Watsky’s “x Infinity” Album Review

Hello, I am MusiCommentator, and this album review was a request by DumCheese at Rileys Backpack.  If you want to see a song or album reviewed, leave a comment down below!

George Virden Watsky (stage name Watsky) is an American rapper, author, and poet from San Francisco, California who is known for his quirky rap style and incredibly fast flows.  His first album was “Invisible Inc.” released in 2007, but he did not really start to gain acclaim until he released his 2013 album “Cardboard Castles”.

I first heard of Watsky when he was featured on Ellen.  Since he was on a big platform, he was of course going to bring out his speedy flows, and that really impressed me.  So, I looked into Watsky’s other YouTube videos and took a gander at his discography.  I ended up downloading “Cardboard Castles” and his most recent album “x Infinity” (he decided to take an Ed Sheeran route to naming albums, so it’s pronounced “TIMES Infinity”, not “ex Infinity” like I originally thought).  I listened to them and thought they were pretty good, but have not listened to them for a while.  Since I got the request to review his latest album, I listened to “x Infinity” a few more times and now have a solid opinion on it.

Song Synopses:

#1: Tiny Glowing Screen Part 3 (Featuring Danny McClain & Camila Recchio)

Starting this album is the third part to “Tiny Glowing Screens”.  The first two “Tiny Glowing Screens” were featured on “Cardboard Castles” and focused on both human and media obsession with technology (which I find kind of weird because I bet most of his album sales are done electronically, but that’s none of my business).  However, I really do not see how this song fits into that narrative.  The glossy, cinematic beat is really nice, probably one of the best beats on the album, and the raspy introduction is a good touch, but there is really nothing about technology said in the song.  There is an occasional line on that topic here or there, but the song is mainly about him enjoying life to the fullest.  Now, there is nothing wrong with that, of course, but I feel like this song was just given this title to bring in some of his older listeners, which is a really low tactic, especially for Watsky.

#2: Talking To Myself

This song is about the more existential and personal thoughts Watsky has in his mind.  I really like the starting lines “One day you opened up your eyes inside of you/Inside a world inside a universe you didn’t get to choose/You didn’t get to pick the rules or pick the past or set the pace/Or cast the cast and crew you didn’t get to pick your starting place”.  There are some good, consistent rhyme schemes and he utilizes his fast flows in the second verse.  Nothing really to complain about here.  Move on to the next one.

#3: Chemical Angel

In this song, Watsky takes the time to address prescription drug addiction and the bad side effects entailed within it.  It is definitely an important topic to address, and one I’ve seen many other rappers talk about, but something feels so empty about this song.  In a song that touches on such a serious topic, and one that the speaker has probably had experience with in the past, it is expected that there are a lot of emotions within the songs bars, but there really isn’t here.  He sings the whole time, which is fine, but he sounds so monotonous, like he does not want to be in the studio.  Also, the long instrumental note that is held at the end is really irritating.  I don’t know what kind of instrument it is, but it is like hearing nails on a chalkboard.

#4: Little Slice (featuring Danny Skyhigh McClain)

“Little Slice” is a song about just wanting to live the good life.  The four measure beat introduction at the beginning is nice, and Watsky keeps a good consistent flow throughout most of the song.  McClain also does a good job on the chorus.  The only thing I would complain about is the lines “I gotta seek what I lack/When I’m weak, gotta act/I’m a freak, it’s a fact/But I can’t say that I mind”, not because of the lyrics themselves, because of the breathy, hectic way they are delivered in the song.  It sounds like a small embodiment of chaos.  In general, though, it’s a good song.

#5: Springtime In New York

This relatively shorter song details a common day in New York as if someone was just spouting everything they saw.  The rhyme scheme is pretty exceptional, but it is confusing at some times.  If one did not know what the song was supposed to be about, then they would be completely confused.  I mean, if you were going into this song with no schema whatsoever, you can’t tell me that “Frozen Mickey Mouse head massacre/Mac cherry matte glossed lips smack” would not sound like utter nonsense from a delusional homeless man.

