Sometimes, music comes along where it feels as if the instruments are strumming away at an inner emotion, and where it feels that the kick and bass are beating the heart, and that the voice penetrates straight through the ears, through the mind and heart, and then send shivers through the entire body.
As much as we try to break down the elements of those songs, they escape us, because there is a more powerful and enveloping emotion that is at play, which lurks behind and beyond the intellect that tries to make sense of it.
This is the situation I’m faced with when approaching Thom Bullitt’s new album Roses.
I don’t want to write down some genre titles, because having it shelved like that in your brain would provide an incorrect context and would do the album no justice. However, common themes to literally any human being, whether living in the outback or in the heart of the urban rat race, conglomerate in Thom Bullitt’s lyrical outpourings: finding ways to deal with life’s problems, seeking motivation to keep moving forward in life, relationships gone bad, and dabbling in a bit of drink and drugs.
The album opens with a solemn and calm “Cutting Roses,” where a lightly distorted guitar establishes a introspective repetitive motif, with embellishing atmospheric tinkles, bends, and sweeps, setting the scene for an edgy kick and 808 and punches straight in the center. “Cutting Roses” bleeds the pain of detachment, alluding to the artist’s reflection on a broken relationship.
The second track, “Angels Cry,” ups the tempo, toning up an epic ballad with a passionate female hook. Bullitt displays his rapping prowess throughout the verses, opting for a tone where he excretes what is on his heart in a raw fashion.
“Back in the Saddle” is the album’s third track, pulling the tempo back, for a “boom boom bap” undertoned anthem instrumental track, with string build-ups to the hook capable of lifting your chest. Together with low piano drones sounding throughout, the lyrics suggest come back and associating with friends, already more aligned with a motivating voice to keep going, but also threaded with statements that suggest the opposite, for instance, in the hook, “I’m coming back from the fire, and I’m burning down.”
“Wasn’t Enough” is a blend of outback and urban, with a mellow acoustic guitar riffing throughout together with piercing 808s, and Thom Bullitt builds on the higher-tempo energy of the instrumental to pour out his feelings of regret, as if the same emotion relates to people in both scenarios.
The last three tracks of the album show “Town Car Muzik II” continues Thom Bullitt’s deluge of feelings through a cultivated rap style over a sentimental sound pallet that leads to explosive full-stringed hook sections. “Bad Motherfucker” is Thom Bullitt’s self-affirmation, doing what rappers have done since its beginnings—finding ways to boost himself up, and pumping the self-esteem. “MMF (Lit)” ends the album on a high note, arguably the album’s most optimistic track, where Thom Bullitt flows verses about how he lives his week between an unexpected male R&B hook that illuminates, and you could say, summarizes, the deeply emotional experience that one is left with after listening through the album.
About Thom Bullitt: Born April 1, 1994 in Houston, Texas, Thomas Rodney Oates, Thom Bullitt was raised not on Hip-Hop, but Rock & Roll, Blues, and Pop. He moved to Oklahoma in 2004 which is when he discovered and fell in love with Hip-Hop. He released his latest EP in September of 2019 titled Roses, which features a more Country Rock influence than his previous endeavors. During his career, he would become one half of the Oklahoma City based group Bacardi Gang, and still carries that mantle today along with his own lifestyle brand ILLNEZZ – accompanied by the catchphrase LIVIN IT. He plans on releasing his next EP, The Cooler King Vol.2, in 2020.
Stream Thom Bullitt Roses on Spotify: open.spotify.com/album/2QVNoMJ9NhM6GeneFhk1Er
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