Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Juice WRLD – Lucid Dreams

To alleviate the pain or annoyance caused by something, eh.


Joshua Minsoo Kim: At what point do we stop calling it “emo rap” and just call it emo?

Iain Mew: The wobbliness of the vocals wobbles between charming asset and weakness throughout, but I enjoy the way he manages to get “my yed” in there and this stands ahead of every previous use of this riff I’m familiar with (StingCraig David ft. StingSugababes ft. surprise Sting) by virtue of removing the Sting.

Micha Cavaseno: Arguably the most interesting thing about rapper Juice WRLD is that the kid looks like a tattooless version of rapper Ski Mask the Slump God. This makes me wonder if the industry plant theory needs to give way to the industry genetic manipulation theory. Juice WRLD’s singing style is the most post-Tom Delonge of any rapper, so I guess someone took the whole “pop-punk was reborn in Soundcloud rap” line a little too literally. Lyrically, there’s not much to offer here besides bratty misogyny and self-delusion painted up as true dismay, but the earnest desire to be compelling actually undermines all that. The terrible irony is when awful young men like Kodak or Xxxtentacion actually try to display their toxicity, they don’t feel nearly as eager to make you understand how smart they are as they are trying to be absorbed (albeit in a manipulative way). A kid like Juice WRLD’s great failing isn’t that he’s a terrible person because he’s so contemptuous, its that he thinks his contempt is what gives him character.

Vikram Joseph: The Weeknd and Drake have blazed a pretty broad trail for emo’d-up R&B slowjamz, so Juice WRLD probably saw this as an easy win. [Narrator: It was not.] “Lucid Dreams” is astonishingly bad on a remarkable number of levels. Firstly (a relatively minor point): gratuitous Tom Delonge vowels. Secondly, a vocal delivery totally devoid of charm or cadence. Thirdly, that total wet blanket of an acoustic guitar sample, which seems to be going for a late ’90s Latino-pop vibe, but which the context of the song warps into something that sounds terrifyingly like Crazy Town. And then, god help me, the state of those lyrics — melodramatic without a hint of self-awareness (“I know that you want me dead”), half-baked and nonsensical like Mike Shinoda’s middle-school diary (“Tangled up in your drastic ways”), and indulgent of the sort of fetid misogyny that tarnished so much of nu-metal and third-wave emo (“Who knew evil girls had the prettiest face?” — also, grammatically horrible). Sort yourself out, Juice WRLD.

Thomas Inskeep: I’m not the biggest fan of the current crew of lo-fi “SoundCloud rappers,” but “Lucid Dreams” (if not Juice WRLD himself; TBD) is a fascinating listen. It’s based around a loop of the opening Dominic Miller guitar riff from — I kid you not — Sting’s 1993 “Shape of My Heart,” famously also used for the title track of R&B singer Carl Thomas’s 2000 debut Emotional. This kid (he’s 19) is emo to the max, and he pairs nicely with the track (like a full-bodied red wine with a steak), which is basically just the Sting loop plus a boom-bap beat. Juice WRLD is cranky because of girl problems — welcome to being a teenager — but because teens are who’s consuming music most these days, these “Dreams” have just hit the pop top 10 in the U.S. And I can’t say that I mind. 

Ian Mathers: Is it specifically Juice WRLD’s fault that right now hearing a man sing to a woman “You found another one, but I am the better one/I won’t let you forget me” literally sends a chill up my spine? Nah. Should he know better, though? Yeah. Especially when the rest of the song is a compendium of bad ways to respond to a breakup. As in unhealthy, for both parties, not just unfortunate.

Alfred Soto: I suppose it takes good ears to remember the strummed hook from Sting’s long lost “Shape of My Heart,” but the evidence that everyone involved has bad ears is devastating. Don’t confuse confessing to malevolent behavior as sensitivity, dude, and for fuck’s sake stop listening to Drake and Swae. 

Will Rivitz: The recent-ish fusion of emo and rap peddled by the likes of Uzi, Peep, and Bladee is one of the most exciting parts of hip-hop today, but “Lucid Dreams” sounds like somebody trying to ape those sounds without having a clear idea of what makes them work. Vocals, guitars, and 808s should integrate seamlessly; here, they sound Frankensteinian, sewn crudely together with no regard for aesthetic sensibility.

Reader average: [3.37] (8 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

One Response to “Juice WRLD – Lucid Dreams”

  1. so glad we covered the rap debut of nope.avi