#6: Pink Lemonade

Despite it’s oddly sweet title, this song is about how people are naive when it comes to listening to the media.  It has some small, good points strewn in throughout, and besides for the way Watsky sings “reeeeeeal” at the end, the chorus is pretty good.  Some of the parts seem kind of off topic, like the lines “Someone wise once wrote/’our world’s divided into two types of folk/Now there’s the type of people who divide the world into different types of people/And then there’s the type who don’t’,”.  While it is true, I really don’t see how it relates to the main theme of the song.  There was also a good presidential diss in there: “You want to run a country? That makes me shiver/B**** I wouldn’t trust you to run with adult scissors/Flushed ass face/Flash that cash/Your fleshlight wouldn’t let you smash”.  I know I’m going to lose a few followers for that.

#7: Don’t Be Nice

Straying away from the usual conscious and metaphorical bars he usually recites, Watsky spits some braggadocious yet wacky lyrics in the way he does best.  He does not spend one line going at a pace that is not incredibly fast and the trap influenced beat really adds to the boastful essence of the song.  As he usually does when he takes on a speedy flow, he has some wicked rhyme schemes.  So, while it may not be trying to send you a deep, thoughtful message in any way, it does a great job at being a brag rap songs and is possibly one of the best on the album.  I would also recommend watching the music video for this song, too, because the camerawork and special effects are really cool.

#8: Yes, Britannia

Going back to his metaphorical rhymes, Watsky talks about a love he had in this song, which he personifies as Britain.  Yes, he personifies his lost lady with an entire country.  Not something usually done in songs, but it definitely works here.  He really does not bring up the personification in the two verses that much, but a lot of the lines have a specificity to them that shows how deep and meaningful the relationship was, like “Can we just quit each other/The way you did cigarettes?/Up and split, cold turkey, no regrets?/I’d even miss tasting the nicotine on your breath when we kiss”.  The chorus and string synths make this one beautiful song.

#9: Love Letters

After just listening to a song about heartbreak, one would think by the title that this is another love song, but it is actually about his “love for letters”, or in other words (no pun intended) his “love for rap”.  There are no standout lyrics, but the constant stream of similes and metaphors he puts in the song make it an enjoyable listen.  The bass-heavy beat change for the hook probably makes me like this song a lot more, too.  The chorus is very inspiring and has a raw feel to it that makes the song feel personal to Watsky, making this entire song a good one.

#10: Stick To Your Guns (Featuring Julia Nunes)

On June 12, 2016, 29 year old Omar Mateen killed nearly 50 people and injured more in a hate crime/terrorist attack inside of “Pulse”, an Orlando gay club.  I remember hearing so much about this on the news, and rightfully so.  Much music is influenced by stuff that happens to the artist and around the world, so a few artists makes songs about this topic, and Watsky is one of these artists.  In this song, Watsky embodies the shooter, a news reporter, and a senator in the three verses of the song.  While it’s a lovely sentiment to make a song about such a tragic event, there is a glaring problem with it.  When a song like this is made, it is most likely about how bad of a travesty the event that happened is, trying to respect the the dead, comfort the families, and make some type of vocal uprising on this type of hate, but Watsky did something different (most of the time, it is true that Watsky is unconventional, but it would have been better if he stayed on the path this time).  Instead of doing these things, he attempted to use this real life event to try to expose the flaws in the media and government.  While this doesn’t sound too bad, I find it highly disrespectful that he takes this real life event that almost 50 people died in and exploits it to say that the news doesn’t care about it and the government tries to use events like this to their advantage.  The points may be true, but when it is not even a month after the shooting and you spend time trying to twist it around to make the media and the government look like the bad guys and overlook the awfulness of the actual event and the deaths of the real people involved, it almost comes off as very, very disrespectful.  I know my point here sounds weak, but just listen to the song’s lyrics with this argument in mind and maybe you will see where I am coming from.

#11: Brave New World (Featuring Chaos Chaos)

Sticking with the theme that the media and government are flawed, this song shows how we may be on the brink of an apocalypse.  While it is a disturbing thought, it handles the parts about exposing the government much better than “Stick To Your Guns”.  It talks about so many topics like the government’s state, racism, technology obsession, constant oversea threats, global warming, and more with a nice flow that addresses each topic very smoothly.  The only point that was pointless was the part about the hoverboards–“Where the horde is plugged to the motherboard/That is not a legitimate hoverboard (S***’s got wheels!)”–because if humans want to be addicted to something that really is not a hoverboard, I do not think it will cause the downfall of the human race.

