blackbear uses the influence of the internet once again
Currently, people are living in a time where a lot of the slang and pop culture references derive from memes and viral videos. Apps like Twitter, Vine and Tik Tok have given people an abundance of phrases and memes that when given to any millennial or anyone from Gen Z, it would be recognizable. Not only are phrases given to them, but also sounds. These apps have been able to use music to gain many artists popularity. By songs being boosted, it has become apparent what sounds are able to gain traction to create these videos and phrases. blackbear uses this to his advantage and creates, everything means nothing, an album that sounds straight off of Tik Tok.
blackbear first came onto the music scene in 2008 with his EP, Brightness. Yet that was under his government name, Matthew Tyler Musto. He adopted the name blackbear in 2011 and his debut EP, Foreplay, was released a year later. Since then he’s released five studio albums, gained writing credits on numerous songs and even signed a 10-million-dollar distribution deal with Interscope. In his latest album, everything means nothing, blackbear explores love and happiness in the digital age. It seems as a continuing theme to his mixtape, Cybersex. In an interview with Pigeons & Planes, he says, “I’m so intrigued by the internet. It might be the death of humanity, but so far it’s made me a lot of money and cause a lot of happiness for me.” everything means nothing bounces right off this theme as the two-part LP delivers summer pop production over pop culture phrases.
The album’s opening track, “hot girl bummer,” is a play on Megan Thee Stallion’s hashtag-turned-song featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign. The satire record made waves on Tik Tok for it’s upbeat pop/hip-hop production and opening lines, “Fuck you, and you, and you/ I hate your friends and they hate me too.” The energy of the production stays into the third track, “queen of broken hearts” where blackbear now focuses on how social media affects people. Rather than singing about a partner, he’s more focused on the FOMO people receive when on social media and see everyone living a life they would want at that moment.
The next three tracks, “i feel bad,” “i feel 2 much” and “i felt that” were written in the same week. The first one is centered around his medical condition, necrotizing chronic pancreatitis. In the album’s Editors’ Notes, he describes the pain of having to go through surgery every two months. “I feel bad about feeling bad” he writes. The next track brings back the older more carefree blackbear songs. Here he explains how with the rollercoaster of emotions that comes with his condition; it gets to the point where he does not want to feel at all. The final of the trilogy, “i felt that,” is the wipe-your-tears-and-just-enjoy-yourself-despite-what-you’re-going-through track. Production-wise, the tracks have a more ballad feel with a focus on singing with a summer-time pop beat underneath.
The album continues with more pop infused hip-hop beats as blackbear flows over with lyrics on relationships and women in general. They all seem to have the perfect makings of the sound of a Tik Tok video or a viral video on Twitter. However, the closing song, “smile again” is an acoustic-centered ballad. It’s a contrast to the opener as he questions if he is good enough for the woman he lost. It seems as if blackbear takes the album full circle.
Overall, blackbear continues to express his love for the internet by partaking in sounds similar to those that are viral and by using trends to influence him. everything means nothing is a satisfying end to a summer of Tik Tok songs hitting the radio and pop culture references that will be everlasting.