Just two years ago Lil Peep was jarring to new ears. It may have sounded like he wouldn’t work, that it was too much of a cultural collision that people wouldn’t accept it. You’d be forgiven if you though his sound was never going to break free of harsh nu-metal comparisons, let alone be taken deeply seriously be fans, artists and critics alike. Now, the fusing of emo and hip-hop is a consistent formula for the Top 40, and questions of race, age or artistic background grow less and less relevant by the month. Our ears are open, and it’s a tragedy Lil Peep passed before he could see the fruition of his influence.
Like all posthumous releases, death looms large on “Come Over When You’re Sober, Pt.2” – a record pieced together by tracks salvaged from Peep’s hard drive after the 21-year-old’s accidental overdose last year. But instead of lurking in the album’s subtext, death is pushed in our face, and is addressed on every other line. When Peep isn’t singing about drugs or sex, he’s singing about self harm and suicide.
This obviously makes for pretty bleak listening, which Peep’s adolescent fans are accustomed to. It’s likely a big part of what excites them; it’s a place to revel in depression, angst and jealousy. But if you’re not suffering from some form of puberty blues, don’t walk away just yet, there’s something for you here. Lil Peep is genuine, immensely committed to this angst, and this album is, at the very least, worth a listen to hear what constitutes as a cult record. If this isn’t your scene, then it might be a chore to sit through without breaks, and the relentless pessimism is probably a strain or more people than not. If you really can’t stomach it, at least you’ll no immediately. If you’re not drawn in by the gloom of opener “Broken Smile”, probably the most objectively interesting track on the album, then the only thing keeping you hooked would be a morbid fascination of a doomed artists departing legacy.
While the concept of Lil Peep is progressive, his instrumentation is nostalgic, and almost every song is built around guitars straight out of early 00s rock, grunge or pop rock. These are typically layered over trap beats, while Peep explores his greatest strength: emo choruses. Here they’re catchy enough the bands of my adolescence would’ve died for them. Take away the 808s and hi-hats from songs like “IDGAF”, “Cry Alone” and “16 Lines” and you’ve basically got Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song” but on double the Xanax. The whole thing is purely indulging the teenage angst in all of us, and there will always be a place or it in our culture. Lyrics like “I hate everybody in my hometown, I wanna burn my high school into the ground” (“Cry Alone”) would suit any era of music since, at least, Nirvana.
Peep’s early work had the natural crunch of Soundcloud compression. The earnest lo-fi production was raw and endearing, so it might shock some fans to hear the polished production on this record. His voice is pushed to the forefront, and there’s barely a trace of autotune or ad-lib, tools used by almost everyone else that approaches the label of ‘emo-rap’, probably because he has the vocal talent those after him lack, or even need. Instead of autotune he opts for rock reverb and heavy vocal layering, leaving every line drenched in mopey self harmony.
Outside of that, what more is there to say or discuss about this album? Lil Peep is provoking some very common feelings, which are heightened in the listener by his tragic death, and he’s doing it in a very simple way. The songs are catchy and repetitive, each a couple of verses and a couple of chorus, one or two of which are catchy enough they will be used as singles (“Sex with my Ex” and “Life is Beautiful” could be cult, or pop, hits). Predictably, the posthumously cobbled together bonus track “Falling Down” seems out of place and unnecessary, and is the only real departure from the depressing minor key. If the world is getting you down enough already, you don’t need this in your life. If you’re in the mood to wallow in lyrics like “I survived suicide last night” (“Leanin’”) and “wonder who you’ll fuck when I die” (“16 lines”) this a fascinating album whose influence may be felt across a generation of songwriters. RIP.