21 year old rapper Jack Harlow just dropped his latest album, ‘Confetti’, which is reflective of what should be expected from him at this point in his career. The majority of the album centers around drug use, getting drunk and sex. However, towards the end of the album, Jack’s flow and lyricism undergo a tonal shift. We see Jack’s development unfolding in front of the listeners as they progress through the album. But for the bulk of the album, Jack’s subject matter is repetitive and frankly boring, making it difficult to listen to the whole album in one go. Perhaps the bulk of the songs of the album were meant to be listened to individually, not altogether. Due to the subject matter in certain songs, the common theme of nostalgia and dread for growing up are present on ‘Confetti’. Jack has delivered a very polarizing project for his listeners with this one.
The name of Jack’s latest project fits the tonal arc of project well. It starts off with a bang in the first 7 or so songs, with a strong silence to garnish the bang, this being the last few songs on the project where Jack discusses more serious subject matter. It is sad to say, but most of the songs feel like differently written versions of themselves. A lot of the songs talk about getting high or drunk, messing around with girls, and representing the South. Yes he throws in some clever and witty lines in here and there, but for the most part they ride the same wave.
Songs like ‘Rotten’ and ‘Ice’ do have good choruses, making them catchy and addicting. But their appeal ends on the surface, there is no need to dissect them or discuss them. The most you can do with them is jam out to them in the car with some buddies, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It just doesn’t separate Jack from very many rappers coming up right now. But this is to be expected, as he is only 21. He recognizes that he has not gone through as much stuff as other people, and he recognizes that the more appealing aspect of him is his sound and flow as opposed to his lyricism.
But Jack makes an effort to disprove this on the later part of the album, in the form of touching on subjects such as nostalgia and the negative parts that come with growing up. Sadly, the effort came a little too late to convey the intended impact.
The tonal turn in the album takes place with the song ‘Goin Back Down’ where Jack discusses the shift from having fun as a kid to getting in trouble with the law and indulging in escapes such as alcohol or drugs. Even claiming his childhood has been taken in the line, “the child that was in me might be kidnapped now.” Besides the notes of nostalgia he presents here, he also talks about struggles with identity on the song ‘River Road’ where he touches on the success of the projects he’s come out with so far. It’s songs like these that reveal more about Jack and make listeners relate to him more. Not the ones where he raps about alchohol use and sexual relations with several women. Not the ones where he comes up with weird lines like, “Shorty so rotten, coochie like cotton.” Hopefully, Jack will utilize the tone and mood he created on the later songs on the album.
‘Confetti’ is a project that can be looked at as a checkpoint of sorts for Jack’s career. Perhaps Jack tried to emulate the arc that Kendrick Lamar’s album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’, where there’s a clear intent to show Kendricks growth as a rapper from when he began as a teenager, to the release of that album. If this was Jack’s intent, it did not come across nearly as well as when Kendrick did it. It’s sad to say, but the songs that make up the majority of the album struggle to make him stand out from other rappers that are in the game right now. Jack should take into consideration his originality on his next project to better establish himself.
Categories: Arts & Entertainment