Columbia Records · April 12, 2019
It’s hard to get excited about this album when half of it has already been in your rotation since last November.
After several months of delay, Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo have finally released their debut album as the super-group “LSD.” Clever hallucinogenic puns aside, the prospect of these three top shelf songwriters coming together for an album got many in the industry excited. The initial singles “Genius” and “Thunderclouds” were about as catchy and well formulated as pop music gets these days, which should come as no surprise given how much experience each of these giants has. Dramatic string parts open up “Genius,” and hype up the listener for a classic Diplo drop followed by an energetic chorus that will surely pop up in some movie trailers (if it hasn’t already). “Thunderclouds” will loop in your head for days, and Labrinth actually manages to outshine Sia with his vocals to some degree, which is no small feat. But right when the full album was supposed to drop, all we got was a four song EP (three songs of which had already been released) followed by month after month of radio silence. “Mountains,” the new addition to LSD’s discography from this EP, was a good enough cut. It was a nice change of pace with some cool, spacey vocal filters coupled with light, twinkly melodies. Yet the question remained: where is the album? Well, we finally have our answer. There isn’t one.
Instead what we have here is essentially another four song EP, if you don’t count the intro bit or the Lil Wayne Remix of “Genius” (which I certainly don’t). Ironically, the two-minute intro is one of the better parts of the project as a whole. Wonderful choral harmonies kick us off to a good start, which are then immediately contrasted with edited and distorted remixes of those same vocal parts, courtesy of Diplo. But then we jump into the first new full song from the crew, “Angel In Your Eyes.” Cheesy 8-bit production can’t hide the fact that this track is severely underwritten. You’d think three of the highest paid songwriters in the industry could think of something better than repeating “eh-eh, eh-eh” over and over again. But why try that hard when you know you’ll get paid no matter what?
Then we get to the four best songs on the album, which also happen to be the four songs we already heard over half a year ago. It’s hard to get excited about this album when half of it has already been in your rotation since last November. By the time we actually get to a new song, “No New Friends” (more like “No New Songs”) comes off as copy-paste songwriting with a cookie-cutter trap-pop beat. This is the kind of song that will get stuck in your head against your best wishes, and you’ll be banging on your head to get it out like there’s water in your ears. This cut is followed by “Heaven Can Wait,” which actually sounds different, at least a little bit, which is amazing! Labrinth and Sia both kill it on their vocal performances, and the more laid back, triumphant tempo is a nice change of pace. Ultimately though, the track doesn’t live up to the expectations of the previously released singles.
We finally close with the token ballad of the LP, “It’s Time.” Time for what you may ask? Your typical heart-break fare, that’s what. Even still, Labrinth’s falsettos will make you swoon no matter how hard you resist. This would actually be a pretty good closer, if it weren’t for the Lil Wayne remix of “Genius” that immediately follows. Sure, Wayne has one of the greatest flows in the game, but he just feels out of place on this record, as if his presence was forced on by some corporate entity.