Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Kevin Abstract has been on my radar ever since he released ‘Empty’ several months ago as a single. This proved to be just a taste of what would become his sophomore album entitled American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. With a title like that, his album promised plenty of his signature heartbreak and redemption ballads that we’ve come to expect. This sixteen track studio production is bold and heartfelt. Abstract does plenty of feeling on this latest release, and he’s certainly not apologizing for it. Our lucky break is that he seems to be able to put the difficulties of young love into comprehensible lyrics.
On American Boyfriend Kevin Abstract is channeling personal experiences into complex yet highly relatable lyrics, not only for our enjoyment but for our catharsis. One listen to a song like ‘Miserable America’ and your heart will go out to Kevin, and maybe you’ll even be able to relate to his perseverance and strength. Many of his songs revolve around his identity as a young, gay, black man. These themes are often at odds with experiences he has, and it is the pain and frustration, as well as his triumph, that become his music.
His flow is loose, self-assured, reflective and perceptive, his lyrics rapped eloquently and comfortably around lingering beats. His style reminds me at times of Vic Mensa, as there is so much emotion throughout his lines. I mentioned the track ‘Empty’ earlier. This is my favorite track off the album, as it is upbeat in sound and yet darker when you listen closer. It is this duality that attracts me to the song, as against a plinking piano instrumental background, Abstract raps, “I hate my yearbook photo, I hate my passport, I hate my last name, I hate my last name, I hate everything it stands for.” His lyrics are detailed and imaginative, imbued with the kind of realness that can only come from personal experience.
To hear just how perceptive Kevin Abstract can be when it comes to heartbreak, definitely check out ‘Miserable America’. But if you want a good feeling jam, ‘Seventeen’ will do just fine. Kevin Abstract is providing us with a soundtrack to love’s numerous pitfalls and triumphs with American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. Transferring effortlessly between serious rap chops and a melodious pop appeal, Abstract’s latest album is the answer to your post-Valentines woes and wins alike.