The Underrated: The Internet's Ego Death

By @TrueGodImmortal

1. Get Away 
2. Gabby featuring Janelle Monae 
3. Under Control 
4. Go With It featuring Vic Mensa
5. Just Sayin/I Tried 
6. For The World featuring James Fauntleroy 
7. Girl featuring KAYTRANADA
8. Special Affair
9. Somthing's Missing 
10. Partners In Crime Part Three 
11. Penthouse Cloud 
12. Palace/Curse featuring Tyler The Creator and Steve Lacy

There were albums that always flew under my radar, mostly due to my close minded preconceived notion about the artist themselves or the crew they were connected to. Admittedly during the period of 2010-2013, I missed out on a lot of newer music due to this, and one group that I missed the initial wave on was the Odd Future affiliated group The Internet. I wasn't really checking for Odd Future or anything related to OF (and yes that includes the music of Frank Ocean) just based off what I knew about them and read (and heard). I thought the kids had some potential, but I wasn't interested. I remember sitting on Spotify one day, and I came across their artist page. Their first album "Purple Naked Ladies" was a bit of a cluttered mess, but I couldn't help but think to myself that I really enjoyed the production. Keyboard centered, with soulful yet jazz elements are right up my alley, so I truly enjoyed this part. I was a little late to the party on their 2nd album, "Feel Good", but I liked what I did hear. Still, it wasn't to make me a regular fan for some reason. They were still finding their sound and still honing the craft I felt and perhaps they would get it right on their third project, if they made one.

They did. 

I was hesitant to listen to their third album when it first dropped, mainly because I was in the middle of working on Root For The Villain when it dropped. However, I kept hearing people discuss this new album and instantly gravitated to Spotify, once again, to take a listen. I had always thought Syd The Kid had amazing vocals, and brought a relatable songwriting perspective. I had never really knew what the songs from a group led by an openly lesbian lead singer would bring, but I really didn't care. While I personally wouldn't want to hear some of the songs that her Odd Future member Frank Ocean made for the same sex, for obvious reasons (call it what you want, I don't think straight men want to hear men singing about other men.... that's pretty damn normal), I felt endeared to the vibe and the sound of Syd and the music was undeniable. To be frank, while Earl Sweatshirt and Tyler The Creator made decent music, and Domo Genesis was decent as well, the greatest thing to come from the OF collective Is The Internet, more so this project honestly. Ego Death is moody, emotional, soulful, smooth, and beautifully honest. From beginning to end, it's quite the listening experience.

From the opening sounds of the drum and bass heavy "Get Away", Syd kicks the album off with one of my favorite opening lines, though it confuses you at first. The song starts so abruptly that you almost think you started the album on the wrong track or that a piece of the song is missing. "Get Away" is my personal favorite song on this particular project honestly, as the infectious hook and the melodies make it such an enjoyable listen. As I mentioned, Syd's opening lines are something special to me, because it sets the tone and perfectly introduces us to the album called Ego Death. Syd seems unhappy with the mundane in the song as she begins:

"Now she wanna fuck with me (fuck with me)/
Live a life of luxury/
Models in my money trees/
Such beautiful company/
Fuck a 9 to 5/ 
I'm seeing dollar signs/
But I'm still driving around in my old whip, Still living at home/
Got issues with my old chick, she blowin' up my phone/
Talkin ‘bout some bullshit
Like who's this, who's that
Could be worse/
So to calm her nerves/
I just tell her..."

This leads to the beautiful hook, which is essentially explaining that to get beyond the stress and drama of life that Syd and her companion smoke and just relax. The title gave away where the song would go direction wise. After we get this smooth introduction, Janelle Monae joins Syd for an interesting tale on "Gabby", which seems to be about a woman who could very well be trouble, but Syd is still drawn to her regardless. The lyrics can confuse you at times, but I tend to enjoy that aspect. While "Gabby" isn't my personal favorite song, it's a nice cool down so to speak from the intense intro and the perfect bridge to the next song, and another one of my favorites "Under Control". The production on "Under Control" is absolutely amazing. The jazzy element on the hook, along with the breezy instrumentation throughout elevates the song itself. Syd sings the song perfectly here and the drums are so well executed here that it's really the most relaxing listen on the album overall. The instrumental could just be played all the way through with no lyrics and I'd love it just as much.

Every album has a song that you don't like or a piece of a song that could do without, and truthfully, "Go With It" is one track that I wouldn't mind losing a part of it. The rap from Vic Mensa adds nothing to the song at all, but luckily we have the smooth vocals of Syd to make up for the small mishap of a pointless verse. The production of this track is honestly far more breezy than you'd expect, with the rhythm almost inspiring a small two-step, and the instruments are once again doing their job. As the song closes, it drifts off very slowly, and I can't lie, I wanted to hear more of Syd and her vocals. This is what you're supposed to do: leave the listener wanting more. You can't go wrong at all. This leads into the two part track "Just Sayin/I Tried", which starts off with a relatable vibe of "you fucked up and should have done right by me" on the first part. The beat here is more boom bap bouncy and almost on the edge of a commercial crossover track, but it's still enjoyable. The continous flow of "you fucked up" and the "I don't love you no more" riff throughout the track is extremely infectious. The 2nd part, the "I Tried" section if you will, is very dope and starts off with an acoustic vibe in the beginning. It is certainly a step into a direction that gives off a melancholy vibe, but also with some classic R&B sensibility. The diversity in the vibe and sound from the collective is what makes the song itself stand out. Had the lyrics or content been executed on bland or regular production, this might not work, but the overall presentation, as well as the background vocals strategically placed on the 2nd part are just harmonious and very pleasing to the ears. This song is probably the most underrated piece of the entire album, to be honest.

