Bryson Tiller is unlike his peers. After The Weeknd changed the landscape of R&B with his sultry combination of drugs and sex, many artists followed suit. Tiller however is more traditional. His lyrics are pleading and sometimes desperate, and when backed by his trap beats they give the words an extra bite. After the success of his breakthrough hit “Don’t” Tiller was thrust into the spotlight, generating buzz and Instagram captions alike. His sophomore record True To Self is certainly true to his sound, but is more often than not a taxing listen.
[contentblock id=141 img=adsense.png]
Tiller likes to describe his music as ‘trapsoul,’ and while he may claim it as his own the sound is nothing that fellow crooners Drake or PARTYNEXTDOOR haven’t done before. Tiller enjoys the sound so much that this new album is filled with the style – to the point that it can feel like it’s 58 minutes of the same song over and over again. Sure some songs may have added effects to help diversify the sound (most notably the same sample Kendrick Lamar uses on “FEEL,” off his DAMN. album, but they’re often low in the mix. At 19 songs long, it can be a chore listening to the entire thing in one sitting.
In true R&B fashion, Tiller’s main muse is women. While addressing them, instead of playing the victim he’s acknowledging that maybe he isn’t the man he portrays himself as in the songs about him and his come up. While songs like “Self-Made,” “High Stakes” and “Before You Judge” paint Tiller as a cool, confident alpha male, others have him as something else. Regrets (“In Check”), acceptance of a failing relationship (Somethin Tells Me”) and even encouragement to end one (“Teaching Me a Lesson”) are some of the topics addressed and depict Tiller as an honest man; someone who can learn from every experience he has. This should help his career moving forward, but switching up the sound more often is a must if he doesn’t want to sound dull.
As previously mentioned, the album can trudge on at times. With that being said, it’s more of an album you play in your car or in the background while you’re doing something else. Tiller’s limited range and sound hurts him at times, but his aptitude for setting a mood can certainly help when you’re wallowing in your feelings or trying to woo that special someone. All that aside, Tiller knows his fanbase and what they want, and True To Self delivers it, even if it’s an ok record.
True To Self is out now on RCA Records.