Future EVOL Freebandz / Epic
EVOL is Future’s fourth album; the gap between album one and two was around two years. The gap between three and four? Seven months. Future is on one of those fabled mixtape ‘runs’, as 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane have had before him, where every mixtape (and mixtape masquerading as album) is heralded a hit, even if quality begins to matter less than consistency.
People love a comeback, and Future’s hotness burns hotter because his second album, Honest, recorded when he was in love with Ciara, left so many of his fans cold. And so since Monster, Future has been back to bestial basics with a series of hard-as-nails releases. EVOL has for its title a play on words, reversing the word LOVE (geddit?). But does this eye rolling reversal actually tell us something about his music and its appeal, which seems to have skyrocketed the more nihilistic it has become. Future’s music is club music, which makes you wonder about those clubs. Metro Boomin drowns his sinister synth-wisps in churning two-note bass, while Future sing-raps often two-note odes to taking Xanax and fucking women in the mouth. The term for this music is ‘turn up’, but the Xanax obsession, not to mention the persistently gloomy notes, actually suggest a turning down, a numbing nullification of ‘finer’ feelings. With his deliberately off-key melodies, his stylistic kink of locking into repetitious patterns before dropping them unexpectedly, his mastery of segueing between a crescendo-bellow and an affect-less mumble, Future excels at sounding disengaged. But what’s discouraging about EVOL is that it sometimes seems Future’s genuinely disengaged; it’s an undisciplined album, with several tracks dragging. When it’s disciplined as on Ain’t No Time, it’s mesmeric. But perhaps Future doesn’t need to be disciplined anymore. The ‘Turn Up’ generation, after all, demands nothing more than more: more drugs, more sex – more mixtapes. Perhaps unconsciously EVOL posits the opposite of love to be, not hatred, but the inevitable response to having it all on a platter (or in a tablet) – apathy.