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DAR Music: The Consistency Of The Internet

By @TrueGodImmortal

So, today is a good day. As I begin writing this, I am currently listening to the new album from my favorite group The Internet, as they have just released their next project titled Hive Mind. The album is 13 tracks long and full of the music that has made the group my favorite act of the decade. It wasn't always this way. Years ago, when The Internet debuted, I was indifferent to the group for so many reasons. Their image didn't fit with the norm, and I never really gave their music a look as a result. I was missing out of course, and I regret not finding out about their music much sooner than I did. When the group came to my attention in 2013, they had already released an album, and were on their way to bigger and better things. Their sound was a smooth jazzy style that was driven by live instrumentation and the lovely vocals of Syd, and their arrival set off something special. Becoming a fan of this amazing group was an experience in itself for me, and I'm glad I did. I was aware of Odd Future, but I was never really a fan, so for me, the rise of The Internet was both shocking and inspiring. As a fan of music, I try to be open minded, but I admittedly had no interest at first in listening, and I'll be honest and say I was completely wrong. There is a lot of great talent that comes from the Odd Future brand and if I'm being real, The Internet is the best group of artists to come from there (yes, above Earl, Hodgy, and Tyler IMO) and the most consistent group in music today. How did it all get to this point? Well, let's see.

The origin of the group came in 2011, and their name started off as a joke. With Syd and Matt Martians having a desire to start a band up, they would take what Left Brain once said in an interview and use it as a name. It was catchy for obvious reasons and naturally, it stuck. If you were unaware of Odd Future and what they represented, you might have been intrigued just by seeing the name The Internet, but the truth of the matter is, the talent that the group has far exceeds the catchy name that might have grabbed your attention. With Syd The Kid as the lead vocalist and driving force of the group, The Internet would work on their first album, titled Purple Naked Ladies. It would be the first album released on Odd Future Records and while it wasn't a commercial success, it would definitely become a great starting point for a group that had so much potential going forward. The album arrived in December 2011 to mixed reviews, perhaps a sign that critics weren't understanding of the magnitude of the level of creativity and talent this group had. There is also the chance that the album was not as good as it could have been, and while I do see that perspective, I think being so young, this album showcases the group at a very youthful moment in their lives and the music reflects that. With highlights like "She Knows", "Fastlane", "Web Of Me", and more, Purple Naked Ladies was a solid debut that showcased what the group can do, but also hinted at much greater potential. They would also release a bonus EP with the album months after the original release, which also featured some highlights. The Internet had arrived with their debut, but did they have the staying power to keep it up?

It seems as if the group gets better with every release and that itself is an amazing feat to accomplish. Their next album would be the 2013 release Feel Good, and this was the album that really caught my attention. Syd is an amazing vocalist and the way she manages to write and craft these songs is beyond amazing. She has become one of my favorite artists personally over the last few years and her output is admirable. When Feel Good arrived in September 2013, the critics responded a lot better to this album, which would infuse the jazzy elements alongside Neo-Soul and some traditional R&B as well. The Internet seemed to be continuing their evolution as artists and growing and that is probably a plus that they have on their side. With Feel Good being well received, the group would upgrade everything this go round and end up on tour with Mac Miller. The Feel Good album was well put together, featuring some solid guest appearances from Yuna and Mac Miller, with highlights such as the slightly big single "Dontcha", the smooth "Sunset", the epic "Cloud Of Our Own", and the excellent yet lengthy "Higher Times" as well. All in all, Feel Good was really the stamp of arrival for the group and it would start perhaps the most consistent run by a group that we've seen in some years.

