Kind of a bummer she didn't have complete control over the tracklist, and there might be a few songs that she dislikes on it, but hopefully she gets a full representation of what she wanted with the deluxe.
The quality across the board for a 23 track album here is unbelievable. It’s sprawling yet somehow coherent, and does not grow tiresome at any point across the 68 minute runtime.
It’s still going to take further time for me to digest the lyrical subject matter, but I really do feel this is a worthy follow-up. I’d describe it as more of a mood-board than Ctrl, on which almost every song is a heavyweight. It’s perhaps more contemporary and less experimental than Ctrl, but I don’t see that as a problem for her given the point she’s at in her career.
Kill Bill is already legendary, and Shirt, I Hate U and Good Days have of course already rightfully smashed and become diamonds in her repertoire.
Elsewhere, the run from Blind to Smoking on my Ex Pack is for me absolutely bulletproof. I also adore her trying a new sound on F2F. The first half is my favoured currently, but I don’t necessarily mind her leaning into the acoustic tenderness she explored on 20 Something in tracks like Nobody Gets Me, Special and Open Arms.
I'm really into this album now. It took me a few full plays through but I got there.
01. Nobody Gets Me
03. Kill Bill
05. I Hate U
06. Gone Girl
07. Smoking On My Ex Pack
08. Ghost in the Machine
12. Good Days
It's all really good though. Her lyricism is excellent and she sells all the variations in style so effortlessly. Ctrl was never a front-to-back listen for me and while I don't think there's a song quite as great as Prom or The Weekend here, on balance it's a big upgrade.