Syd Broken Hearts Club Coloumbia
A lot has happened since Syd came up as Syd tha Kyd in the era-defining rap collective Odd Future. First, she became the leader of acclaimed neo-soul outfit, The Internet, before striking out solo on 2017’s Fin. More recently, she’s become a frequent feature on tracks from rap and R&B’s top tier, her tender voice always recognisable, even if her own identity as an artist is sometimes less so. Broken Hearts Club, her first album since The Internet’s Hive Mind in 2018, seeks to change this with some of her most introspective and vulnerable music yet.
Broken Hearts Club settles firmly on the quieter, softer side of the breakup album trope: after the fights have died down and all that’s left is the shell-shocked aftermath. There are spots of sunshine, though; lead single Fast Car is, despite the name, less Tracy Chapman and more Prince. Specifically, one of those songs where he has a coterie of women as his backing band. “Kiss me like you mean it, girl/ I’ll turn up the speakers, girl,” Syd purrs seductively. Despite this being ostensibly about heartbreak, we’ve rarely seen Syd so carefree.
Elsewhere, though, there’s a resignation that belies the worst aspects of a relationship gone suddenly wrong. This is most clear on Out Loud, which features the always smooth-as-honey stylings of Kehlani. Both women plead with their lovers to just give it to them straight: “I’ve been wondering, are we anything?/ Or is it just out of my hands?” BMHWDY seems simple at first, just a fuzzy breakbeat and Syd’s glossy, echoing vocals, but the lyrics hit like a mantra of the grief-stricken. “Break my heart, why don’t ya?” Syd repeats in the chorus, over and over. At times, Broken Hearts Club doesn’t quite stack up to some of Syd’s most brilliant moments. But like surreptitiously reading someone’s diary, you’re left with an indelible impression of an artist at their rawest.