AOTY 2021
Sign In to rate and review


The Independent

In the universally accepting, technicolour world DEACON creates, serpent is free to love and to just be. It may well serve as inspiration for others to do the same.

Consequence of Sound

Serpent uses the album as a way to turn blessings upon his friends, and his beloved and admired ones, and the result is a series of love stories, addresses, and snapshots that show how it is not in love’s nature to consider confinement.

Entertainment Weekly

Where Soil embraced the discord of romantic entanglements, Deacon, its follow-up, is a celebration of the opposite: the comfort, light, and assurance that swells from deep connection.

The Line of Best Fit
All of these songs – every single one – are of the same calibre you might expect from universally-renowned artists, from Frank Ocean to The Weeknd. These are world-class songs, thoughtfully sequenced into an endlessly replayable record.

‘DEACON’ is a triumph because it realises and relives love’s quiet, archived moments, be it romantic or spiritual. It’s a triumph because it reminds us R&B exists on a vast continuum, forever a source of inspiration and innovation.

The Young Folks

To call Serpent’s sophomore LP Deacon his most accessible work yet is hardly a slight. It also may well be his funniest, queerest, and most accomplished work thus far.

Beats Per Minute

As Wise’s voice and music continues to impressively dart, elude, and shapeshift through listening ears, its emotional magnitude has remained a constant. It’s effortlessly buoyant, especially now that he’s reclaimed his image; he’s not the sad and desperate crooner he was once made out to be.


Where serpent mourned fizzling loves on soil and debut EP blisters, here, he hails the simple glories and everyday little moments of thriving Black queer romances.

Loud and Quiet

This is an album of quiet ambition, one that treads softly in both sound and message.


Under a charmingly simple exterior of love and passion lies powerful depth and expertise. DEACON's memorable songwriting and jovial themes compellingly manifest Wise's affable side.


Album two softens the more uneasy edges of the Baltimore artist's earlier releases and celebrates Black gay love – with blissful results.


‘DEACON’ deftly highlights serpentwithfeet’s growth as an artist, and its honesty and warmth mean it’s destined to be one of the most important albums of 2021.


‘DEACON’ looks for hope in love, much like in the spirituality that birthed it.


DEACON is a record manifesting warmth. A record full of love. It is practically impossible not to love it.

Slant Magazine
The artist scales back the divine aspirations and melodramatic tendencies, resulting in his most secular work to date.
The Forty-Five

Where ‘soil’ shouldered heavy production and even heavier emotion, ‘Deacon’ strips away layers of hurt, pain, and hate, and only love and happiness remain.

The Sydney Morning Herald

The true success of Deacon ultimately lies in its terminal joy as Wise demonstrates that there is a multitude of ways to show up as a queer black man in 2021.


More soothing and fulfilling than thrilling, Deacon revolves around the idea that love doesn't have to be a burden. It's a realization that serpentwithfeet transforms into a beautiful, fully realized work of art for his audience to savor.

The Guardian

This poppy, life-affirming ode to gay domestic bliss is a paean to black people ‘living their damn life anyhow’.

Rolling Stone

It’s the cheekiness and humor of Deacon that really shines, without sacrificing the complex theatricality that has made Serpentwithfeet such a standout project.

Spectrum Culture
serpentwithfeet’s second album is more focused than his first, a stunning portrayal of love in all its forms as it beats Josiah Wise down and ultimately saves him.
Record Collector
This is fun stuff and while the lyrics constantly remind you of the underlying themes, the sheer joy that exudes from the effortlessly slinky likes of Fellowship ... is as impressive as it is assured.

DEACON delivers on the fantastic promise that Wise's earlier work – most notably his debut LP soil – has shown. He brings a creative, eccentric, and intelligent sound to alternative soul.

Crack Magazine

In creating a narrative that centres tenderness, DEACON is a paean to the expansive nature of queer love and carves out a sonic sanctuary nothing short of divine.


DEACON could use a few more awe-inspiring moments, but by celebrating simplicity, it enshrines the Black, queer love at its center as something blessedly uncomplicated and precious.

Under The Radar

Whether it’s maturity, finding true love, or a move to the West Coast, DEACON’s disposition is perennially sunny with little effort put to questioning the outcome.


By recapturing the pleasure of his strictly religious adolescence and finding strength in the playful streak that courses in his veins, serpent has crafted a spatially attentive album centred around representation and reverence, inclusivity and acceptance.

The Needle Drop

The bland and scant musical ideas don't support DEACON's emotional weight.

I have a feeling this would sound amazing on vinyl.

This was a very pleasant surprise as I had never listened to anything from this artist. Overall, I can say it was a great pick me up.

The atmospheric production along with the soulful yet soothing vocals had me just vibing the whole time. It was so comforting, like a warm feeling during the summer season. I will say that some of the songs are a little forgettable due to the pacing being quite steady throughout the whole thing. But, I can see ... read more
After three years of waiting, Josiah Wise, aka serpentwithfeet, has finally come through with his sophomore album following his 2018 debut. While I think this record still is held down by some flaws, “DEACON” still proves why serpentwithfeet is one of the most exciting artists in his field.

Throughout his debut, “soil”, much of the songwriting focused on heavier and darker emotions, particularly heartbreak. However, this time around, Wise has shifted his writing to ... read more
great album.

serpentwithfeet is a name that i've only heard for the first time in the last fee months when "fellowship" was dropped as a single and i'll be honest, he got me hooked with his soul-soothing voice and chill atmosphere.

i lose myself whenever i hear basically any song out of DEACON. the moment his voice begins creating soundwaves on the super calm instrumentals, and the more eloquent harmonious vocals start almost floating in the air, all combine to illustrate the ... read more
Oh my god, they were roommates. Cute friendship guys!
On his sophomore record, serpentwithfeet displays an optimistic rebirth of sorts as well as a significant progression in both his songwriting and production capabilities.

This record is like a warm, summery hug filled with love and good energy. I was having a bad night and this record really lifted my spirits! I think this will be one of the definitive releases of the year for me as I really see it growing on me even more!

This is easily my favorite work of his to date! Love it!
Purchasing DEACON from Amazon helps support Album of the Year. Or consider a donation?

Added on: January 25, 2021