On ARIZONA BABY, BROCKHAMPTON mastermind Kevin Abstract temporarily steps away from the group to release his third solo album. Full of raw highs and lows, the project reflects the chaotic mental state its creator is in.
ARIZONA BABY is an album without a unifying sense of theme or message. Surprisingly, this doesn’t take away from the impact of the project as a whole. Each track feels like a separate page in the journal of a young adult still figuring the world out. Instead of taking us through a story with a beginning and end, each songs seems to mark a feeling; a frozen snapshot of his state of being in a moment in time. Feelings of love, hopelessness, nostalgia, guilt, lack of belonging and depression are strewn throughout, allowing the listener a glimpse at the current thoughts of the Texas native.
The album also reflects the disorganized thematic style in its production, which ranges in influence from soul to indie pop to trap to country. Skillfully, Abstract manages to connect these disparate styles in seamless ways throughout, though the production on songs like “Joyride” can sometimes feel messy and overwhelming. Songs “Baby Boy” and “American Problem” boast grandiose production while still managing a humble feel, where “Georgia” and “Crumble” utilize a softer approach.
What’s lost in thematic unity is made up for in diversity on ARIZONA BABY; an album that cements the fact that Kevin Abstract can be just as impressive on his own.
David is a Bay Area native who’s been playing, writing and listening to music since he was a young child.