Trippie's vocals on the deluxe were overwhelming, with Trippie trying too much at one moment, to the point where everything sounded like an ugly mess. Trippie Redd has always had some amazing talent vocally, something that you can see in almost every project he drops, but he's gotten to the point where he tries to prove too much. I feel like Trippie tried to show off his vocal range for most of the album, focusing on this aspect a lot more than on his lyrics/flows, something that didn't feel right as he usual vocals are good enough but he's never been at even average standard lyrically so his choice in working on his vocals instead of his writing was puzzling and turned out to be a pretty bad decision because his 'improved' vocals weren't pleasant too. Some songs just sounded like a moaning mess instead of sounding like Trippie was singing as he really went too far with his vocals. If he rapped regularly, like how he did on 'Pegasus', this album could've turned to a decent attempt at pop punk/rock as the part of the album that drags the deluxe down would probably be the vocals as that's what really ruins a lot of the songs, something that I thought I wouldn't ever say about a Trippie Redd project as this aspect as always been tremendous. On the other hand, I can see how someone could say that all this vocal flexing could be a way for Trippie Redd to express his emotions, especially cause it's commonly done in the genre but that's when I would argue that this doesn't seem to suit the genre the best because people who usually do this aren't as gifted with their vocals such as MGK who did this last year and succeeded, having bland vocals usually but transforming them in a tremendous way on 'Tickets To My Downfall' to fit the genre as he stretched his vocals in spectacular ways without overdoing it like Trippie, who already had amazing vocals without having to stretch them as stretching them just made them sound so bad. Overall, Trippie's vocals were sadly just trash, not because he wasn't trying as we all can see that he clearly was, but the problem with his vocals was that he went to the extreme ends of his vocal range, which in Trippie's case is way too far, falling flat instead.
Travis Barker's production was beautiful for most of the album but there were moments where the beats were bad due to Travis Barker trying something different. Travis Barker handled most of the production by himself, after all the deluxe was hosted by him. I'm surprised at how Travis Barker manages to come up with so many fresh beats after being in the industry for so long, with his new high demand beating expectations of the artists as I'm not sure any other producer/artist could've made this better to please listeners from the pop punk/rock genre and the artist's fans as he's already accomplished this with MGK's 'Tickets To My Downfall', finding success again on this deluxe as any reason for why this album didn't work is because of Trippie Redd as Travis Barker provided him with some spectacular beats that stayed true to the genre while experimenting in excellent ways too. 'WITHOUT YOU' used an unexpected instrumental which was underwhelming as it got really repetitive fast, but Travis Barker came back with some crazy drums to bring it back on his part, leaving the rest to Trippie. The entire deluxe has high-quality drums, after all it is Travis Barker, one of the best drummers in the industry at the moment. The instrumentals are what can vary in quality, but Travis Barker actually manages to come up with some creative beats that are spectacular, only occasionally missing with them and even when he does, he comes back with the drums like on 'WITHOUT YOU'. Trippie Redd's pop punk style requires more aggressive drums and Travis Barker amazes me at how he effortlessly comes up with fast-paced, vivid drum patters that smack you in the face. Overall, the production on the album was some of Trippie Redd's best as Travis Barker blows me away with the drums while making sure the instrumentals are a mix of dreamy and drowsy.
The lyrics on the album are a whole new low for Trippie Redd and as this deluxe can be considered as the worst deluxe lyrically in 2021 so far. Trippie Redd doesn't put any effort on his lyrics unlike how he did with his vocals, seeming to sing out literally anything that he thinks of, rushing his writing to the maximum. Almost all the songs sound like a random word repeated again and again until the song's done, exhausting me as a listener by the end of the track, just for me to have to go through it all over again on the next track. Choruses can actually be a little catchy sometimes because of how repetitive these songs are, automatically annoying you while getting stuck in your head at the same time. The deluxe follows the same theme as 'Pegasus', being about a ride or die relationship as Trippie seems to depend on this girl like a drug, with his one or two lines being really extreme as he seems to sound like he doesn't care about anyone's thoughts on this relationship and even this album as a matter of fact. You hear some strained vocals from Trippie Redd along with some simple lyrics which make the lyrics seem so much more emotional than they are, being an idea that worked to some extent, but being especially disappointing when I later dived into the actual lyrics and searched for some meaning to them, just being empty, with Trippie seeming to have a ton of emotion trapped inside of him but failing to get the emotions out in clear lines. He manages to bring some sea references to display how down he feels, not impressing me too much but adding at least a little to the void of this album. Not much else to say about the lyrics on the album as they're not thought out completely, feeling more like half thoughts that needed to be edited, but with Trippie just releasing them in their raw form which is a risk that just didn't work out the way he thought it would. Overall, the lyrics are even worse than you'd expect them to be coming from Trippie as they lack any form of structure, seeming to just float in and out of your ears as they're lost behind Trippie's vocals.
