On Syd‘s solo debut, there is as much looking back as there is anticipating the future as The Internet frontwoman works carves her own musical path on a gripping R&B-infused effort.
At first glance, Syd Bennett’s solo debut Fin exudes independence and seems to mark her official shift into a new path of her career. The lead singer of The Internet has consistently kept her influence on the Grammy nominated group hidden. Even when she was involved with Tyler, The Creator’s bombastic and controversial Odd Future collective, Syd made sure to remain backstage, never making much of a buzz. But it seems as if that is coming to an end here. The cover art to this project is dark and foreboding, picturing Syd in the center, dressed in black and looking off to the side. Her track listing features songs titled “Shake Em Off,” “Nothin to Somethin,” and “All About Me,” and yet, listeners will get an entirely different feeling from sitting down with the album. “All About Me” is, in fact, more about her love for her friends and those who have helped her recently garner success, rapping, “Take care of the family that you came with. We made it this far and it’s amazing. People drowning all around me, so I keep my squad around me.”
Beside Syd’s silky vocals and remarkable bravado, the production on this project is varied, choppy, and static in the best way possible. The first song, produced by Kanye West prodigy Hit-Boy kicks off with abrupt and rattling hi hat triplets, surrounded by a dense bass and an eerie overlapped chorus of Syd’s voice, “drowning in doubt and frustration.” The next track, “Know,” opens with a strung out and distorted orchestral synth, ebbing into a bubbly and minimalistic beat, to which Syd innocently details the intimacies of an affair in an impressive falsetto. In the final track “Insecurities,” Grammy award winning producer Rahki joins the album’s credits with a smooth R&B cut, reminiscent of Thundercat’s most recent work.
Despite making her solo debut, Syd isn’t dropping The Internet and is in no way isolating herself from her past. After releasing their critically acclaimed album Ego Death, the members of the group promised to venture into solo projects for the sake of stylistic growth, and it is clear that Syd has taken off in her own direction with Fin. She considers the project to be a product of her experiences, a moment to solidify and reflect on all of the opportunities she has encountered. The album is deeply personal in the sense that it has no other direction apart from Syd’s own, and yet in an interview with NPR she describes it as an “… album that is not that deep … like an in-between thing…”
Fin is an artistic recreation of Syd’s inner workings, qualms, and passion. Lyrically, it is as chaotic as its production, and provides listeners with one of the year’s most versatile R&B projects. Despite naming the final track “Insecurities,” Syd proves her confidence as a singer and a rapper on this project, and proves that she isn’t just a cog in The Internet’s music making machine. With almost no features, save a forgettable appearance by up and coming 6LACK on “Over,” she has given fans an unforgettable album, simultaneously vulnerable and astoundingly strong-willed. But Syd will be sure to brush off the hype and hate this project may get, because after all, as she sings in “Nothin to Somethin,” “They all hating, we love it / it’s just the beginning of it, ya know.”