“You so fucking precious when you smile,” sings Bazzi on the opening lines of his breakthrough single “Mine” which was released in October of 2017. The song rose to prominence in early 2018 after being featured in a Snapchat filter as well as on a recent playlist curated by Taylor Swift. The song has been streamed millions of times and has peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Largely due to “Mine” and an endorsement from Apple Music granting him heavy promotion, the 20-year-old Michigan native Bazzi’s debut studio album COSMIC had become one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2018. And its arrival has not been a let down. Bazzi has since been inducted into Apple Music’s most recent “Up Next” class.
Although simplistic in musical style, the direction of the album feels very intentional and strikes deep with a youthful audience. While most songs focus on fairly cliche topics such as sex, drugs, rock and roll and love, Bazzi finds new and interesting ways to portray his experiences.
“People are so alone. I know how I feel and even right now, I hate feeling like I have nobody to connect to, nobody that feels the same way I do,” Bazzi told Rap-Up. “It’s a super dark feeling. I know most people feel like that. We live in an age where vulnerability is wack and corny to say how we actually feel, and we build huge walls for our emotions, and that’s why everybody is so sad. I want to be the guy who says, ‘It’s okay to love somebody, hate somebody, feel alone, or feel sad. Come listen to me and relate those emotions to what I’m saying.’ I’m just here to inspire.”
Sonically, the album is full of ambiance and is as atmospheric as its title suggests. Bazzi’s dreamy guitar tone mixes well with the beats he co-produced with duo Rice N’ Peas, who also received production credit on G-Eazy’s sophomore album When It’s Dark Out.
Further, Bazzi opts to keep most songs on under three minutes, forcing listeners to hear every word he says as he allows no space for loss of attention.
It is clear that the two-plus years that Bazzi kept this album in the production stage paid off, as every transition is seamless and every song crisp and clear.
While “Mine” is undoubtedly the song of this album that resonates most with listeners, Bazzi does a good job of distributing focus towards his other tracks as to not trap himself in a corner where concert goers only recognize the viral hit.
“Beautiful,” the track preceding “Mine,” channels Bazzi’s inner Frank Ocean as he raps with a melodic flow and is arguably the best song on the album. Tracks such as “Dreams,” “Myself” and “3:15” are future concert staples that are sure to send crowds into euphoric states.
Bazzi stressed the importance of his internal emotions being reflected in his sound in a recent interview with Billboard: “I’m still dealing with a lot of the things my fans are going through, like feeling alone, feeling anxiety,” he admits. “There’s moments I go through day to day because I’m human. I think the diversity in my music is going to help people relate to that.” Bazzi’s maturity displayed on COSMIC makes him unlike any other artist releasing music today; his love for simplicity proves this. Bazzi is able to combine older styles and chord progressions made popular by his idols Prince and Michael Jackson with styles of today. His release fits the musical scene of 2018 perfectly and clashes beautifully The Weeknd’s dark release My Dear Melancholy,. Watch out for Bazzi on Camila Cabello’s Never Be The Same Tour and in his future endeavors with Apple Music.
Peter Buonanno is a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at [email protected].