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Last friday, Benjamin Gerard Coyle-Larner aka Loyle Carner dropped his second studio album "Not Waving, But Drowning". The british rapper's latest project includes collaborations with Tom Misch, Jorja Smith, Sampha and more. I have been listening to the whole album since its release and I was planning to delay the review for this one because I wanted to take my time and wait for the track and the album to take shape in my head and find itself slowly, but I could not stop myself from talking about it, so here we go. 

Although he has blessed us with another great album after two years of silence, "Not Waving, But Drowning" has been criticized by lack of intensity which I do not really agree. The artist gave us a sound full of taste and freshness in his first album, "Yesterday's Gone". However, he kept all the primary elements that makes us love his music in new album too. Jazzy samples, his freestyles, the powerful lyricism etc. The only noticeable difference with respect to the intensity is that the new album is a bit more lively, yet sad but a little less depressed. I think we were all expecting some kind of higher version, like "Yesterday's Gone 2.0". Obviously, it's ridiculous. We always say that we want to see the change and progress, yet we cannot help ourselves but desire to keep the old one forever. All we want is making memories last forever. I assume, Loyle has been there too. He still seems to be in the constant hesitation between holding tight and letting go. He still seems to be looking back to his rights and wrongs. 

"I had to do a lot of work on myself, I asked myself questions: Some were scary, some were cool." he told Apple Music.

Loyle Carner presents us time as a sort of vanishing point, the fleeting instant of the present which is in some sense real whereas what is past and what lies in the future are illusory. Death marks bridges and his world is full of bridges between now and then. Carluccio is about Antonio Carluccio, a famous Italian chef and one of Carner's heroes who passed away in 2017. The death of Carluccio is one of his milestones in life, he means so much more than just a chef for him. He represents so many other things.

"...I was looking everywhere and found myself watching gangster films like “The Godfather”. They had these Italian guys with good family values but they also knew how to be the man of the house. He ticked all the boxes for me: being a chef and Italian but without the blood and guts. He gave me the philosophy I needed as a grown man trying to find a place in the world. On the day he died, I had an argument with my missus. Just a small one, but I was like, “Yo, I can’t lose you the same day that I’ve lost Carluccio or I’ll be fucked.”

Carluccio starts with:

"Don't leave, please. 
I reckon that you're everything I need..."

Ends with:

"...The way we lost Carluccio
On the day we lost Carluccio..." 

In Dear Jean, the first track of the album, the 24 year-old rapper gives a shout out to his mom:

"Dear Jean
I hope this doesn't come as a surprise
But I've fallen for a woman from the skies
And she be truer than the lies
Truer than the prize
And you can see it when you look into her eyes
Deep blue like the flicker of the flame 'fore it dies..."

In Dear Ben, the last track of the album, Loyle's mom answers:

"...I watched you grow 
From first kick
to first kiss
Shoulder rides to sleepless nights
Felt tip crows to scoring goals, and bedtime Katamino
Watched you hold your own from boy to man
As you stand firm, bare and bold, not afraid to walk alone
Reveal your pain. Unique. Defiant. Uncompromising..."

Well indeed, Loyle Carner has come a long long way from his first mixtape "A Little Late EP" to "Not Waving, But Drowning". It has been a pleasure to get to know him, see the progress and hear his story. Now, we really are watching him growing up. I have never felt like I really knew him before. I am extremely impressed by this whole album, each tracks, this structure, these words. I cannot even describe the way he builds his own world. He makes me think like he invented a genre, a philosophy, a culture we have never heard about. 

So please, hear it, now. 


[Verse 1 - Loyle Carner]

Don't leave
I reckon that you're everything I need
Uh, i know I'm getting grumpy in the week
Sleeping in each others pockets living up each others sleeves
Its the greed
I know you hate that money plants the seed
I hate the thought you don't believe
Me, Reckon that I couldn't take the lead just become another one who milks the sun until it bleeds
Yo I think about my best days
With you at home marking essays
Pouring glasses of sparkling presse
We raise a toast then another toast
Making a roast thinking I can hold you close when the best strays

[Chorus - Loyle Carner]

But it if lost I wonder who's to know
I pay the cost of all this to and fro
It's like a frostbite blue with snow
The day we lost Carluccio


"And erm, it's been a struggle sometimes"

[Verse 2 - Loyle Carner]

Uh, the thought makes me cry and i'm embarrassed
Thinking bout the nights out in Paris, evening
Swimming in the deep end
Wishing I was savage
Saying she ain't believing in marriage but times change
Now its all a house out in italy
Ceremony Sicily
The dreams so bitter sweet
Uh, cus when I close my eyes all I see is she
Shit, I'm hoping she can picture me
Or maybe picture kids with a Frisbee
'keeping em with me
I think it's risky
I reckon that she missed me
We got together like the Nike airs and crisp tees

[Chorus - Loyle Carner]

But it we don't I wonder who's to know
I pay the cost of all this to and fro
It's like a frostbite blue with snow
The way we lost Carluccio
Uh, uh the way we lost Carluccio
I said
The way way we lost Carluccio
Way we lost Carluccio
On,the day we lost Carluccio

[Outro - Loyle Carner]

You'll never be the worst to the first
Or better than the last
The less we asked to start our own little past (?)
I ain't thinking that fast
I said, I ain't thinking that fast
Cus when the honey moon (?) blast and the day lights passed we raise glass to the past sitting back on arse
And we laugh yeah
And we love

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About The Curator - Mert Turan

Mert Turan - Music to Curator

I was born on the day "Evil Empire" album by Rage Against the Machine was released and I brought those lucky bastards 3 Grammy nominations. I live in Ankara, Turkey and study Philosophy at Middle East Technical University. I have worked professionally in the music industry for more than 4 years, specializing in studio recording, sound editing and mixing. I previously worked for musicto both as an intern and a curator. During my internship with musicto I gained valuable experience on the music business, social media and community management. I love being a part of this community.