By Hunter Bych, Contributor
[Top Dawg Entertainment; 2018]
Key Tracks: “Something Foreign” “D’evils” “Dreaming of Me”
Coming out of the blue at the beginning of the year, we have SiR with his debut album under the TDE label. With a fresh face under the same label with big acts such as SZA and Kendrick Lamar, first impressions are vital. SiR answers that tall order with November, an R&B album focused on his shortcomings with love. As over-saturated as that subject is, especially in this genre, there are a few things to make this album different from other albums out there.
Space is prevalent in the whole piece; a design of these songs is to sound like being in a comfortable spaceship traveling through the stars, unlike riding in an actual spaceship. While there is a serene feeling throughout, there is a wistful mood mixed in. The somberness in the first half reflects this quite well in tracks “Something Foreign” and “That’s Alright”. The second half gets lighter and much easier to groove and chill to after the “listener” goes to sleep. Oh yeah – forgot to mention – there is a narrative going on in the prelude where it introduces a person going through on a spaceship talking to an AI. Aside from it being relevant for maybe one song, there isn’t a point and is unnecessary when the vocals and instrumentation already provide enough atmosphere.
Many of the songs individually stand out. ScHoolboy Q and Etta Bond respectively add variety and depth with their features on“Something Foreign” and “Something New”. The beginning and ends of the album are quite strong; the chill “D’evils” being one of the highlights. The middle gets into a lull and tries to be heavy, but doesn’t pull it off well. Skipping “I Know” is justifiable. It gets better near the end with “Dreaming of Me” and the wonderful sampling of Dr. Dre’s “Xxplosive”, turning the riff into a mellow and dreamlike vibe, perfect for the song.
Overall, November is a solid start for SiR on the new label. The album offers several songs to add to your chill playlist. While some songs have more appeal than others, there is a lot to enjoy if you want something to comfort you while isolating yourself after a troubling day akin to a warm blanket while traveling through the stars… except that won’t do much because space is really, really cold.