#12: Going Down

Before I start reviewing this song, I’m going to warn you that this song is somewhat sexually graphic, so the following paragraph might be too mature for those who are young or faint of heart:

I feel like this song started with a good concept.  It is seen as much more common for a woman to give…um…oral gratification to a man than for a man to do that to a woman, which brings up some mild sexism issues.  Watsky could have taken this topic and made a really enlightening song on it, but he messed it up real bad.  The first two verses are graphic descriptions about how he gives “oral gratification” to some girl.  The constant metaphors and similes make it really weird to listen to, but tons of rap songs are about intercourse with girls, so it’s not too bad.  However, the last two verses get much weirder.  Watsky, in these verses, starts to describe himself giving oral gratification to a man.  Now, before you start jumping to conclusions, I am not homophobe.  I don’t care if you have sex with a man, a woman, or a fruit roll-up, as long as its consensual and said men/women/fruit roll-ups are of consenting age.  However, being a straight man, I do not need to hear the gut wrenching details of a man giving fellatio.  Also, it kind of seems like Watsky is making guys like me, who do not want to give fellatio to a man, sound like the bad guys.  Like when he says “Many guys visualize giving BJs and say “eww”/But can we just please give smoking pole a calm objective view?”, it sounds like he is making straight men appear closed-minded for not wanting to be gay.  And I’ll give you my objective view on it, Watsky: I am a straight male and I do not want to give men oral pleasure.  That’s that.  Plus, Watsky does not make this song any more enjoyable by the long, annoying notes he sings throughout, especially at the ends of the verses.  You could have done something really good with this song, Watsky, but you blew it (pun intended).

#13: Midnight Heart (Featuring Mal Devisa)

After listening to the catastrophe that “Going Down” was, I was glad to hear this song (because I would have been glad to hear almost any other song at that point).  Here, Watsky and Mal talk about the harsh critics and those who hang with them only for their fame.  While Watsky adds his unique flare to the song, I feel like many of the points made and lines said are very overused at this point.  I mean, what famous rapper, or what famous singer for that matter, has not done a song exposing the haters and the fakers around them.  Plus, Mal’s voice, while it is good on the chorus, is awful on the hook.  It sounds like she is trying to scream with laryngitis into an old microphone.  However, the guitar-infused beat makes it an enjoyable listen.

#14-17: “Lovely Thing Suite” Songs (“Conversations”, “Knots”, “Roses”, and “Theories”)

All four of these songs create one narrative, so I am going to clump them all together to talk about them as one and conserve space in the review.  So, the whole story is about Watsky dealing with death.  The first song, “Conversations”, is about the talks he had with his dad about death.  They always said that his dad’s death would not happen for a long time, until it eventually did.  “Knots” switches to the story of Arthur Rubenstein, who was a real life figure famous for interpreting Chopin’s music.  “Knots” shows Arthur’s struggle with depression and his eventual suicide attempt.  “Roses” goes back to Watsky’s story and shows his realization that he, too, will eventually die, but he is okay with it.  The last song, “Theories”, spends the first verse to go back to Arthur’s story to show that his suicide attempt failed, and the rest of the verses go back to Watsky and show that Arthur’s life was not for naught, for the music he interpreted was around even in Watsky’s day.

This whole “Lovely Thing Suite” Saga is quite amazing.  It is probably the most conscious set of songs on the album.  It spreads the good messages that “Even though death will come, it is okay”, and “Your life matters”.  The lyrics are very good throughout.  There are really no spots where he goes off on tangents of figurative language or just says wacky stuff as usual (besides where he talks about aliens in “Theories”.  I kind of understand the point, but it is supposed to be a more serious song).  Some of the beats in here were really good, too.  I’m a big fan of the “Knots” beat due to how classical it is, and it shows that Watsky does not need a hi-hat or a drum to rap.  I could have done without the long subway outro on “Theories”, but the whole “Lovely Thing Suite” is definitely one of the highlights of the album.  If you are dealing with mournful/suicidal thoughts, too, these songs might help you.

