By Leah Devorak | Editor-in-Chief
When one hears that an album is to be titled “Teenage Emotions,” the expectation is immediately one of two things:
1. A musical thrill ride featuring partying, drama, depression, elation, carelessness, heartbreak, insecurities and milestones all mixed up and muddled together to create a deep, thought-provoking package.
2. Empty and hollow immaturity.
Guess which one Lil Yachty’s debut studio album turned out to be? Yes, the second one.
In general, “Teenage Emotions” is not the worst thing ever made, but it certainly doesn’t live up to all the hype previously surrounding it.
This disappointment is definitely due to the immaturity of the artist, which is so apparent at some points that it jars the listener out of the album’s atmosphere, leaving behind a void that’s particularly hard to fill.
To be clear, though, calling Lil Yachty immature is not saying that he’s a careless or lazy artist; that would be false. The 19-year-old is actually a very developed musician (albeit still developing) who worked quite hard to make this album feel truly whole and cohesive. He also, for the most part, maintains his typical style of fun and upbeat tempos that break conventional rap styles — a rather daring move that takes a lot of gusto to pull off.
Rather, saying he’s immature here refers to nothing beyond its literal meaning. Lil Yachty is still a kid, which means that his thoughts on life aren’t necessarily the most profound ones out there yet.
This makes his bold attempt at discussing what it’s like to be so famous at such a young age fall short and fail to capture the true gravity of his feelings. What could have been a huge statement on life simply turns into a lot of talk about how he’s better than everyone else and also has a lot of sex — a mistake someone more experienced definitely would not have made.
This falter quickly becomes “Teenage Emotions’” biggest downfall, with the lyrics taking a potentially stellar album and stripping it of all feeling.
Some songs just talk about mundane things, like “Priorities,” an anthem about how the rapper would rather do what he wants than have his priorities straight, or “Peek A Boo,” a stereotypical rap about sex, drugs and guns. With subjects so elementary, songs like these on the album are just impossible for anyone over the age of 16 to get into.
Compounding this problem is that the lyrics of each song are so poorly thought out and written that they shouldn’t have even made it onto the album in the first place. With each track, their sloppiness takes away from the anticipation the rest of the song builds, turning otherwise catchy beats into nothing but Lil Yachty’s poor attempt at being Shakespeare’s couplet-firing reincarnate.
Take “Lady in Yellow” for example. It starts out with a soft, smooth intro of electronic saxophone that gives the song a sultry, ‘90s R&B vibe. Then, the chorus seamlessly slides right in, carrying on the tone already set and making the listener anxious for more.
But after telling the “little miss lady in the yellow” hello and dropping a clever metaphor asking her if she wants to “push petals through the meadow” with him, Lil Yachty ruins everything he just said by not only trying too hard for a rhyme in the next line but also getting way too blunt compared to before: “I just got a question, baby. Can I f*ck … on you?”
This lyrical trend plagues almost all of the 21 songs on the album. A few manage to escape the monotony, like “Running With A Ghost,” “Better,” and “Momma,” but they are so low in number that they don’t even begin to compensate for the lapses everywhere else.
In general, for someone who couldn’t care less about lyrics, “Teenage Emotions” is probably stellar. But for anyone who looks for something deeper than catchiness, the album will leave you strangely unsatisfied, wishing that Lil Yachty had done just a little more to perfect it.