NATHAN ALAN SCHWARTZ
If you’re unfamiliar with Steve Lacy’s name let me you give you the brief 411, he previously released an amazing EP called Steve Lacy’s Demo(I think in 2017) and I suggest you check out the songs Ryd, Red, Some and Live you will not regret it I promise you that. Steve Lacy is def a gem in the world of indie R&B. He was a core member of that funky LA based group The Internet. He is an intelligent polymath who I think will go places having already rocked the music world at 21. He is a great story teller. He is equal part Prince and Stevie Wonder(on this album in particular) He has worked with such act as Kendrick Llamar, Tyler The Creator, Gold Link and more.
Steve Lacy’s 21st birthday also marked the release of this debut album, Apollo XXI. It came out on May 24th which makes the album(and Lacy) a Gemini. And like a Gemini this album is whimsical at it’s highest points and indecisive at it’s lowest. Aptly titled like a space shuttle Apollo XXI floats in Lacy’s atmosphere. The songs end up bouncing around on planets with themes of sexuality, relationships and dedication. Which gives it a bit of depth in my opinion.
Throughout the sun-baked so-cal beach funk and soul this debut album exhibits Lacy’s brilliance at driving emotion Apollo XXI is def a work of art but with some flaws.
The opening song “Only if” like the beginning of a dream starts with sitar. Which was an intriguing but in my mind an unnecessary track would work better as something on a demo cd or a b-side. However, I will say that it was a great segweigh into the Steveie Wonderesqe song “Like Me” which is not only the longest song on the album but also arguably its center piece. Lacy doesn’t hold anything back as he shouts from up high proclaiming to the world about his bi-sexuality for the first time . “I only feel energy / I see no gender.” he says. But, not only is this song about HIS bi-sexuality but is about others sexuality whatever that may be. This song deserves to be a an anthem for folks young and old who haven’t come out yet. It’s unusual setup adds to “Only If’ dream feel.
“playground” the third track on the album to me is one of the best tracks, it is a wonderful horny, funky, sexy soul fuckride. It is also one of a few songs on this album that reminded me why I love Lacy so much. It is by far the strongest song on the album in my opinion. Conversely, the song “Basement Jack” has a great message but the song it self was repetitive to the point of annoyance Another strong track is “Guide” because it feels as though Lacy truly called on the sprit of Prince’s falsetto via the 70’s
Forgettable tracks like “Lay Me Down,” “Hate Cd” “In Lust We Trust “and “N-Side” is what brings this album down. And are a great disappoint to me as a Lacy fan because I do feel like these songs had potential but just were not ready yet.
Overall, I feel like this was a great effort for a debut album. I think it displays a wide array of Steve’s talent, even on the weaker songs. I look forward to hearing wht comes out of this polymath next!
Nathan Alan Schwartz is master and servant.
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Litstyle, Music, Nathan Alan Schwartz, R&B/Hip-Hop