Rod Wave - Pray 4 Love Music Album Reviews

Even as the Floridian crooner becomes a breakout star, his music remains bleak and filled with pain.

In the months since Rod Wave’s breakout album Ghetto Gospel, the St. Petersburg-born rapper’s life has changed. He went on tour with Kevin Gates; Meek Mill called him his therapist; and he released a Cole Bennett-directed music video. But even as his profile grows, his music remains drenched in misery; Pray 4 Love, his new album, is more bleak than anything he’s made before. In an interview discussing the recording process of the project, Rod Wave said he laid down the vocals in a dark hotel room with nobody else but his engineer.

If you didn’t listen closely enough to his 2019 debut LP, you might think it was recorded in the piano room of a church. It’s a soulful record with constant mentions of faith, but it’s not exactly religious. Instead, he makes songs about pain, heartbreak, trauma, and turning to religion as a last resort, made digestible with catchy songwriting and choir-ready vocals that separate him from others in the South and Midwest making similarly hopeless music.

But sometimes Pray 4 Love can be overwhelming. At its worst, it’s like reading someone’s college admission essay, where all of their life struggles are squeezed into a couple hundred words: On “I Remember,” his father goes to prison; he confesses his love to someone; he cries when it goes unreciprocated; he goes to prison; his mother cries; his friend stabs him in the back over money, and so on. It’s a running list of traumatic events with the goal of making you feel sorry for him, but pity is not what makes Rod Wave’s songs work. At their most effective, they have the raw immediacy of someone going to confession for the first time.

Notably, at three and a half minutes, “I Remember” is the album’s longest song. Rod Wave’s best tracks rarely cross the three-minute mark, typically a single pain-filled verse bookended by an agonized chorus. “Fuck the World” follows that blueprint here, with Rod Wave biting off the ends of his consonants and sounding on the brink of a breakdown: “Said you wouldn’t leave, but you left like I expected/I opened up ’bout my pain, now I regret it,” he belts. If it weren’t for the trap drums, the melancholy pianos and gloomy electric riffs would land squarely in country-ballad territory.

Rod Wave’s songwriting has its flaws. Occasionally it’s unnecessarily melodramatic: he acts like he’s scarred from having to wake up early to catch the school bus and working at a donut shop as a teenager. But when the writing is sharp, and often it is, his lyrics hit hard enough to bring your own buried pain right to the surface. “I need some happiness again, this life done beat on me/I caught a flight to ease the pain, I switched the scenery,” he sings bluntly on “Ribbon in the Sky.” It’s straightforward and complicated; unpolished and imperfect; all of which makes the painful emotion on Pray 4 Love feel genuine even as his life changes.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Rod Wave - Pray 4 Love Music Album Reviews Rod Wave - Pray 4 Love Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 15, 2020 Rating: 5


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