Album Review: everything means nothing by blackbear

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Matthew Tyler Musto, more known by his stage name blackbear, is a singer, songwriter, and producer from Florida. While being involved with music at a young age, he dropped out of high school to focus on making music. After dropping out, he was able to drop a series of mixtapes and work with high profile artists, like Ne-Yo and Woe, Is Me. Several years later, he has released his fifth studio album, everything means nothing.

The first track from the album is hot girl bummer. This track was definitely popularized by the app TikTok, but there’s no denying that this track is a banger. The track opens up with expletives, but then eventually you have the bass line with the trap drum beats. According to blackbear, this is his interpretation of the ‘hot girl summer’ trend that was a hot awhile back. Other than that, he says that the entire track is just a giant ‘f*ck you’ to other people.

me & ur ghost starts out on a lighter note, with just a guitar part and clapping parts. The track eventually builds up in intensity with a droning synth part during the chorus. The reverb effect with his vocals during the chorus definitely adds a chillwave aesthetic to the track. It also matches the title of the track, kind of like a ‘ghostly’ feeling. This track is about losing someone, potentially someone in a relationship. You might have been over that person for a while, but there are still remains left from them, such as old clothes.

queen of broken hearts is one of the first tracks on the album that I don’t really care for. It starts with blackbear’s higher-pitched vocals and several other pop-inspired instrumentals. You do have the ‘reggae-effect’ with the guitar playing on the off-beats. He said that this track was inspired by social media and how it has a huge effect on society. He gets upset when some people are off doing great things or when his friends are on vacation.

i feel bad is another short, sub three-minute track, but it definitely increases the intensity. You have some scratched and chopped notes towards the beginning. When it finally cuts out, blackbear comes in with his vocals and a quiet bass part. Besides the energetic chorus, it definitely isn’t a happy track. He talks about how he feels pain and deals with a chronic condition. Due to that, there are several days where he is constantly in pain and it ruins his entire day.

i feel 2 much is the longest track on the album, which isn’t saying much since it is only four minutes in length. It starts out as a quiet track, but most of the instrumentals are cut out during the chorus where he has his vocoder like effect with his vocals. If you’ve been reading any of my past reviews, I usually compare it to Imogen Heap’s Hide And Seek. On this track, he was trying to make another blackbear ballad.

i felt that is another in your feelings type track. This is basically the third installment from the past two tracks. This is definitely more energetic than the past tracks and gives us more of a dance feel to end this section. There are a lot of bright synths and guitar parts that are scattered throughout the track. This song is based on one of his past relationships and how this person would constantly lie to him. It was definitely taking a toll on his health.

sobbing in cabo starts off with your typical light playful synth notes. However, as the track progresses, and especially during the chorus section, you definitely get more of an 80s pop vibe. Definitely a nice switch up from what we heard in the past three tracks. This song is actually based on his current girlfriend. Since she was in Mexico and was unhappy with her current boyfriend at the time, she called blackbear and wanted to be with him.

clown marks the shortest track from the album. Honestly, I’m glad that it’s short since the lyrics seem very cheesy. The instrumentals are the typical pop instruments that you would probably hear in a top 40 playlist. Can’t complain about the intrumentals, but as I said, the lyrics just seem cheesy and rushed. The chorus talks about a roller coaster going up and down, while his singing voice goes up and down.

half alive seems a little reminiscent of some previous tracks on the album. However, once the chorus breaks in, we finally get a fresh breath of something new. Everything else cuts out and we get a running bass line with the sweet summer guitar vibes. On this track, blackbear is reminiscing about the old times and the places he used to go, like the bar he mentions in the track. The track ends with some distorted and high pitched synth notes.

if i were u features singer and songwriter Lauv. It’s mostly just an acoustic track, but you do have some other features thrown in there from time to time. I’m not really a fan of Lauv’s lyrics on this track, it just seems like it’s a little lackluster and whiny. The track takes on the idea of switching places with a romantic partner. He puts a lot of blame on himself on this track and really tries to reflect on himself as a person

why are girls? starts out with a bombastic drum beat. Besides the drums, there really isn’t anything new or interesting at this point in the album. You do have more of the beach and summer type of guitar licks going on, which I guess is a positive. On this track, blackbear takes social media as an influence again. He said that a lot of people agree that girls are beautiful and better than men. He said it was also based on a social media trend.

The final track from the album is smile again. It’s also another short track from the album, just under two and a half minutes in length. It’s another basic acoustic track with some decent layers of harmonies here and there. While I’m not a huge fan of albums ending on a slow and peaceful note, he wanted to end the album with a slower track. He wanted to end the album with an uplifting song, even though you might have dealt with losing someone.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of his 2019 album, I am definitely more intrigued by this album. I know that people might complain and say that he is too ‘mainstream’, but I am honestly liking this sound more than his past. I guess more people can relate to this music rather than some of his darker music from his previous albums.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: hot girl bummer, me & ur ghost, i feel bad, half alive

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