The features on the album are actually not too bad if you exclude the last track, managing to add some sort of content to the deluxe. Machine Gun Kelly's feature on 'PILL BREAKER' was an amazing addition to an already beautiful song, just being what the song needed to be perfect as he slid smoothly onto the song, with his lyrics being outstanding as they fit the theme of the song, with his melodies being the best part of his feature, changing them up throughout his verse stunningly. Bet you wouldn't have thought that blackbear would ever have the best feature on a Trippie Redd project which is exactly the case on this deluxe as blackbear sounds breath-taking, coming up with vocals that are better than I've ever heard from him, coated with a good amount of vocal effects and supporting Trippie Redd interestingly as their vocals just seem to come together in such a satisfying way. A member of the Deftones, Chino Moreno barely appears on 'GERONIMO' but manages to create a gorgeous druggy atmosphere that's way too messy to enjoy but is still an ambitious attempt as his vocals sound whispery, like he's trying to mimic the wind. MGK's second feature on the album, on 'RED SKY', isn't as pretty as his first feature as he provides useless background vocals that really do nothing, with this album being so incomplete that even MGK's feature feels incomplete as his first verse is only four lines that are nice vocally but is underwhelming as a verse as there's just not enough time for MGK to even carry the track as he leaves in like fifteen seconds, while coming back again for two lines on the outro, which is the part that feels incomplete as it just felt like a bunch of teasing and a clickbait feature to some extent. We reach 'DEAD DESERT' where the two features completely kill me as they are possibly the worst features I've ever heard on a song, a song I was hyped for because the idea of the combo of Scarlxrd and ZillaKami sounded deadly, but ended up actually killing me as Scarlxd's vocals are some of the ugliest vocals I've heard, just when I thought Trippie's vocals where getting ugly, Scarlxrd comes in vocals significantly worse. ZillaKami doesn't sound as bad but still sounds like a serial killer, scaring me with his verse. Overall, the features were fine and ended up creating the only songs that actually sound complete, but the last track is way too crazy for me too comprehend as I just can't deal with the extreme yelling.
2021 Summer Paragraph:
Might not be as bad as I remember it but 'NEON SHARK' is still an album that manages to annoy me whenever I listen to it, being an album that literally sounds incomplete like I mentioned many times previously. There's definitely a theme that the album was built around, but the theme didn't get the time it deserved to completely play out, which is probably why it was just dropped as a deluxe, being carried by Travis Barker instead of the actual concept that it was intended to be built around. After coming back, I can hear all the ambitious ideas that I somehow managed to miss a few months ago, with Trippie aiming to create an underwater-like atmosphere where we literally felt like our head was underwater, a bit druggy, but the incompleteness lead the atmosphere to sound like torture instead, no offence, as if Trippie took a few more months to work on this, this deluxe could've been so much more and maybe even crossed the quality of 'Tickets to my Downfall'. Trippie seems to be lost somewhere else, maybe because his head is already in the next project as there were rumors that he was working on three other projects at the time which is a huge problem, as an artist, I expect you to put your all in one project or at least completely take a break when you're working on another project as it prevents the music from sounding like a complete mess, which is what this album turned out to be. Feel bad for Travis Barker as his production was the only part of the project that sounded like it was ready for release, while Trippie Redd just wasted his efforts by melodically yelling and repeating random lines that he had started to develop but didn't seem to have the time to finish, creating one of Trippie's worst projects.
Overall, 'NEON SHARK vs Pegasus (Deluxe: Presented By Travis Baker)' was an admirable attempt from Trippie Redd to join the revival of the pop punk genre but his ambitious ideas are too incomplete to interest me as a listener, with the deluxe containing weary vocals, excellent production from Travis Barker as expected, and lazy lyrics that are not even half-finished.
Best Tracks: PILL BREAKER, DREAMER, LEADERS (Along with maybe RED SKY and FROZEN OCEAN)
Worst Tracks: Everything Else (Especially DEAD DESERT)