Track-by-Track Breakdown of the Toronto artist’s second project of the year.
Tory Lanez is back for a second time this year, this time bringing his R&B side to the table. Memories Don’t Die was released in March, and has gone as one of the better, but still unnoticed albums in a loaded 2018. With Love Me Now, the Toronto native figures to catapult himself back into the discussion of rising talents in the industry.
Track 1 – Why Don’t You Love Me?
Are we really doing this!? From the start? A 90’s sample creeps in, whistling-in-the-wind and awakening the inner Weeknd fan in me. Reminds me a lot of Cold Hard Love on Tory’s debut album. C Sick tag, that dude is as reliable as they come for a nice instrumental. Tory chooses the mid-level voice and comes in flowing, with a mellow but energetic approach at the same time. That pause and re-drop was everything I didn’t know I needed so bad. Stop the album, it’s not going to get better than that right there. Tory switches voices and gives a glistening hook over some nice hi-hats provided by Mr. Sick. This track is wonderful. Tory is assaulting me with his vocals, taking brief pauses between 4-bars to let me process what’s being thrown my way. Second verse is just as good as the first, and the song rounds up beautifully as the sample slowly disappears.
Track 2 – She Told Me
Cash Money AP? Awesome. I love how much the dude has exploded in the last year from just being YouTube producer. Another sample, but this time it sounds like it’s drowning – or more, bathing in slick water. It’s a hard sound to describe, but it’s something everyone should experience. Tory chose the right voice for this track, too. He’s utilizing the deep tones in his voice while still hitting high notes. These Toronto rappers are a different breed. The hook is perfect. No complaining on my part so far. There’s a deep, pitched down horn that comes in to act as the bass, and it complements the sample like pepperoni on pizza. The second verse just has me thinking about how much I want to hear the hook again – not a bad thing. The hook comes in to please me again and the tracks rides out. Solid start to the album.
Track 3 – Duck My Ex (feat. Chris Brown & 2 Chainz)
Alright, we have the first appearance of teenage-voiced Tory on this album. The beat is pretty simple, but it’s working for what it needs to do. Tory’s voice is annoyingly catchy – it’s something that shouldn’t work but just does. Chris Breezy comes in for a short cameo, and gives a decent verse. I don’t feel like he was needed at all though. Nothing he did added to the track. Yeaaaaaahhhhhh – 2 Chaaainzzzzz. There’s a guaranteed good feature. Name a bad 2 Chainz feature since 2015 – you can’t. The way he shifts his voice from statement to question is classic Chainz. ‘My favorite rapper that I want to see… Is me,’ the day 2 Chainz makes me stop laughing is the day I know music isn’t for me anymore. Decent overall track highlighted by a great verse to close it. If it were just 2 Chainz and Tory I feel like it would’ve been better. Brown felt too much like a detour.
Track 4 – Drip Drip Drip (feat. Meek Mill)
Okay so you know the underwater feeling I described? It’s back – and just as good as the first time. I’ll never get sick of water effect they’re putting over the pianos and samples on these tracks. The hook is great, Tory delivers a quick, catchy flow. There’s nothing extravagant to it, it just gets the job done. Tory is murdering the verses, but I’m curious to see how Meek will perform on a beat like this. Another hook, and the Philly rapper arrives. He’s adopting Tory’s flow and doing work with it. The quick, punchy cadence is like a jab from Floyd Mayweather. Is Meek singing? And… I’m liking it? What is going on? This is something I never thought I’d ever hear. Welp, what more can you expect from a Tory Lanez/Meek Mill collaboration. They remain undefeated together.
Track 5 – Talk To Me (feat. Rich The Kid)
This track has been out for a while and it is a hit. Usually, I’ll skip a single on the album that’s been overplayed, but this one deserves another run. I don’t listen to it enough. It reminds me a lot of B.I.D. from Memories Don’t Die, like a 2.0 version of the track – and somehow that doesn’t bother me. The Go, Go, Go,break in the middle of the song is ridiculously infectious. I could listen to the airy vocals on a loop all day. Rich The Kid might not be the most talented rapper out, but he can’t help but put me in a good mood with this verse. His pauses and restarts in his flow work magic on my soul. He needs to do more tracks like this and Leave Me. He’s excellent on these R&B/Rap ‘tweeners. Tory rounds the track up with the hook one more time for good measure, and I’m as satisfied as when I heard this for the first time.
Track 6 – Flexible (feat. Chris Brown & Lil Baby)
Another Breezy feature and… Lil Baby? Okay. I love the Atlanta up-and-comer, but how in the world is he going to fit on this beat? It sounds like something played over a baby’s crib. Teenage Tory is back and doing an alright job. The hook is nice, but the verse is just passable. Chris Brown is back in, and this time he’s doing a way better job at not being forgettable, but again – he’s gone in the blink of an eye. He should’ve just given one good feature instead of two short decent ones. Lil Baby comes in with his version of the whiny Partynextdoor voice, and only gives eight bars. I’m not sure if it was good or bad. It was just kind of there. This track passes, but isn’t something I’ll come back to.
Track 7 – If It Ain’t Right (feat. A Boogie wit da Hoodie)
Ohhhhh here it is. This beat is fantastic. Tory comes in using my favorite voice of his. It fits. This is what I want. The hook is maybe the best on the album so far. It hits the high notes well and the verse is just as good. A Boogie, I like him but then again I don’t. His verse sounds like it was recorded in a different atmosphere than Tory’s. It’s… fine. Never mind, he just took Tory’s flow and ruined it. Congrats, you made a promising song into this. The hook comes back in to salvage my opinion, but the damage is done. I love about 65 percent of this track, but a lot of it feels like wasted potential.
