Brent Faiyaz has lived a colorful life. A life that is full of pride and perseverance. A life that is full of shortcomings and shame. This Maryland born singer has produced plenty from nothing. From suffering from empty stomachs to being a prominent star on the rise, he sacrificed plenty to fulfill his aspirations. His debut album, Sonder Son, is an autobiographical soundscape that encapsulates Faiyaz’s humble beginnings as a man who has earned his right to succeed through struggle. Before reimagining the perils of his past, Brent Faiyaz was known for his compassionate love songs. Whether if he was singing for himself or his group, Sonder, he rarely spoke of his personal life.
Sonder Son is a definitive album executed with seemingly effortless beauty. His songwriting has reached a new peak by being able to make listeners see the world through his eyes. The story that is expressed throughout is nothing drastically unordinary, but Faiyaz’s skill for grasping interest with his outstanding voice does wonders for this project. The gorgeous simplicity of a man singing of his woes has been out of the picture with many other projects lately. None of this is for a show. None of it is overly flashy. Several of the songs consist of Faiyaz’s showcasing his talent over pretty guitar strings. The main component that colors this album is Faiyaz’s memories being verbalized with his passionate voice.
The first track, “Home,” is mostly a skit of his mother complaining about his grades. This scolding is somewhat traditional is many households. It’s an exemplary inference that Faiyaz concerns have been self-centered since a tender age. Of course, he was more concerned with dreams and girls as expressed in “Gang Over Luv.” He fluidly sings of life as a reckless youth, barely having enough finances to maintain his lifestyle. He and his friends found themselves consistently evading the issues that associate with being careless. This may take many listeners aback; reminding them of their reckless actions in their younger days. This relatability is infectious and draws listeners to what Faiyaz has to say.
“First World Problems/Nobody Carez” is an impeccable highlight. Many of us have experienced being broke with much to be thankful for. Brent Faiyaz explains how he copes with a tattered life by having an “at least I have this.” Complaints are seldom with him. He doesn’t care what people have to say about him. He knows he will receive what he truly desires. Life’s value depends on how much you appreciate. The speech that comes in between the songs further proves this. Outsiders can have little care for your life, so it’s best to best to invest in caring for yourself, or you’ll fall apart.
“Missing Out” adds another layer to the less desirable lifestyle. During this track, Faiyaz is telling a girl she is missing out on what little he has. He may even be speaking on his impending success. He gathers only a few reasons why a girl will come see him. It’s a shameless invite into his life. He hopes the woman can receive what she can out of it.
Sonder Son gets a glimmer of hope on “L.A.” It’s a gorgeous capture of the kind of perseverance that corresponds with entertainers in Los Angeles. Faiyaz is just happy to be able to chase his dreams in one of the most rewarding cities in the world. A chance is all a man like Faiyaz could as for. It’s by far the happiest song on the album; capturing that LA feels. It even ends with a jazzy sax outro.
Of course, relationships are involved. “Stay Down” involves the subject of loyalty. Faiyaz is willing to give all he has to a girl if she stays. “I’ll be more than the man for ya/I’ll be your friend, he croons.” “All I Want” features him confessing his own promise of commitment. “Can’t believe we’re here again / Lovers or friends / That all depends on you, shorty.” It seems there was a central theme with the songs concerning relationships. It appears that Faiyaz desires the same relationships with women as with music. To maintain connection.
Overall, Sonder Son is a sonically simplistic yet lyrically complex debut. This further signifies R&B’s reign over hip-hop this year. Faiyaz stuck with 90’s R&B inflections on this project. This shows that he isn’t very concerned with chasing radio hits even after the success of “Crew.” He shines alone to tell a story in the way he wanted and needed to.
Stream Sonder Son on Apple Music and Spotify.