Apollo XXI

Steve Lacy - Apollo XXI
Critic Score
Based on 17 reviews
2019 Ratings: #439 / 767
User Score
Based on 464 ratings
2019 Ratings: #734
Liked by 4 people
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An intoxicating mix of celestial soul, sprightly funk and glossy, luxurious rock'n'roll, Apollo XXI is a self-assured and sonically robust exploration of love, lust and identity politics.


Overall, considering the effortless transitions, range of sound production, and important topics discussed through his lyrics, Apollo XXI is a musical project that positively surpasses several expectations many had for Steve Lacy's first major album.

The Guardian

This casual approach is what perhaps stops this album short of being an all-time classic, but it’s also what makes it such a joy. Lacy is a man wise enough to leave rough edges on his perfectly rounded talent.


On his likeable debut album, the Internet member and prolific collaborator balances wistful musical throwbacks with authentic lyricism and attitude.


While it’s perhaps not as artless as his earlier releases, nor was it recorded on an iPhone, it retains much of their charm, and builds upon it.


Even if this record is a little rough around the edges, it feels like the starting point of something very special and has enough sparky originality to ring off all through your summer.


Apollo XXI, his first album, is a little more refined, advancing his lazing, heartfelt mix of soul and funk with minimal varnish and no evident fuss.


His first record with his name above the door, ‘Apollo XXI’ makes for the ideal CV.


Lacy’s solo effort is filled to the brim with ideas even when it sometime sounds as if he’s creatively a little too all over the place. Thankfully, even when he fails, listeners should be fascinated by even those attempts.

Spectrum Culture

Despite Lacy’s frequent collaborations outside of his solo work, Apollo XXI is mostly a solitary affair, a chance for him to take the spotlight and figure his shit out.

Crack Magazine

It would be a powerful debut for any young musician, but for someone as hyped as Lacy, it’s a bullseye that hints at many moments of magic to come.


The singer and guitarist’s debut solo album offers an introspective blend of R&B, hip-hop, & lo-fi pop but feels reluctant to claim the spotlight.

Loud and Quiet

It all makes ‘Apollo XXI’ an intriguing statement, albeit a flawed one: as a scrapbook of a record, and glimpse into Lacy’s voracious musical appetite, it’s fascinating.

The Observer

On this sprawling, often horizontal record, Lacy’s default setting is a blissful Los Angeles funk that bleeds easily into punchier hip-hop passages.

The Needle Drop

Steve Lacy still sounds as if he's in demo mode on Apollo XXI.

2019 is the year of the soul-funk apparently.

Talk about no expectations. I had no idea what I was getting myself into on this record. Steve Lacy is a name i’ve heard a lot and nothing about. All I know is that he was a collaborator on the latest Vampire Weekend album, he’s the guitarist in the band The Internet, and that this is his debut project. That’s it. But, Sunflower was one of my favorite tracks off of FOTB, and curiosity got the better of me, and decided to listen to ... read more
Overall pretty boring but I wanted to add that “Like Me” is a fantastic song and probably ends up on my top songs of the year list
Steve Lacy is good when working with other artists like The Internet and Vampire Weekend. On his own, his work leaves a lot to be desired. The instrumentation is alright and the basslines are great but Steve's voice isn't good enough to hold its own, the production is near demo quality and the lyrics... what the fuck are these lyrics?!?!?!

Fav Tracks: Playground, Love 2 Fast, Amandla's Interlude, Only If, Basement Jack

Least Fav Tracks: Outro/4ever, In Lust We Trust

The Internet guitarist and singer-songwriter's debut is consistently compelling, funky chunkful of jams laced in romanticism, personal musings and introspection. Its music styling, signature funk sound and engaging interludes makes up for a very satisfying listen. My ears are glued on you, Steve.
Two years after his promising demos, the guitarist of The Internet releases a first album uninhibited and quite inconsistent. Steve Lacy refuses to yield to the majors of the music industry. He releases his music freely and refines his own style. "Apollo XXI" sounds like a home-made album, intimate and uninhibited, in its themes as in its production which still lo-fi. The young prodigy is surrounded by drum machines, Californian synths and guitars with their characteristic sound. But ... read more
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Added on: May 15, 2019