Not Waving, But Drowning

Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning
Critic Score
Based on 14 reviews
2019 Ratings: #540 / 651
User Score
Based on 218 ratings
2019 Ratings: #394
Liked by 1 person
April 19, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
AMF, Virgin EMI / Label
Hip Hop, UK Hip Hop / Genres
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The Line of Best Fit

With a title inspired by one of his grandfather’s poems, he has etched his name further into the fabric of music, creating a wholesome space of honesty that has the ability to inspire positivity while tackling heavy themes of pain and frustration.

The Independent

Not Waving, But Drowning has an emotional intelligence that shows just how strong Carner is when he’s at his most vulnerable.

Carner is a genuine talent, and this second album demonstrates just why he’s so highly rated.

He’s managed to successfully replicate the feeling of genuine emotion and human connection that drew listeners to him and his music on his first album, with his second likely to be just as prosperous.

Loud and Quiet

Carner holds on to the human warmth that made 2017’s Yesterday’s Gone so special and channels his growing confidence as a storyteller in this stream of disarmingly honest songs.

No Ripcord

Not Waving But Drowning showcases why Carner is heralded as one of British hip-hop’s biggest talents, but this isn’t quite the revelation his debut was.


All the supporting work is understated and studious, ideally compatible with Carner's substantive ruminations.

With a handful of radiant tunes, and lashings of Carner’s sensitive and witty lyricism, ‘Not Waving, But Drowning’ is an impressive second album. Although at times the momentum of the record stalls, it’s another bold release from one of the biggest talents British hip-hop has to offer.

It doesn’t quite match the intensity and impact of his debut.

The Guardian

A collection of smooth, soft-centred rap that verges on the sickly, with Carner’s genial charisma floating adrift in a sea of sentimentality and nostalgia.

The Observer

For his second album, the 24-year-old’s flow remains defiantly old-school, concerned with language and jazzy storytelling rather than the Autotuned postures that get the streams.

It’s important that Loyle Carner is exploring the idea of toxic masculinity through his music, but it’s a shame he’s doing so in such a boring way.
He is not a Scroobius Pip, Kate Tempest or Akala, and he is not a Mike Skinner, Dave or Plan B. He may get there, with time, but right now – even if we take Carner's word for it that he is, in fact, drowning, not waving, his music needs more depth before I can join him in that.
What the fuck is wrong with the Guardian?
This guy's bars are corny as hell and I've never heard a truly original thought / phrasing from his verses that I haven't heard out of other rapper's mouths before him. Can't fathom how he's so highly rated.
It felt two hours long... not in a good way
from the album and track titles, to the poetry, stories, melodies, and beats; this man has a way with words, incorporated into heartfelt hip hop and flirty jazz; a collection of warm, soothing, cleverly crafted tunes that put one's mind at ease while still making it bouncy and fun

this could come out as a paradox to hip-hop due to the polite, nostalgic, and somehow innocent feel that comes with the lyrics and constant references to his loved ones; however, it works and proves its point

pd: ... read more
This is one of the best first listening experience in my entire life. Loyle just show how to mantain the same atmosphere song by song, changing little by little. Being honest, his delivery on this thing make me feel like i'm inside his brain, discovering what he is thinking, because of his flow, it's so natural and well executed.

All the songs are so enjoyable, the collabs are perfect (love u, Jorja), the beats are elegant as fuck.

Pd: Concuerdo con Jimena, salúdenme a Jean, me imagino ... read more
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Track List

  1. Dear Jean
  2. Angel
  3. Ice Water
  4. Ottolenghi
  5. You Don't Know
  6. Still
  7. It’s Coming Home?
  8. Desoleil (Brilliant Corners)
  9. Loose Ends (feat. Jorja Smith)
  10. Not Waving, But Drowning
  11. Krispy
  12. Sail Away Freestyle
  13. Looking Back
  14. Carluccio
  15. Dear Ben
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Added on: March 21, 2019