By LeeAnn Cota
Artist: The Internet
Album: Ego Death
Release Date: June 26, 2015
Ego Death is the third album to come from the LA-based neo soul/R&B band known as The Internet (the music group, not the world wide web). The album was released through Odd Future Records and Columbia in 2015 and later was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 58th Grammy Awards in 2016. The Internet has truly blossomed and transformed from a little seedling at the beginning of the band’s formation in 2011, and into a tremendously beautiful Rafflesia arnoldii (largest known flower on Earth). Band members on this album are Syd Bennett on vocals, Matt Martians on keyboards/vocals, Steve Lacy on guitar, Patrick Paige II on bass, Christopher Smith on drums, and Jameel Bruner on keyboards, who also parted ways with the band near the end of 2016. Before The Internet was formed, Bennett and Martians were brought together by beithe Odd Future collective, which was originally formed by the infamous Tyler, The Creator. This album also includes an impressive list of features like Janelle Monáe, Vic Mensa, and Kaytranada.
In the first song “Get Away,” Bennett talks about her new fame and success but doesn’t forget where she came up from. She also expresses having some issues with her “old chick” being too possessive for Bennett’s liking. In order to ease her girl’s anxiety, Bennett tells her to smoke some weed so that they both can escape from the reality of the real world for a few hours. It’s not hard to believe that this song is quite bass and keyboard heavy because Martians and Lacy produced it. The song ends with a man announcing “B 31 through 60, B 31 through 60 welcome on aboard,” which is a reference to the next song (“Gabby”) that takes place in an airport.
Track 8 is titled “Special Affair” and is one of the more sensual songs on the album. Bennett has found a lustful interest in a girl and wants to take her home. Bennett tells the girl “this is a special affair, better act like you know who I am.” This night is filled with alcohol and weed, which Bennett knows will make the girl a little more comfortable with her and lead to the girl willingly leaving with Bennett. Another bass-filled beat with a melodic and soft guitar coming in and out throughout the song.
The last song is “Palace/Curse,” and starts with Tyler, The Creator’s deep and distinct voice saying “aye, y’all ain’t never been to a party before?” Further along, Bennett talks about wanting to take a girl home again and giving her what other girls can’t. A line that reinforces this is “come into my palace, girl. Everything you’ve ever wanted.” This is all part of the first half of the track, then the second part comes in strong with such a soulful feel to it. Best way to finish the album off. Bennett talks about being under a girl’s curse because Bennett loves her. Bennett has become accustomed to meeting so many girls that want her for her money but this time around she is willing to take a step towards being serious with this girl and says “love is such a sweet thing, maybe we should try it out, see what love is all about.” Lacy also has some vocals (as well as producing with Tyler) in the back that make the track that much better. You can hear him repeating “baby, I’m under your curse.” The keyboard oozes a sense of that r&b taste with some soul.
The Internet was not nominated for a Grammy for nothing. This album proves how much these artists can grow. If you listen to their first album Purple Naked Ladies and their second album Feel Good, you can instantly see the difference in the sounds they experiment with but somehow still sticking to that unique neo soul style. Bennett’s voice has probably gone through the most noticeable difference with her voice pitch improving immensely and becoming much more confident as each album comes out. If you are interested in hearing more material from some of these band members, you can check out their site for solo projects from Bennett, Martians, and Lacy. You can also check out their upcoming tour dates here.