Album Review: Not Waving, But Drowning by Loyle Carner
Fairly Good, Based on 5 Critics
DIY Magazine - 60 Based on rating 3/5
Loyle Carner's 2017 debut 'Yesterday's Gone' was a strong, though at times understated statement, filled with emotional vulnerability and vignettes of the rapper's life and relationships with friends and family. Accolades followed - including a prestigious Mercury Prize nomination - and, predictably, the musician's life got bigger. How success can create distance between your and your peers is something he touches on on the Jorja Smith-featuring 'Loose Ends': "Everything around me changed, I'm supposed to stay the same," he states on one of the verses.
New Musical Express (NME) - 60 Based on rating 3/5
The south Londoner's lyricism shines the brightest on his uneven but often impressive second album, which features a handful of radiant tunes Loyle Carner‘s debut album 'Yesterday’s Gone' was good - in fact, it was really good. Stuffed full of the south Londoner’s poetic lyrics, crunchy production and radiant hooks, it was nominated for a swathe of awards, and got people to sit up and take notice. Two years on he's back with 'Not Waving, But Drowning', a compelling follow up - but does it reach the dizzying heights of his first record? Yes and no.
I t's possible Loyle Carner is trolling contemporary hip-hop. For his second album, the 24-year-old's flow remains defiantly old-school, concerned with language and jazzy storytelling rather than the Autotuned postures that get the streams. Carner's food obsession has gone full bougie too, with tracks called Ottolenghi and Carluccio. The former, though, only uses the chef's Jerusalem cookbook as a jumping-off point, and Carluccio only mentions the restaurateur's death as a way of fixing a memory in time: red herrings both, on an album about relationships.
L oyle Carner's second album opens with a love letter. Titled Dear Jean, it's addressed to the musician's mother, reassuring her over tinkling piano and the gentle tapping together of drumsticks that, despite his decision to move out of the family home and in with his girlfriend, he is not abandoning her. It is, like the majority of the south Londoner's output, utterly heartfelt and startlingly intimate - delivering his lyrics in a wistful mutter, the 24-year-old sounds moved to the point of tears by the tenderness of his own relationships.
Following the breakthrough success of his 2017 Mercury Prize-nominated debut 'Yesterday's Gone', rapper Loyle Carner continues in a similar vein with his second album, producing another commendable effort comprised of his customary heartfelt sentiments. The album is bookended by poetic dialogue between Carner and his mother Jean, with the former initially giving his take on growing up, moving out and finding love, while his mum reminisces on their relationship to this point. This continues the trend of the family-orientated subject matter that has become common in Carner's work, endearing him to many listeners.