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Review: Denzel Curry embraces a softer sound and opens up on ‘Melt My Eyez See Your Future’

Photo courtesy Loma Vista Recordings

By Jacob Pellegrino     4/6/22 12:22am

Rating: ★★★★

Top Track: “Walkin”

Known for his aggressive vocal performances and experimental rap stylings, “Melt My Eyez See Your Future” is Denzel Curry’s most emotionally vulnerable project yet, portraying his own inner musings instead of an alter-ego’s. Curry described his inspiration for the album as “a combination of what’s going on right now in the world and Akira Kurosawa films.” Known for his distinctive style, Kurosawa created movies that are often considered in the canon of art cinema, a sense of artistic intentionality that Curry embraces throughout the album.

Denzel Curry trades in his typical heavier style for a softer jazz and neo-soul influenced piece that emphasizes reflection and self-discovery. The title, “Melt My Eyez See Your Future,” comes from a phrase Curry jotted down in late 2018. Later, he returned to those words and interpreted a new meaning in what he had haphazardly written. In an interview, Curry explained that “Melt My Eyez” represents people’s tendency to avoid painful truths, even obvious ones. 

“‘See Your Future’ comes from self-reflection and the realization that I’m going to do something to better the world by letting them know that we are all the same and we can move forward in life if we don’t focus on the past,” Curry said. His newfound self-awareness permeates the album.

The first taste of Curry’s change in style comes from the album’s leading single, “Walkin,” which debuted alongside a cinematic music video. The track opens with looping female vocals, joined by pared-down instrumentation that allows room for Curry’s vocals. In the first verse, he leans into the influences of the world around him, touching on institutional racism, mass shootings and alcoholism as a means to cope. These themes are expanded in the chorus, where he emphasizes how there “ain’t no options for my partners, so they resort to scams and robbin’.”

Later in the song, he continues to expand upon the discrimination he faces as a Black man and opens up about his positive experiences with therapy. His awareness and honesty are complemented by the simple beat, leading to a satisfying and meaningful track.

“X-Wing” features a more traditional rap beat while addressing his success and consumerism. The opening lines, “All these beats go dumb in the stereo / But I’m just too smart for the radio,” call out songs made for the common denominator, or simplified for the average listener, something Curry refuses to do. Even as he criticizes consumerism in the music industry, the chorus of the song feeds into it as Curry uses his wealth to get the latest and greatest, always in search of something new. The drums, glimmering piano, and orchestral touches seamlessly weave into Curry’s melodic chorus, crafting a sound reminiscent of a more relaxed version of his style in his older track “CLOUT COBAIN.”

Another highlight of the album is “Angelz,” a track that revisits many of the themes seen throughout the album. Curry begins the song with juxtapositions of medication and meditation, being rich or “surrounded by chalk.” Curry also looks at his desire for validation throughout his life and career and how that ultimately comes from within, a theme of the album. The plodding bass in the background of the track combines with angelic, feminine vocals in the chorus to elevate the track and give further meaning to the lyrics.

“Melt My Eyez See Your Future” is an ambitious stylistic switch for Curry, ultimately creating a worthwhile listening experience that showcases his skill as a musician and artist.

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