What's worse than someone who flaunts how good they are? Someone who thinks they're great at something but really, really fall short. That's essentially all of Tinie Tempah's new album. Full of self-absorbed tracks, Youth shows Tinie Tempah needs a reality check, fast.
The downward spiral starts at the beginning of the record and just doesn't end. There's nothing really wrong with opening track 'Youth,' while it is just fairly average, but it's when 'Not For The Radio' when you realize things are doomed. This song will have you asking "what is this" throughout the entire run, and it gets even worse when the chorus comes in somehow with a croon that sounds so confident but at the same time so bad. You can't tell if he's trying to be melodic or if his voice is cracking.
Before getting into the real nature of Youth, there is some credit it deserves. There are some decent tracks on it that gives it some quality. 'Chasing Flies' is a pretty sweet song without much wrong with it, though it's not particularly amazing in any aspect. 'Mamacita' is a pretty funky song with its Spanish flair. This one feels like a party and it's actually a really fun track, if not a bit repetitive. The only track that really stands out as great is 'Holy Moly,' which really embraces the elements from London's grime scene. It's punchy, busy, and even has that right touch of cockiness in it to give it its real grime nature.
It's all rough seas from there. While Youth is meant to be a celebration of success, it feels more like a record that's trying to say "look how great I am" when it becomes painfully clear that he just isn't. It almost gets funny in 'Lightwork' where he says it's really easy for him to make a hit song even though no one has heard of him since 2010. Tinashe's neverending (and downright discursive) hook in 'Text From You Ex' is delivered in such an incredibly annoying way and when it's in the song twenty times, you might want to rip your ears off. Other annoying moments come from Zara Larsson in 'Girls Like' and his cockiness towards the end of the record. In tracks like 'Find Me' and 'Shadows,' you really feel like he thinks he's so creative when he delivers some very cringeworthy bars.
There's a lot more going against Tinie Tempah than going for him in Youth. There very few redeemable moments on the record that makes for a very boring and downright cringeworthy listen. If anything, Youth shows Tinie Tempah needs a reality check before his next record. Maybe this one will spawn some incessant radio hit that'll give him something to show for his cockiness.
Favorite Track: Holy Moly
Least Favorite Tracks: Text From Your Ex, Not For The Radio, Find Me, Shadows
Rating: 42 / 100
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