After receiving some internet buzz last year from the catchy and mellow single “I’m Happy Sometimes,” Atlanta-based artist Hollow Sinatra is back with a full-length album What Are You Looking for in Tomorrow? Choosing not to continue with the feel good vibes of his earlier work, Hollow Sinatra instead opts for a more avant-garde and dark sound, a reflection of his mental state during the album’s creation. Featuring passages of musique concréte and spoken word poetry, the experience is intended to represent an unfiltered thought process and unbound creativity. To this aim it is a success, as during my listen I found myself absorbed into Hollow Sinatra’s world - invested in his mood of the moment and captivated by his mercurial charisma.
Musically, this album touches on the simple and affecting guitar work found on The Love Below, as well as Andre 3000’s use of subdued and pastoral soundscapes. As a crossover R&B artist and Georgia native, Hollow Sinatra finds that easy territory to build his own unique sound on while also stretching his production and vocal style to include elements of glitch, grunge, Artpop and a myriad of other influences.
The saturated vocal lead on the opening track “Pippin,” delivered over a plinking and ominous piano figure, is pure nu-metal continuing the trend of one of the ’90’s most despised genres making a strong comeback in this era of overtly emotional, cathartic and aggressive music stemming from the Soundcloud scene. This section, sandwiched between a floating falsetto intro and a bouncy rap outro make “Pippin” essentially a suite, and one that holds up in its variety and execution against the train-of-thought excursions of artists like JPEGMAFIA and Tyler, The Creator.
While the first two songs on this project work within a more commercial structure, the following tracks lean more on the abstract and stream-of-conscious. This decision on Hollow Sinatra’s part to experiment more with poetry and texture instead of traditional songwriting could be to his advantage or disadvantage depending on the listener and his success in targeting a particular fanbase.
Listeners who gave “I’m Happy Sometimes” some reach could be put off by the looser approach on display. However, I found Hollow Sinatra’s bold non-conformity and whimsical creativity a good sell of his talents and potential as a young artist coming up in the most blended and genre-less music industry history has seen. For listeners who want to walk a road less traveled, the dark and strange corridors of What Are You Looking for in Tomorrow? are an exciting place to be.
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