them. It’s good but not great and it seems like Faiyaz is too scared to go outside his comfort zone. With how much talent Faiyaz has, it would be amazing to see him explore more mature subject matter and branch out creatively.