After Feel Good, it isn't truly known what changes happened or what got into the group, but they would find their way back to the studio for an album that changed many people's perception about the group and put them in the conversation instantly for the best group in music. Feel Good may have introduced them to the conversation, but their next work would open the doors for them to walk on through and also for possible solo endeavors as well. That album that changed everything is their 2015 classic Ego Death, which is still in regular rotation for me. It is interesting though, while the critics were even more welcoming to this album, they still didn't seem to get it. Ego Death was not your typical 7 out of 10 album or 3.5 out of 5 album, it was beyond that with ease. The instrumentation and production, the vocals, the hooks, everything flowed perfectly on this album and this was where The Internet truly became the best group in music. It was as if they were knocking on the door softly with Feel Good, then kicked it down with Ego Death. In this era, soulful inspired music is very easy to find, but there are very few in this era that execute it quite like The Internet. Syd was once again amazing on this album, and with the critics showing the album love, and it finding its way onto many album of the year lists, Ego Death would receive Grammy nominations. I was shocked to see Ego Death didn't win, as I could not find an album that was better in that category that year, but we know how it goes with those awards. Still, Ego Death would be a critical success and a mildly successful commercial release, and spawn so many classic tracks from "Special Affair" to "Get Away" to "Girl" to "Curse" to my personal favorite "Under Control", and even more. The Internet had their coming of age album with Ego Death and with that project, they would find themselves in a position where they could expand even more and seek solo success as well.

The solo projects from the group would come mostly during 2017, a little less than two years removed from Ego Death and it once again highlighted their consistency as artists. Starting with Matt Martians and his release titled The Drum Cord Theory, The Internet would show that the individual pieces were just as capable as well. Matt Martians album is a mix of the jazzy Neo-Soul vibe that The Internet perfected, with a psychedelic style spliced in throughout the album. It is a creative journey that features some great music and was a great way to jumpstart the run of  solo projects from The Internet. Steve Lacy would release a project as well shortly after titled Steve Lacy's Demo, a short EP created on his iPhone that featured a bristling amount of funk and soul backed by his powerful vocals. Aside from the release of Loud from Christopher Smith, who would become a part of the duo C&T, the solo highlights for 2017 were all executed beautifully, but of course, the lead vocalist had to have some fun as well.

Syd had a great 2017, starting with her first solo album Fin, and finishing the year with a short EP titled Always Never Home. For me, the Fin album was actually one of the more underrated projects of the year, as Syd was able to test herself more and expand musically even more, if that's even possible. Fin features production from a number of great sound creators from Hit Boy to Hazebanga to Flip to Steve Lacy himself and the project doesn't disappoint. While of course, none of the solo projects compared to Ego Death, they weren't too far behind and the openness that Syd expresses on Fin is welcoming for sure. She gets candid on the standout "Insecurities", controls the tempo on "Know", and makes another classic with "Drown In It". Her ability to craft such great music is a great asset to the Odd Future brand and she would manage to continue that with the Always Never Home EP. With only three songs, there wasn't much to speak about, but each song is a highlight. Of the three, my favorite is probably "Moving Mountains", but "Bad Dream/No Looking Back" is just as good, and those songs are in a different class than the third one "On The Road", which is still a solid listen. With the group getting their solo projects out the way, it was time for them to return and make more great music that we would enjoy.  They proved they could do it together and separately and now, we would see them return with new perspectives and a sense of independence as well. As 2018 arrived, we learned the title and the next album was on the way.

Today, if you're reading this on July 20th, the new album from The Internet has arrived. I managed to listen to it about 13 hours earlier and stream it, and I'm glad I did. The album is a near masterpiece upon my first few listens, and since it has released, I've listened in full about 4 times. The album is on par with Ego Death, and if you ask me which album is better in perhaps a few months, I might be inclined to say Hive Mind is better. The production is beautiful, with some jazz elements still present, a lot of funk added, some Neo-Soul, and more. Every song has a different feel and it flows beautifully throughout. Tracks like "Stay The Night", "Wanna Be", "Next Time/Humble Pie", and "Hold On" are highlights, but so far, there isn't one weak track on this album, which is quite an amazing feat for the group. Hive Mind continues their progression and evolution as artists and once again solidified them as the best group in music currently. At a later time, I might give a more detailed review of Hive Mind, but for now, I want to enjoy the music for a little while longer, and let everything settle in even more. However, upon the first few listens, it was clear that The Internet is here and they're not going anywhere. Their consistency is unstoppable. What's next for this talented group? That is going to be exciting to watch in the coming years.


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