George Virden Watsky – better known as “Watsky” – is an American rapper, poet, actor, and producer who has produced to this day six (or so) full albums. The latest, X Infinity, came out this summer. Although he has been recognized for his career in both acting and music, Watsky unfortunately slips under the radar of a lot of listeners out there. Some even claim that listening to his voice is like nails on a chalkboard (rude). But hey, everybody has their opinion.
Let’s crack open this album and take a look inside.
“Tiny Glowing Screens, Pt. 3”
The album starts off with the intense and fast-paced vibe of this semi-inspirational song. From the get-go, you hear the bustling and movement of a city, slowly building up until the song’s epilogue, which features a strange, almost riddle-like dialogue. The rest of the song is surprisingly uplifting, with great quotes and bars around every turn, including the title drop:
“Take every everything ever and we are that. Times infinity.”
“Talking To Myself”
The second track takes a sharp U-turn from the vibe the first song established. The opening piano riff is a definite chill-giver and the backup instruments are sad-sounding strings. Generally, the theme to begin with is about the randomness and craziness of life, Watsky compares it to a race “that you didn’t understand, but when you heard the pistol pop you ran.” That’s a pretty decent visual, if you ask me. Regardless, the rest of the song is very emotional and deals with the loneliness we all sometimes feel, and how sometimes we just wind up talking to ourselves instead of those around us.
“Have you felt a little off today? Had a lot to say but wound up talking to yourself?”
A song like this is on every rap album ever. Not to say it’s a cliché—but it’s a bit of a cliché. It’s a song about taking “illegal substances” (let’s keep it PG), the lens it puts over life, and partly how it’s a constant struggle to shake its addiction. Oddly, though, it has a fast paced beat and happy-go-lucky tone to it, which makes you feel like you’re “tripping” while listening to the song. Odd, but definitely effective.
“Chemical angel, comfort I crave. Don’t come around no more. I’m already saved…”
My personal favorite, and one of the best songs off the album. This is the type of song you blast while driving down Main Street, shades on, on top of the world. It has a smooth, chill, head-bobbing beat while Watsky drops bars about partying all night long and enjoying the little yet extravagant things in life. If you’re not a fan of listening to entire albums I recommend this song most out of all of them. It has a great message, beat, and vocals.
“I’m a groupie to the good life, looking for a taste of paradise. I don’t need the whole pie, I just wanna have my little slice…”
Watsky is known for his odd beats and experimental rapping, and “Yes Britannia” is definitely a good example of this. It has an almost chilling opening beat that sounds almost like a reversed music box, followed by mostly percussion and string instruments. This certainly is a song that makes you think when you listen. At first, it seems like he could be singing about breaking up with a true love or leaving someone behind, but of course it can be interpreted in more ways than just one. Overall though, the song itself is very well comprised and is one of the more emotional songs on the album.
“Yes Britannia, loves a jester, and what a fool I’ve been…”
If you’re looking for an intense and deep song, then you’ve come to the right track. Right from the first verse, the beat is low and bass-filled, with Watsky rapping at 5,000 words a minute about what it feels like to rap and be him. There’s a lot of great rhythm and rhyme, but “Love Letters” is not a typical rap song. It has an oddly catchy but off-putting backbeat, as well as a chorus that completely changes the tempo of the song. But that doesn’t mean the song isn’t a good one. It just means if you don’t like it, then you have a decently valid reason not to.
“So if you’re blocking the future I wanna walk toward. Suit yourself, we’re gonna lock swords.”
“Stick To Your Guns”
Remember that controversial song “Pumped Up Kicks,” by Foster The People? Well, you just stumbled upon its unofficial sequel. “Stick To Your Guns” is a very stripped-down and daring song on this album, and it focuses solely on how our world today deals with the horrible and all-too-common issue of school shootings. It’s a very real and targeted song that I believe should be an eye opener to those out there who take advantage of these grave situations. And to be fair, it takes guts to make a song like this. If you read any news articles about “Pumped Up Kicks,” most of them are very harsh and shame it for talking about a topic so sensitively. But really, I think these are the kinds of songs we need more of – ones that go against the grain of what we’re told is music worthy and speaking the truth about the world we live in. But I digress. If you want a song that gets you thinking, and maybe fills you with just a little angst, “Stick To Your Guns” is the song I prescribe.
