Live: A Bland Bryson Tiller Sleepwalks at The Ritz | Music
Music
INDY Week's music blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Live: A Bland Bryson Tiller Sleepwalks at The Ritz

Posted by on Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 6:25 PM

click to enlarge aaa9793f-57bb-42a2-8bc8-003a70b4e011.jpg
Bryson Tiller
The Ritz, Raleigh
Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016


In a post-Drake world—where hip, emotionally vulnerable music has returned to the Top 40—we’ve seen the zeitgeist turn toward an archetype: the masculine, sensitive R&B star. I can’t imagine anyone following pop music somehow avoiding this trend; it sometimes seems to be the moment's de facto soundtrack. Artists and labels alike have realized they can pair emotions (genuine or not) with that addictive chopped-and-screwed R&B sound that Drake and The Weeknd popularized and just enough sex appeal and rap bona fides to work in traditional hip-hop and pop lanes.

Following the breadcrumb trail of weirdo greats like Jeremih and co-sign kings like Partynextdoor and Post Malone, Bryson Tiller seems to be the moment's big upstart. Thanks to approval from Drake and blog buzz, the guy has had a stratospheric come-up. At last glance, his recent hit “Don’t” was sitting at a cool sixty three million views. But Tiller’s music is a fuzzy Xerox of nearly everything his precursors have done better. His songs hit the same logical endpoint that cloud rap did a few years ago—bland weed-smoking stuff that’s inoffensive and easy to market to trend-loving Tumblr kids.

Tiller’s live set Tuesday night at The Ritz was heavy on fog and colored lights, obscuring him in an amniotic haze. Things got somnambulant after a while, especially since Tiller isn’t a dynamic performer. As the night wore on, I started to realize my issue with him isn’t his sleepwalking stage presence, or his production, which sounds like serviceable Noah Shebib worship.

It’s his lyrics, which represent a certain kind of pseudo-intellectual person who thinks he's smarter than he is. His lyrical content is so surface-level and focus-grouped, readymade to woo someone’s ex or subtweet your own. I could level this complaint with Jeremih or Drake, sure, but they keep things consistently interesting instead of constantly resorting to half-baked Instagram captions like “looking for a bad bitch/I finally found a culprit." It says a lot that there’s a popular Bryson Tiller parody Twitter account that tweets out skinless “deep” thoughts to the tune of more than a million followers.

To his credit, Tiller has some of the most devoted teenage fans I’ve ever seen. For a guy with such a small discography, they don’t just love him, they love him. He didn’t sell his lyrics with charisma, but it didn’t matter—the crowd, offline and momentarily IRL, carried every word for him.

Tags: , , ,

Pin It

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Music



Twitter Activity

Comments

Revive is my people. If folks were offended by this, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Revive Music was …

by Matthew Allen on Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree (Music)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Revive is my people. If folks were offended by this, I can assure you it wasn't intentional. Revive Music was …

by Matthew Allen on Art of Cool Festival, Night One: Revive Big Band's Music-History Concert Leaves Out Women to an Absurd Degree (Music)

Small crowds like the one in Utrecht The Netherlands where I was with my 7 year young daughter may be …

by George Hendriks on The blues of Randall Bramblett's career-long cult status—and the promise of his new Devil Music (Music)

Wow! I am speechless. Skylar that was amazing! You are very talented. I love your vocal range and passion. Thank …

by Rita Romaine Rakestraw on Video Premiere: Phil Cook and Skylar Gudasz Nod to Alice Gerrard in New Tribute Clips (Music)

Also the "correction" (UPDATE) above is incorrect. The original anticipated release date of the new Bowerbirds album was September 2014. …

by Beth Tacular on Tuskha, the new project of Bowerbirds' Phil Moore, releases new video for "The Program" (Music)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation