Every week we tell you about an album we think you need to spend time with. This week’s album is the debut from Dallas’ Liv.e, Couldn’t Wait to Tell You…
How often can one pinpoint the moment they’re bearing witness to something special? It’s a feeling rendered rather difficult to shake in the presence of what the Dallas-bred artist Liv.e accomplished with her debut album Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… Built from a patchwork of the sounds that make the new underground tick, the 20-song odyssey traverses space and time in a manner that’s familiar, yet original. As the genreless attitude seizes the day, it’s easy for one to be caught in the aesthetics; Liv.e carries a transcendental sauce all her own, but refuses to spiral out into the depths of her whims. Yet, whims power much of the lingering narratives: romance, power, self-fulfillment, and growth move Liv.e through all things soulful and glitchy, lending a dreamlike quality that grants her the space to coast, and the listener the space to be lost.
While the broader themes are easy to glean, there’s such a comfort, should a listener decide to surrender themselves. Liv.e is an artist dealing in feelings, but she never plays with their power. The fourth wall proves flimsy through her admission of how even the prettiest words will never replace that feeling of that feeling. It’s what makes Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… an enchanting yet elusive foray into Liv.e’s enigma as she dialogues with self, with loved ones, with the world. Should any prove unforgiving, there’s clarity to be found; each record functions as a note-to-self, or a funhouse mirror into the ego, or a simple reflection of the soul. There’s urgency in the slow ride, best supported by Liv.e granting herself space in the forefront, no longer tethered by her supporting casts or shrouded in effects. She’s an impressive vocalist with a formidable vision, weaving through sounds and signatures to offer herself on a cellular level to whomever’s deemed deserving in the moment. Today, a new crush. Tomorrow, the person she once was.
A romantic album through and through, Couldn’t Wait to Tell You… is the soundtrack to a crate digger’s dream, leaning on history to push the Black Love canon forward. It’s giving Brown Sugar, but audible and several joints in. It’s long, hazy, and often daunting in its own unpredictability, but Liv.e never folds into boredom even when she obscures the answers. She’s welcoming, reminding us that sometimes, it’s enough to marvel at the code: how it’s chiseled, and what it manages to capture. This debut’s an exercise in itself, it’s inventive nature proving most rewarding to the attentive ear. She curates the depth, and we’re expected to bring ourselves to the offering. With this first big step towards the future, it’s likely Liv.e will be grasping for our heartstrings for a long stretch of this eternity.
Michael Penn II (aka CRASHprez) is a rapper and a former VMP staff writer. He's known for his Twitter fingers.