#18: Exquisite Corpse (Featuring Chinaka Hodge, Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Wax, Adam Vida, Grieves, and Dumbfoundead)

I usually do not talk about bonus tracks in my song reviews, but this is undeniably a track worth talking about.  In this nearly 10 minute song, Watsky and a slew of other rappers he brought with him each play a part in a narrative about a zombie apocalypse.  There is really no deep meaning behind this song, but it is very entertaining to listen to.  Each rapper’s verse bounces off of the others’, making it feel like an immersive experience.  Besides from the out of place Iggy Azalea disses (because she had pretty much fallen out of fame at the time this song was released), this is certainly the most unique rap song I’ve heard and one of the funnest as well.  If you have not listened to this track yet, I highly suggest you do, even if it is a bit lengthy.

Summary:

This album was not without flaws.  I feel like he approached some of the topics at a wrong angle.  Like, with “Stick To Your Guns”, instead of talking about the outrage that people died, he talked about how bad the media was, and with “Going Down”, he talked about giving men fellatio instead of talking about the gender stereotypes of oral gratification.  While Watsky is able to use good figurative language, there are some times where I feel like he fell off his train of thought, like when he starts talking about aliens in “Theories”, and sometimes the metaphors are just confusing.  But, those are just the few downsides.  There are plenty of good things about this album, like the solid points he does address, the figurative language that does make this an enjoyable listen, and his skillful fast flows he implements in some of the songs.

If I had to pick a favorite song, it would be “Exquisite Corpse”.  It is just so unique and fun to listen to.  The story is really cool within it, and the low key, witty lines they add also make it a funny listen.  If I had to pick a song that wasn’t the bonus track, though, I would go with “Don’t Be Nice”.  My least favorite track on the album is “Going Down”.  I’m not talking about this song anymore because I’m already getting shivers down my back for just mentioning it.  I think you already know why I dislike this one.

Overall, I would give Watsky’s “x Infinity” a 7 out of 10.  Do you agree?

Thank you for reading my “x Infinity” review. If you liked this review, make sure to follow my website, like this post, and be sure to check in to read my future reviews. Also, if you have a song or album you would like to see reviewed, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep listening to good music! I know I will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Watsky’s “x Infinity” Album Review

  1. I love your song synopsis structure you have, great review! Childhood are releasing an album tomorrow I think you should take a look at, their debut album was really good. They were touring with Johnny Marr for a while back in 2015, they got some potential 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always interpreted Stick to Your Guns as a school shooting, not a reference to the Pulse shooting. Like the reference to the person shot as a student, and talking about escape to the corridor. Did Watsky say something about it being about the Pulse shooting somewhere?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On Genius.com, it says it was supposed to be talking up the Orlando one. But hey, if they didn’t get it from an interview, they may be wrong, too. Music is in the ear of the beholder

      Like

  3. Damn man, I’m reading this super late but you missed a ton of stuff in this review. You sound quite young (15? 16?) so I don’t want to be too harsh, but make sure you fully understand the songs before you try and criticize them – the tiny glowing screens series isn’t just about media, and 3 picks off exactly where 2 finishes, where Watsky says he wants to “stop time” and then everything in 3 is about stopped time. Watsky has epilepsy, and isn’t writing about some generic addiction to “prescription drugs” – it’s about battling with wanting to be off the drugs, and the risks that come with that for someone with his illness. Your review of “stick to your guns” comes off as incredibly naive – hopefully in a few years you can understand why. Art is whatever the artist wants make – there’s no disrespect in it. And watsky isn’t writing about one event; there are so many mass shootings in America that it would be impossible to release an album that wasn’t within a month of some tragic event. So on, and so on. The funny thing is that I agree with your rating, but not for any of the reasons you’ve listed here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are correct: I did write this review around the age of 15 or 16, but this review is a bit older now so I’ve grown a bit, and looking back, I do agree with many of the points you mentioned. Having aged a bit and consistently doing music reviews has done a lot with how closely I listen for stuff in music like this. I would still probably sustain my score if I reviewed this today, maybe even .5 point lower or so. However, I always appreciate it when people comment to spark discussions like this. I hope you are able to read more of my posts in the future and I would love to hear more of your opinions on them.

      Like

      1. Much respect for the response. Glad to hear that your opinion has changed a little – and it’s really cool that you’re doing this at all, especially young. Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

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