Destroy Lonely – If Looks Could Kill

As a music reviewer entering his late twenties, I thought that the official moment when I became out of touch with the appeal of what the younger generation was listening to was when I saw a figure who I’d previously never heard about going by the name of Yeat, sitting comfortably near the top of the charts. Little did I know that it could get even worse. Signed to Playboi Carti’s burgeoning Opium record label, Destroy Lonely has seemingly come up on his image alone, something that’s becoming increasingly common – Wikipedia’s opening paragraphs on him even point out his “unique aesthetic” – because it certainly isn’t for his music. After dropping eight mixtapes and EPs since 2019 – another true sign that there’s not much actual thought going into this – the 25-track If Looks Could Kill is his official debut studio album, and there’s almost nothing of substance to be found across its eighty-minute runtime. He’s the kind of rapper who’s widely noted for a Roblox concert and intersperses his beats with Genshin Impact samples. With obnoxious and repetitive rage beats and a flow that could only be described as offbeat, garbled nonsense, I would easily believe that the whole thing is an elaborate joke to purposefully make the most unappealing music possible to see if the Gen Z audience will still eat it up when the shiny, jangly keys that represent everything surrounding the music are dangled in front of them.

This is the kind of album where the complete lack of a vision is made abundantly clear when the first track might just be the worst one, and the longest track here is the only one that’s marked as an “interlude.” As soon as the trap beat and lurching, crunchy rage chords hit on “how u feel?” – on beat one, with no build-up, of course, as is the will of this cursed generation that would integrate a video of Subway Surfers gameplay or an episode of Family Guy into the Spotify user interface if they could – it just makes you want to throw your headphones off, because it doesn’t line up rhythmically in the slightest. It gets even worse when Destroy Lonely actually starts rapping. Somehow, every single time he hits a quicker set of syllables or a moment where he diverts from the one-note melody, it hits at the most awkward moment where the other two elements of the song are at their most disjointed. The songs across the board are mixed horrendously, many of them curiously decrying the TikTok rules that it seems the album was made for and repeating ad nauseam, with quite a few extending to the 4-minute mark despite the complete lack of anything interesting. The whole project just makes it so abundantly clear that there are worse NAVs out there who are only using music as a vehicle to acquire fame.

Talking about individual songs is mostly useless here, as they all blend into the same mush. Something else that makes the entire album completely unlistenable, however, is Destroy Lonely’s slightly gritty, vocal fry-heavy voice that makes it sound like he couldn’t even be bothered to show up for his own songs. Along with the thin mixing that often makes it sound like he was recording from the other room over, his delivery throughout reminds me of one of those people you see on public transit who are out of their mind on some kind of substance, rambling to themselves about nothing – complete with the random raising and lowering in volume and a general demeanour that shows their mind was lost long ago. Half the time it sounds like Destroy Lonely didn’t realize the line was ending, and he’s embarrassed trying to quickly shove all the syllables in so that he doesn’t miss his next cue, while the heavy Auto-Tune doesn’t help matters at all when it comes to fixing the mixing issues – it’s near impossible to hear a single word that’s said on the album as a result. Truthfully, it sounds like Dory’s whale noises from Finding Nemo at times. It’s not like we get any engaging beats to listen to underneath either: you get a choice of obnoxious, grinding rage chords or somber, boring piano melodies.

In terms of …. highlights? The track “new new” is the only time when the aforementioned rule about beats is broken, dropping in with a bit more of a straightforward, Future-style regal trap beat without any of the less palatable elements breaking things up, despite Destroy Lonely’s flows constantly meandering all over the track. “which one,” on the other hand, is maybe the most aligned rhythmically, simply because Destroy Lonely stuck to the most basic, 4/4 flow you could possibly have, demonstrating against all odds that he actually is capable of upholding the most grade-school, basic levels of musicality. His (seemingly accidental) melodic approach still makes him sound like he’s constantly tone-deaf and off-key, however.

If there’s any real indictment of just how much it seems like everyone involved was actively trying to turn people away from listening to the album, it’s the track “came in wit,” which is the shortest song here but still succeeds at being the hardest to get through. Hilariously appearing right after “raver,” a song that features an electric guitar wailing away with reckless abandon in the background while Destroy Lonely offers some ad-libs in a deep voice that just end up sounding like burps, it turns out that the chaotic guitar wasn’t the worst thing you could back up his vocals with. In a move that made me legitimately double-take and check if my computer, earphones, or any other appliances in my house were broken, because it couldn’t possibly have been in the music, the track features a recurring, ear-splitting and high-pitched screech. It’s one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard in my life. I can’t possibly imagine what kind of process it went through to arrive here.

Goodness gracious me, I don’t believe I’ve ever been inspired to write this many words after only subjecting myself to a small handful of tracks from this album once again, but I’m also not sure I’ve heard something quite this baffling since G-Eazy’s indie-folk diversion. If music could kill, I’d be six feet under.

Favourite Tracks: new new, which one

Least Favourite Track: came in wit

Score: 1/10


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