Allan Kingdom’s Album ‘LINES’ Truly Oscillates
Canadian rap that actually sounds like the Northern Lights
The new Allan Kingdom album LINES could just as easily been called VIBES. There’s a strong sense of mood and direction throughout most of the LP, which dropped today. Overall, it’s a feeling of momentum and ambition, full of the effort it takes to get up to speed and then basking in the moment, coasting on that wave.
It jumps off with “Perfection,” which sets the pace like a starting gun, with Kingdom ready to tackle any challenge, full of confidence. “I said I’m aiming for perfection with a beam, with a scope/ I need some protection from my hope,” he raps over a fluid beat with some wavy synths. He follows that up with “Don’t Push Me,” digging his heels in further against the pressure. Despite the effort, Kingdom rarely lets the stress get to him and his mind drifts comfortably once his challenges are squashed
The production is full of synths that the Northern Lights might sound like if they made noise. You definitely get the feeling that dude is Canadian after a few tracks, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Glowing, undulating pads come to the forefront when Kingdom starts relaxing on cuts like “Vibes” (at least a track got the name!) and recalls the hotel party life on “Lines” with Ramriddlz. Even on “Vibes,” though, Kingdom’s not chilling with fake friends, rappping, “I see a couple of folks who’s cool as fuck on the low/ And will not put on a show for you/ I took a couple of L’s so I just light up an L/ And you can tell that it’s overdue.”
After a few tracks that wander from the album’s linear vision, he’s back on track with the wind in his face and the top down on “The Fusion,” basking in some self-fulfillment alongside Denzel Curry. Then on “Fuck My Enemies” he flicks their memories out the window like a cigarette butt, the dim cherry glow disappearing quickly from the rearview.
Towards the end, LINES changes gears again. While there are lots of tracks about pulling buns and lyrics like “I just need some room in my room, making room in her throat,” in the moment they’re just sex jokes. Whatever. It’s rap. But on “Astounded,” he’s full of angst towards all females, which feels out of character. Then there’s the sonic departure with the wild prominent electric guitar on “Leaders” and the rock rap of “Loners.”
But that last track, despite its production, settles on a note that success doesn’t depend on other people. It’s acceptance, if not entirely pleasant. As he rhymes, “When it get real, feeling myself, feeling myself/ I been in my bag, feeling your hell/ It’s feeling all sad, really inhale/ I been in my bag.”