T-Pain is known for providing frat tailgate hype music and house party bangers — however, his latest album, Oblivion, can be quite a hard listen at times. It lacks direction, focus and creativity.
As a Hip-hop fan that has been vibing with T-Pain from the start, I did not want to admit that this album caused me to question my own music taste, but that is exactly what happened.
Once I listened to this album I realized that most of the songs that do not have features just sound incomplete altogether. The isolation of T-Pain’s auto-tuned voice can get old pretty quickly. Where are the clean vocals we all know he can produce?
If no one else is going to say it, then I will: No track on this album deserves to be longer than four minutes, let alone nearing eight. “May I” feat Mr. Talkbox, is not only a discombobulated mix of old school cinematic-like instrumentals and trap music, but the overload of distorted voices from both T-Pain and Mr. Talkbox is painful to play all the way through.
The incessant use of synthed snare drum rolls and heavy, yet predictable bass patterns is overwrought throughout “Oblivion.” It can be hypothesized that perhaps T-Pain’s knowledge of trap music is specifically limited to one Fetty Wap song he heard in passing. There really is no major distinction in sound between “Pu$$y on the Phone,” “Straight” and “Your Friend.”
Listeners will constantly wait in anticipation as beat drops and rhythm switch-ups are prolonged and fail to deliver that level of “turnt” that most hip-hop tracks have. “That’s How It Go” originally begins with a Jay-Z sample, which could have been experimented with more with a different angle to create a very dope sound, yet not much new is added.
“She Needed Me” is actually a track that is worthy of listening to, however, the electronic dance music framework of the track sounds misplaced in relation to the rest of the project. The instrumentals sound reminiscent of Odesza and are actually put together quite well. T-Pain should have explored this much more.
The use of this EDM element echoes within “No Rush,” although this particular song sounds a little too much like new age Chris Brown. C-Breezy is actually featured on a different track titled, “Classic You,” however, even Brown’s smooth R&B pitch is overshadowed by the heavy use of trap beats.
While some tracks sound a bit lonely with T-Pain solely on vocals and providing his own ad-libs, even when he has features including Blac Youngsta in “Goal Line” and Ty Dolla $ign. In “2 Fine” these songs can come across as knock off versions of popular trap-rap young millennials love such as Migos and Travis Scott. Offset would be shaking his head in disapproval.
Even features by Ne-Yo and Wale, two amazing vocalists, could not save this album as it is clear that T-Pain is going through some sort of spiraling mid-life crisis. The idea for “The Comeback” was well executed instrumentally, as it could be featured in the soundtrack of an episode of Stranger Things with its funky 80s groovy vibe. However, T-Pain’s harsh distorted voice would have to be taken out for this use as it distastefully juxtaposes the rhythm in tone as well as with his lyrics “You’ve got that comeback pussy”.
“Cee Cee from DC” is the one song on this album that does manage to bring back 2007 T-Pain vibes featuring Wale that can cause the same head nodding and urge to dance as his classic hit “Bartender.” Should it have been five minutes long? Probably not. It has the potential to become a great remix by frat boys everywhere. @DJs get on this.
Everyone should be tired of T-Pain’s auto-tune at this point in his career and considering he has the ability to sing well with a soulful melody to his voice, it was upsetting to see that he has yet to exercise such a talent. He needs to step up his game in terms of sophistication, or at least work on variation in terms of trap beat loops.