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KAYTRANADA Claims “TIMELESS” Music With Latest LP

With 'TIMELESS,' KAYTRANADA revisits a winning formula for much of the project—but is it enough to reach the heights of past LPs?
The album art for ‘TIMELESS,’ the 3rd album from KAYTRANADA.

As the dust settles on the house revival that overtook the airwaves a few years back (Drake’s Honestly, Nevermind and Beyonce’s RENAISSANCE showcasing how dominant the genre became), it’s easier to parse who the main benefactors and drivers of that evolution were. Montreal’s KAYTRANADA is chief among that group, apparently propositioned to join the cast for that Drake project and realizing much more with the biggest names in rap & R&B: Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, Pharrell and Snoop Dogg were just a few to step into his world in one way or another. His latest album makes a bold claim to eternal sounds in its title—but does it deliver? Here’s everything you need to know about the latest KAYTRANADA record, TIMELESS.

TIMELESS and KAYTRANADA Are Slow Out Of The Break

After “Pressure,” a record-scratching, sample-flipping instrumental jaunt, the album begins in earnest with “Spit It Out,” a tone-setter in many ways. Much of the Montreal producer’s biggest and best has come with the formula used on this track: energetic, emotional production under female R&B vocals (Syd on “YOU’RE THE ONE,” H.E.R. on “Intimidated,” Tinashe on “The Worst In Me,” the list goes on). In that way, this song is a success, plenty funky and tender at the same time. However, even if it’s an enjoyable ride, structurally, there are some issues that crop up later: a hook/bridge heavy composition and a lack of major progression in the instrumental foremost among them.

Though it’s always a fool’s errand to hope a new project delivers the exact same appeal as someone’s last, the repeat appearances on this album make it hard not to at least think of the artists’ previous rendezvouses. “Weird” is unfortunately one to the negative. Durand Bernarr centers around the question “why you wanna be weird?,” fully delving into the vibe killers and the hangers-on. While a funny concept, the song doesn’t commit in any real direction, amusing or not, and it ends up as an extended “ew, why are you here” for the full duration. Though the KAYTRANADA-rapped section at the end is a novel plot twist, there isn’t much of a reason to return.

Taken from @KAYTRANADA, posted in the lead-up to ‘TIMELESS.’

Before Childish Gambino and Pinkpantheress Close Out In Stellar Fashion

While harping on two songs in an hour-plus-long piece is probably nitpicky, the Achilles heel of this LP—its loose structure—crops up throughout the project and holds it back from typically meteoric heights. In the name of fairness, it also doesn’t mean TIMELESS is without its highlights. Mariah the Scientist, Pinkpantheress and Childish Gambino debut in the producer’s studio discography towards the back half of the record and deliver true standout tracks.

Pinkpantheress excels a bit outside of her comfort zone on “Snap My Finger,” holding onto her vulnerable singing style yet using it for sleek house rather than energetic hyperpop. Mariah the Scientist’s vocal talents precede her at this point, and it’s again the case for “Out Of Luck,” delivering a star performance and adding a buzzer-beater “best song of the album” contender at the very closing moments. Finally, given the new style Childish Gambino established with his ATAVISTA, the trancey, emotive mode “Witchy” captures finds him right at home, and if KAYTRANDA has a hit on TIMELESS, it’s this one.

The Final Verdict on KAYTRANADA’s Work With TIMELESS

TIMELESS delivers some choice career highlights for KAYTRANADA, be it via the new A-listers he nabs for the work displayed or ironing out an infectious groove or two with the same collaborators. But if anything, it’s by sheer quantity rather than laser focus the way that BUBBA or 99.9% did. Both those LPS contained moments where it seemed like KAYTRANADA was set for a legendary career in electronic music and beyond. Perhaps because of how hard an act that is to follow, the overwhelming sense when leaving TIMELESS is that there was a better version of this project somewhere in the process.

You can find TIMELESS and the full KAYTRANADA catalog wherever you get your music.

Elsewhere in our coverage, Charli XCX – Brat rose to the top of a stacked weekend of releases.

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