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Album review: Bryson Tiller’s “A N N I V E R S A R Y”

Singer-songwriter Bryson Tiller released his third studio album, “A N N I V E R S A R Y” on Oct. 3. The album, which consists of 10 songs, comes three years after the release of Tiller’s sophomore album, “True to Self.” Between the two, Tiller dropped a handful of singles and featured on just as many songs, including DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts.”

“A N N I V E R S A R Y” comes exactly five years after Tiller’s debut album “T R A P S O U L,” which charted at number eight on the Billboard 200, a list that ranks the 200 most popular albums in the country. The album features the songs “Don’t,” “Exchange,” and “Sorry Not Sorry,” which appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 list. 

His next album, “True to Self,” charted at number one on the Billboard 200 list. This was massive for Tiller as it was only his second major album. The album also landed Tiller at number three on the Billboard Artist 100 list. Five songs from “True to Self” reached the Billboard Hot 100, with the most popular being “Somethin Tells Me,” which peaked at number 74.

“A N N I V E R S A R Y” has been out for about 24 hours now, and I have listened to it about three times all the way through. My first impressions were not great. I had really high expectations after Tiller took a three-year break from his last album. “True to Self” and “T R A P S O U L” both rank really high on the list of my favorite albums. If I weren’t writing this review, I probably would have pushed the album to the side and never looked back. I was honestly more eager to listen to 21 Savage’s “SAVAGE MODE II” and Westside Gunn’s “WHO MADE THE SUNSHINE,” both of which released on the same day as “A N N I V E R S A R Y.”

Listening to the album again, I’m starting to like it more. But it’s still not great. Is it on the same level as “T R A P S O U L?” No, and it’s not even close. I think the problem I have with this album is that Tiller set the bar way too high after his first two albums. They are both on a different level of good, and it’s hard to match. 

If Tiller released  “A N N I V E R S A R Y” as his first album, I would be ecstatic for any new music of his to come. His standard is way too high and I don’t think he reached it with this album. A lot of his songs on “A N N I V E R S A R Y” sound identical. Tiller doesn’t do a great job of varying his flow and style, and most of the beats sound like the same producer made them. 

There are, however, two songs that really stand out to me. The first being “Things Change” and the second being “Outta Time.” These two songs are the most unique on the album. Drake’s feature on “Outta Time” is incredible and complements Tiller’s voice really well. It is definitely the best song on the album.

Overall, I can’t say that I am incredibly happy with the album. It’s a good album, but it didn’t really meet the hype I had for it. “A N N I V E R S A R Y” is a solid 6.5/10. It could have been a lot better and it could have been a lot worse, but it is definitely not Tiller’s best work. I don’t see myself revisiting it anytime soon, unlike the other albums that Tiller has put out so far.

kwa7xq@mail.umkc.edu

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