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El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

‘Larger than Life’ is a disconnected mess larger than life

Faiyaz attempts to deliver the positive aspects of his previous discography but fails to produce a solid record
The Larger than Life album cover features a comic style depiction of a NUWO shoe, Faiyazs clothing brand, destructing a city. Photo courtesy of ISO SUPREMACY.
The “Larger than Life” album cover features a comic style depiction of a NUWO shoe, Faiyaz’s clothing brand, destructing a city. Photo courtesy of ISO SUPREMACY.

American R&B artist Brent Faiyaz announced on Instagram that he would release his third full-length album, “Larger than Life,” on Friday, Oct. 27. Faiyaz posted an album trailer as a surprise, as he hadn’t hinted at the album other than previous single releases such as “Moment of Your Life” on Aug. 23 and single “WY@” on Sept. 19. Faiyaz is currently on the European leg of his “F*ck the World: It’s a Wasteland” tour, inspired by his two previous albums “Wasteland” and “F*ck the World,” both of which were large successes

The album begins with “Tim’s Intro,” which creates a cacophony of noises including phone-dialing tones, a violin melody and voices in the background. This slowly leads into a suave R&B beat, setting the tone for the album with both lyrics that repeat the phrase “Larger than Life” along with a chill vibe. From there, Faiyaz leans fully into the R&B genre with rich instrumentals and grooves that pay homage to the genre’s golden era. However, the most powerful aspect of the album is his soulful voice, which he wields as a dynamic tool in all of his songs. Faiyaz’s raw talent encompasses different moods, such as that of a hopeless lover in “Pistachios” or a gangster persona in “Last One Left.” 

The lyricism also stands out, creating a unique balance between themes such as love, heartbreak and romance. Many of the lyrics are deeply relatable to a variety of listeners, making them feel as if they are experiencing a wave of emotions alongside Faiyaz. A prime example of this is in the song “WY@,” in which Faiyaz talks about his inability to escape toxic relationships. Lyrics like “Even I know you ain’t no good for me \\ But you feel so good to me \\ Every time I come back, I try to leave \\ So how you end up back with me?” along with instrumentals and synthesized vocals asking Faiyaz “where you at?” help the audience see through the lens of Faiyaz and his internal conflicts.

Sagnik Nag Chowdhury

Despite admirable aspects such as vocals and lyricism, the record feels disjointed as a whole and is unable to portray a concise narrative — one of the strong qualities that he was able to convey in previous albums. Faiyaz’s previous album, “Wasteland,” tells the story of his troubles navigating his newfound fame and his relationship troubles with his pregnant partner, each track being intentional and contributing to an overall portrayal of a story. However, in “Larger than Life,” it is hard to track the overarching idea that Faiyaz is trying to convey throughout the album, if there is one at all. There is constant unpredictability with mood shifts between the tracks and the track lengths are inconsistent too, as many of the songs are around one to two minutes long, lacking a clear bridge and not being fleshed out. The album also features two skits, “Big Mad Skit” and “Dawged Em Skit,” an element he also included in his previous album. “Wasteland” uses skits to help the listener understand where they are in the plot, whether they introduce Faiyaz’s girlfriend or insinuate his control over her. In “Larger than Life,” the skits serve as nothing more than two-minute buffers in the album and confuse the listener rather than adding value. 

Faiyaz performs at Fox Theater for his “F*ck the World: It’s a Wasteland” tour. Photo by Sagnik Nag Chowdhury

“Larger than Life” also lacks in features, a few of the prominent ones being A$AP ROCKY and Coco Jones. Rocky’s and Faiyaz’s verses bounce off of each other and go well with the instrumentals in the track “Outside All Night,” creating a fun and affectionate ambiance. Faiyaz’s collaboration with Coco Jones in “Moment of Your Life,” a modern love song provides laid-back instrumentals and vocals from Jones and Faiyaz that complement each other. Apart from that, the features don’t contribute anything new to the album and are often lacking in comparison to Faiyaz’s vocals. 

Faiyaz is able to break new ground with his production by merging the R&B genre with a contemporary twist, creating a blend of nostalgia and innovation. However, “Larger than Life” fails to live up to the reputation that Faiyaz has built, lacking in many of the aspects that he has excelled in through previous albums such as “Wasteland” and “F*ck the World” such as the inclusion of mainstream features, stylistic experiments and a cohesive narrative.

The album diminishes in quality compared to his previous album and feels like more of a throwaway in a desperate attempt to keep the fans happy instead of a cohesive album that stays true to Faiyaz’s style and is consistent with previous works. While his vocals stay consistent, the album misses something critical in its storytelling, leaving fans disappointed and wanting more.

2.5/5

About the Contributor
Sagnik Nag Chowdhury, Opinion Editor
Sagnik Nag Chowdhury is currently a junior and an opinion editor for El Estoque. In his free time, he likes watching TV, biking with his friends, trying new foods and discovering new places in Cupertino.
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