“You’ve got your finger on the trigger kid, cmon. Line it up, line it up, line it up and hit me with the truth.”
“Brave New World”
If you wanna hear the quintessence of Watsky, “Brave New World” has such a quirky vibe you’ll want to check your phone and make sure it didn’t switch to playing Weird Al. It’s difficult to explain this one, so I’m leaving it up to you to interpret it yourself.
“Easy, with a ballot, we can put a reality TV personality in DC.”
This is one of those comedy rap songs that are just as catchy as they are absurd, and if you have a strong bass speaker, crank it up all the way for full effect. But if you don’t have a strong stomach and/or are easily offended, this is a song to skip over. “Going Down” is a song that at first listen you would bob your head to without thinking, but upon second listen would rewind the song asking yourself “did he really just say that . . .?”
Don’t be fooled by the song’s opening verses. It’s not a softy. “Midnight Heart” is a very punky and head-bang-worthy tune that impressively still manages to add very deep lyrics in between heavy bass and electric guitar riffs. This song is for those true troupers who stuck around long enough with this album to hear this song. Not a standout, but still a good angsty jam.
“I can’t bend over for someone I don’t respect.”
Tapping into an artist’s mind and being able to relate through music is a beautiful thing, and the real situations and thoughts Watsky shares in this song are something I’m sure many people have gone through. “Conversations” is about talking with a loved one – in this case, his father. They’re talking about setting affairs in order for when he becomes too old to be able to take care of himself, and the struggle with financial issues as well as having to send someone you love away for the rest of their days. It is an emotional and passionate song about sacrifice and recalling all the things someone has done for you and what you can do to repay them. It’s a gem hidden deep in the album, but if you’re lucky enough to find it, it will move you.
“But these days are flying past us and nobody seems to care. It’s like we’re sprinting towards a brick wall we’re pretending isn’t there.”
“Knots” starts right off the ending piano riff from “Conversations” and taps into Watsky’s spoken-word talents. It is an operatic recital with an orchestra and piano to convey emotions through the highs and lows of the song. I would say Watsky is a very adroit story-teller, especially at portraying mental images and scenes through his music. “Knots” isn’t like any other song on the album and stands alone as its own beautifully unique, Frankensteinesque masterpiece. And that’s pretty cool.
“To love and to be so naïve. To trust and to be so deceived. To mourn, forlorn, to be torn from you.”
Following suit, “Roses” picks up right off of the ending piano riff from “Knots.” It’s very unsettling and acts almost as the grand finale for the last three songs. There’s not much to it other than its long drawn out “Rubber Soul” style and the ending, which is really more or less a recap of the piano riffs mixed in with all the other instruments playing at once in a chaotic and eerie conclusion.
“If you don’t see me around it doesn’t mean that I fell. Yeah I’m doing well.”
The final conclusion to this long and interesting album is . . . not a complete song? Yeah. I guess somebody accidentally hit the “white noise” button mid-recording, because in the middle of a verse it cuts to nothing but the sounds of a bustling city, which concludes what “Tiny Glowing Screens P.3” started at the beginning of the album. But, for what we have of a song, it’s nothing too standout and I think that’s interesting. Maybe he plans to pick up the rest of the song in a future release? The world may never know!
“You’ll never know how much you provided. And I’m gonna try to do the same for my ki-…”
Overall, I think this album has a lot to offer for many listeners and is definitely worth the full listen. I also would encourage you to listen to more of Watsky’s work, because he is a very talented but sadly under-appreciated artist. Other than that, thank you for reading, and if you have any feedback or opinions, I would be glad to hear them.