XXXtentacion - ?
I think that if we sense of what X was trying to achieve with this album we have to look no further than the intro titled Introduction (instructions). Here he states that he's going for something more versatile, hoping to open the minds of the listeners, mostly his fans. Now, I get that to someone like me it may come off as a bit cringy, especially because we are often listening to a wide variety of genres already. There's no real challenge involved. I'm not going to be too harsh on X though. I know that there's a lot of his fans that are often listening to rap almost all the time and they might be looking for something else. If someone's a fan of X, I'm happy that he's introducing them to different genres and hopefully it'll help expand their taste, possibly diving in deeper to these sounds that X attempts to deliver. Also, yes, I have been very judgemental towards his music, such as when I gave 17 a 35/100, but a massive fault of that album was that it wasn't varied enough to become that interesting. Maybe by doing something completely different, this might actually become great. So, the question is do I like this album? Do I at the very least prefer it to 17?

No no no no no no no no no no no no no and no

I do genuinely see what he was trying to do (no shit, the first paragraph explains that all) and I certainly understand if someone likes this, but by becoming more ambitious, X's amateurish musical ability sadly becomes more present to me. Instead of creating an album that is cohesive and does portray sadness in an admittedly convincing way on 17, ? feels like eating too much at a gross buffet to the point of throwing up. If this is a buffet, out of the 18 different foods, maybe 5 of them were digestible and even less were appitising.

Moonlight, I fucking love this song. When I first listened to this a year ago, I didn't get why people loved it, but when listening to the album, this stands out as the only song I'd choose to return to. infinity (888) is an alright collaboration with Joey Bada$$, though that intro about catching STDs bewilders me and that's not a positive. Also, despite X's horrible contribution, I don't even speak spanish lol has grown on me. It is quite catchy, so I'll give it that.

SAD! would be mentioned in the group of alright songs, but the extremely toxic hook about threatening a girl with suicide if she leaves cannot be ignored. It's such a shame because other than that I actually really like this song, but I know that this is something that will shape how impressionable listeners perceive relationships. At least with something, like Juice WRLD's Robbery, I sense a self-awareness, but SAD! is just a disgusting message forced towards people.

I think how sickening X comes across on a lot of these tracks is a huge reason as to me disliking ?. changes is another example. Sure, it's not as toxic, but I get a really gross feeling from how I can imagine X thinking he's coming across as really deep on this song. schizophrenia, while maybe not his intention, comes across as a glamorised version of mental illness. I'm not sure if he meant that, but I'm only judging on what I hear, and that is the truth.

A lot of other songs are just completely lazy from one of the most popular artist's at the time. With a good chunk of these songs of these under the two minute mark, there's still some chance that he's at least trying. I mean, a lot of songs on J Dilla - Donuts are really short too and he was fucking dying, but it still was fantastic because he put the effort in. This though? Nah, this ain't it. I give him credit on the idea, but it feels like when it came to actually trying this is the musical equivalent of telling yourself you'd run a mile, but you fail to even get off the couch.

People should feel free to listen to whatever they want and if they want to expand on the genres they're hearing, that's great. I just feel as if that ? is not the best way to do that. Personally, I'd suggest that it's a lot better to start with the popular albums in them respected genres, instead of going to one guy that claims to cover them on a 37 minute album.

For what we had on 17, X lost it on ? with little to give back. He stole the crumbs of any redeeming qualities away from us, just to give even less crumbs back.
1 Comment
May 12, 2019
Very good review as usual. But I'm not sure that "?" is less good than "17". Even if the album is completely heterogeneous, I find that there are more ideas and songs listenable than in "17". After, it is true that "17" is more authentic and homogeneous.
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