Along with my friend in the streets, Viewpoint Editor Dan Brombach, I was disappointed, or at least underwhelmed, by Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” (where almost everything actually sounded the same). To fill the void of my expectation, I went in search of something fresh.
But the truth is, I didn’t have to go far at all. In fact, I didn’t even have to leave the realm of Drake. The Toronto native and former Degrassi star’s label, October’s Very Own (OVO), made its first signing earlier this year in fellow Canadian Jahron Brathwaite, better known as PARTYNEXTDOOR.
With his self-titled debut release, PARTYNEXTDOOR engulfs you in a dreamy, party-going journey as if you’re the ones seeing all these things yourself. The 20-year-old artist/producer mixes the rap/sing blend of his new boss, the enigmatic ambiguity of Frank Ocean, the catchy tone of Miguel, and the mystery and subtle darkness of The Weeknd to craft his own niche.
And all of this is evident from top to bottom, with 10 songs that only last 29 minutes. However, if Frank Ocean and Miguel are rated PG-13, PARTYNEXTDOOR is definitely rated R for anything and everything. Yet, somehow, however crude and direct the lyrics may be, you find yourself nodding along and grooving to the most overt of melodies, as if “I may be slightly offended and shocked by what this dude said, but it sounds incredible and I just don’t care.”
The first two tracks set the tone for what to expect, but then the release fully blossoms from there. “Relax With Me” and “Right Now” will have you in a trance in a matter of seconds. Following that comes “Make A Mil,” the first single released by PARTYNEXTDOOR under OVO. The melody starts with subtle horns and slowly builds with high-hats, basslines and the soothing tone of Brathwaite that becomes something special.
Meanwhile, “Tbh” will probably leave you feeling like you just heard a younger Drake sing off “Thank Me Later” while “Wus Good Curious” win the award for “shocking words you probably never thought you would hear out loud in that order,” yet it will have you swaying in no time.
But the project’s real shining moment is “Over Here,” featuring Drake. If there is one song that you should undoubtedly listen to, it’s right here. “Over Here” is the kind of song that should have been in “Nothing Was the Same.” It has the right mix of harmonic subtlety, catchy hook-crooning and storytelling rap that made Drake famous.
Regardless, “PARTYNEXTDOOR” is certainly something you shouldn’t listen to with a professor or your parents or if you’re trying to impress others outside Howard Street Food Mart, but it’s a highly addictive flourish of 808s, bouncy melodies and pure jams that is just what the doc ordered.
If Drake’s “Nothing Was the Same” is a kick back, then “PARTYNEXTDOOR” is exactly what it sounds like. Fear not, my fellow audio archaeologists -just say you’re going to the bathroom and hop the fence to join in on the festivities.