Track 8 – Ferris Wheel (feat. Trippie Redd)
This is groovy! This beat is something way different. Trippie Redd – here’s the make or break moment for the song. Oh! He’s doing good, and he’s contained. This is by far the least annoying his voice has ever been. His flow is solid and I can’t help but snap along to his hook. TORY! He just came in and pushed this track overboard. This is a hit. I talk so much about his flow and voice, and he chose perfectly for this track. His voice control is amazing. He’s switching back and forth between tones, even whispering at one point, and then comes crashing back in with a perfect pitch. Trippie’s hook rounds out the track. It’s a hit. Tory murdered the beat and the song as a whole didn’t overstay its welcome. Best song on the album.
Track 9 – Cut Me Off (feat. NAV)
Dance With Me was a sleeper hit off Tory’s last album, let’s see what him and the robot can do this time. This beat is different. I can’t decide if I love it or hate it, and Tory’s voice is giving me vibes of somewhere in the middle. Okay, the drums backed out and a pitched key comes in, I can dig it now. NAV comes in abruptly, and gives a NAV verse. Not much more I can say about it. All jokes aside, I enjoy a good chunk of NAV’s songs, but this one just wasn’t meant for him. I feel so confused after this one. The album is starting to become random, where the first five tracks were tightly knit and kicked off well.
Track 10 – The Run Off
Okay this is something I’ve heard before. WAIT! Okayyyyyy this really isn’t. Wow, this beat is something- it sounds like it was made in a factory in the middle of the jungle. The drums sound like some sort congo-influenced instrument. Tory, by the way, you’re killing it with this voice. This is damn near perfect. ‘I feel free,’ me too. This is such a nice vibe, you can listen to this anytime you’re having a bad day and feel lifted, knowing that someone created such a smooth – but wild song. Nothing bad to say about this one – this right here, this is a keeper.
Track 11 – You Thought Wrong
Cash Money AP again! Good for him. This beat is really nice, it’s all over the place, but it makes for a nice overall sound. This is a pretty generic Tory verse so far, but lyrics don’t matter when you’re killing it with the vocals. I love how he keeps saying ‘You Thought…’ at the beginning of every bar, without saying ‘you thought wrong,’ extremely clever way of letting the title speak for itself. I love when titles to songs actually mean something beyond just the three words that are sung on the hook. There it is! The first Hennessy reference on the album! This might be the longest Tory has gone without mentioning his favorite drink. The second verse carries the rest of the track, and a nice little flow switch at the end adds a cherry on top of another nice track.
Track 12 – Miami (feat. Gunna)
This man Gunna… He’s having a competition with himself to see how many features he can land in a single year. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, he’s capitalizing off his success and catapulting his career, but the next album that doesn’t have a Gunna feature might not come in 2018. Of course, the beat has a guitar, you already know he’s going to ride the beat perfectly just by the intro. This Tory verse is fine, but nothing more. It’s one of the more lyrical pieces on the album, and is telling a classic rags-to-riches story. It’s nice, and keeps me listening, but beyond that, it isn’t much. Gunna will never have a bad flow. He just picked up the last half of this song – jeez! He just keeps going! This is great, actually one of the best of the many great Gunna verses this year! Tory’s hook sounds better coming off of that verse and carries more of an energy. I don’t love this song, but I think down the line and in the right setting I will. We’ll see – for now, it passes.
Track 13 – Keep In Touch (feat. Bryson Tiller)
We need more Bryson Tiller. R&B is shallow without the crooner from Louisville. The underwater effect… Man. It should’ve been on every song. It makes the beat glisten and have an extra weight to it. Bryson is just doing classic Bryson. Making my heart break with his voice and flow while making my mind move a million miles per minute with clever lyrics. Where’s the album? We need it. I’m saying we because I know it’s not just a me thing. 10/10 for that verse. Uh oh, a voicemail, you know what that means in an R&B song. Tory’s voice takes a second to get used to because of the huge contrast of Bryson’s, but it’s solid in its own way. The biggest problem with this track is that it shows while Tory is really good, Bryson is still a step ahead, and just makes me want to go back and listen through Trapsoul.
Track 14 – S.w.I.n.G. (feat. PnB Rock & Trey Songz)
Cash Money AP got a hell of an endorsement deal with this album. The beat is much different from the first two, and the hook just came in and it’s heavenly. This song is great. I know I’ll probably hate the PnB Rock feature, but Tory has done enough over this beat to make me love the track either way. Trey Songz, what more can I say? This is what Chris Brown should’ve done on the album, freaking amazing verse – wait, it isn’t done. Tory got his money’s worth out of Trigga Trey… And I’m right, I’m going to cut the song off every time after that second verse. PnB Rock kills me with his over-singing. It’s not that he has a bad voice, it’s that he tries to get too exotic with it when simple works more often than not. The hook comes back in and I forget about the mediocrity I just heard. Great track minus PnB.
Track 15 – KJM
The piano is so nice, is this the first beat on the album with an actual piano? I think so, but Tory has a great history of performing over pianos. Oh, that’s what’s wrong. I thought the track was fading, but the mixing is just off. Tory’s voice sounds drowned in the beat, and every time I turn the track up, the snares and hi-hats are deafening. This is a problem that will (hopefully) be fixed. The track sounds like it would be good, but is unlistenable at this point. Bittersweet note to end a pretty good album on.
BEST TRACK: Ferris Wheel (feat. Trippie Redd)
BEST FEATURE: Bryson Tiller on Keep In Touch
BEST QUALITIES: Almost every hook is redeemable, solid lyrically throughout, first five tracks tie-in nicely, almost every instrumental is excellent.
THINGS TO CHANGE: Random detours in album ruin flow in the track order, Chris Brown’s features both too short, PnB Rock makes S.W.I.N.G. overstay its welcome, album sounds like different versions of the same song.