19th August 2016 – Steel Wool Entertainment
01. Tiny Glowing Screens Part 3 ft. Camila Recchio & Danny “Skyhigh” McClain
02. Talking to Myself
03. Chemical Angel
04. Little Slice ft. Danny “Skyhigh” McClain
05. Springtime in New York
06. Pink Lemonade w/ Invisible Inc.
07. Don’t Be Nice
08. Yes Britannia
09. Love Letters
10. Stick to Your Guns ft. Julia Nunes
11. Brave New World ft. Chaos Chaos
12. Going Down
13. Midnight Heart ft. Mal Devisa
14. Lovely Thing Suite: Conversations
15. Lovely Thing Suite: Knots
16. Lovely Thing Suite: Roses
17. Lovely Thing Suite: Theories
18. Exquisite Corpse ft. Dumbfoundead, Grieves, Adam Vida, Wax, Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs & Chinaka Hodge
Seeing an artist progress is about as satisfying as it gets as a fan. To be able to legitimately say that someone’s new album is better than their last – without a trace of hyperbole – whilst waving a copy in the face of anyone who can’t run away fast enough is incredibly gratifying; like inhaling a deep breath of some kind of weird fresh-baked bread, fresh-cut grass sandwich, and eating it in the rain. So it is for Watsky‘s latest cut x Infinity; an album that embodies not only progression and maturity, but also experimentation, variety and integrity. Get a good whiff of it.
In fact, it is integrity that over-arches everything on x Infinity. Including a song that addresses the American school shooter phenomenon with anything less than outrage at the perpetrator, or another about not taking his some fairly serious medication because it interferes with the very person he is, is a risk, artistically and commercially - but taking stances is 100% Watsky, and something which undoubtedly endears him to fans.
However principles aside, x Infinity is a gargantuan, complex package with a near incalculable number of moving parts: impressive doesn’t quite cut it. A myriad of excellent guest spots aside - Mal Devisa on “Midnight Heart” and a haunting turn from Chaos Chaos on “Brave New World“ in particular stand out, as well as the raft of familiar talent (including Hamilton alumnus Daveed Diggs) on narrative showcase “Exquisite Corpse” – the work of the core group is just phenomenal. George, along with long-time collaborators Kush Mody, Wax and Anderson Paak, have noticeably stepped up the game from Watsky’s previous, and frankly already strong efforts. Each of the mammoth eighteen tracks exudes its own personality, whether by form, message, or just sheer audacity. The pure wordplay porn of “Don’t Be Nice” sits starkly against the melancholy “Conversations“, and then again against the sentimental simplicity of “Chemical Angel” or the eccentric, Snoop Doggy-y “Pink Lemonade“.
Sophistication oozes from this thing – for the most part. For all this growth, Watsky retains that delightfully uncouth, juvenile sense of humour present in much of his earlier work. A track entirely dedicated to the virtues of equal opportunities oral sex sits at the peak of a pile of similarly tongue in cheek references to booger-bukkake, tear-inducing tushies, and ice pops in intimate places.
Perhaps the most potent weapon in Watsky’s arsenal is his personality. There are plenty of people who don’t like or don’t get what he does – and he knows it; it’s freely referenced in “Love Letters” – but he places himself, bar a natural amount of self-abridgment of course, entirely into his work. His music is indelibly a product of everything he is, from his quick wit to his unerring emotional transparency, and from his disarming whimsy to his incredible mental and oral agility – and it really resonates with people.
x Infinity realises the difficult task of consummating artistic vision, straddling the canyon between the integrity of following creative urges and still making it listenable – not with ease, but well-acknowledged struggle. It builds on the promise of earlier work, standing firmly on its shoulders whilst charging bravely ahead, like a kamikaze chicken-fight champion.
To quote the man himself: “This shit is fucking unbelievable; I swear you couldn’t write this stuff.”