The very catchy and jazzy "For The World" features James Fauntleroy and is a collection of melodies that seem infused for one common goal. I consider this song more so something to lay back and vibe to, and though it's not necessarily a standout track on this album, it's very dope. It fits perfectly into the cohesion and flow of the album and leads us right into the biggest single from the album, the KAYTRANADA assisted "Girl". The first time I heard this song, I ran it back a few times, because it catches and grabs your ear instantly. The opening sound makes for what seems like an epic build and once the drums drop, you start to get struck by anticipation on where the song goes next. As soon as Syd comes in with the hook, it's absolutely mesmerizing you already. Check the simple yet effective hook:

If they don't know your worth
Tell 'em you're my girl
And anything you want is yours"

So simple, yet the delivery and the way it's structured makes it so strong. The verses are actually pretty intricate here, making for a journey through what feels like the ups and downs of a relationship, but the attempt to overcome the issues is stronger than anything. The 2nd part of the track however, or the reprise/bridge at the end leaves us with something to ponder on about the situation at hand. The lyrics almost speak of a one sided relationship, or something of that sort where one is more invested than the other. Syd seems to explain it in a manner that makes it alright even, and allows for her insecurities and hesitation to make more sense in this context, as you can see:

"Baby, baby, love me, shade me
Keep me wrapped up in your open arms
Come on, baby, gave me, something amazing
But don't mistake me for someone, for the next girl"

If this doesn't make you raise an eyebrow at the nature of the relationship itself that Syd described in the first part of the song, perhaps this final closing couplet will:

"We don't fight, we just fuck/
I'm in like, she's in love/
She gave in, I gave up/
Can we just live in the moment?"

It's a very complex dynamic from the lyrics, and while I always wonder about the complexity within Syd's lyrics, I'm aware that they serve a purpose. When we make it to the slow and nearly sensual "Special Affair", the vibe is essentially all over the place on this album, and it works very well. The production is so cohesive that the scattered genius of Syd is allowed the freedom to go wherever she wants. This song has some very booming drums, with minimal instruments that create another infectious melody, likely handled via the many keyboards on the album. The song itself is a very relaxing listen, but once again, Syd's ability to make the hooks so damn infectious really hits the peak here. Imagine these lyrics being sung by someone without the melodic vocal touch of Syd:

"I bet this Patron make you feel nice and comfortable
Tryna act nice girl your cover's blown
But you already knew that
You already knew that
You already knew that"

As simple as the lyrics are in the hook, they captivate the ear and instantly call out to you. I remember listening to this song one day during a commute and I kept on repeating the hook over and over, running the song back a few times just to hear the hook. The song is really one of the more catchy ones here, and considering every song has a catchy vibe, that's a pretty heavy statement. I remember I skipped over "Somthing's Missing" the first time I heard the album, then something told me to go back and listen, and I was certainly glad that I did. The sounds of the production are extremely upbeat, and I loved everything about this song. The 2nd part of the song, something that anyone who knows me (and my music) knows that I love additional parts to a song, is very smooth also. It's simple but very effective. Exactly what you'd expect at this point in the album and the drums kept me nodding my head. The same could be said for the track "Partners In Crime Part Three", a continuation of the first 2 parts from their first two projects, and I really enjoyed the sound and vibe, as I did on the first 2.

When we reach the end of the album, I can't help but enjoy the amazing sound of "Penthouse Cloud". It's like alternative soul combined with a form of psychedelic rock, along with contemporary jazz, if you will. Syd goes for the less layered vocals here, and gives the song a somber feel. Considering the topic here, it's understandable. There is a lot of talk of death in the lyrics, so the more somber tone in the delivery makes perfect sense. The 2nd part of the track (you knew there would be one here) is literally just a laid back instrumental that sort of leaves the ending up to the listener in terms of how they perceive it. That's a great touch, and when we think the album is pretty much done, there's one fitting end to the project, and it comes in the form of a two part final track in "Palace/Curse".

The upbeat rhythm of "Palace" almost brings us full circle from the beginning of "Get Away" from a conceptual standpoint at least. Tyler The Creator joins the group here, though he wasn't really needed on the song, he doesn't take away from it. Interestingly enough, the vibe on the 2nd part of the song "Curse" is oddly enough Pharrell inspired, or should I say N.E.R.D. inspired. The hook is extremely reminiscent of N.E.R.D., and considering the group has worked with Chad Hugo of the Neptunes before, it should be no shock that the sound influenced the group. However, "Curse" brings the album to a close in the best way possible. With 12 songs and honestly nothing weak on this album, I'd categorize The Internet's Ego Death as one of the best albums to come out in the 2010s, and probably will hold onto the title of a classic. There is a timeless element in each song, and the replay value of this album is something that not many albums I've had the pleasure of listening to have. I can play this album all the way through multiple times without skipping anything and that's rare these days. If you haven't given Ego Death a chance, please do so and enjoy the rhythms and sounds. Most of all, if anything, recognize the brilliance of Syd The Kid and the independence of The Internet being claimed here, as they went from a group from Odd Future to earning their own identity here. That's what makes this album REALLY special. It gives The Internet their own identity and redefined their sound. That is something amazing to hear, witness, and experience.



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