MUSICSong of the Day

Song of the Week: Grief – Earl Sweatshirt

Earl Sweatshirt ends this new song with worry; you cannot buy your time or mind back when either are gone. He’s no longer the youngest and freshest talent around. He’s been at it long enough for the world to see that there has been time since his heavily sought after Doris came out. He’s been back from military school and in the public eye for enough time for us to almost forget that he was gone at all. He’s as famous as he should be, and he ironically feels just as alone. In an interview, Sweatshirt described himself as a geriatric, and maybe you can start being ahead of your years far too early. His youth has escaped him, and so have the days of immature splurging and adolescent growth. He went quickly to the grind as a late teenager in Odd Future and tried to disturb the world the most out of that group, who he was a younger member of. He returned as the member with the most change and the largest wisdom. All of this makes him unhappy.

So does the announcement of his new album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. With a name full of introversion like that, there was clearly a large level of perfectionism here. Sweatshirt took pride in his hard work and his social sacrifice here. His label apparently released the album information too early, and thus Sweatshirt took to twitter in “livid” fashion. With so many surprise releases as of late, this album was still unexpected, but perhaps it wasn’t locked away for long enough. We got a glimpse of how the album will sound with Grief, and it seems personal enough for Earl Sweatshirt to take this premature announcement personally.

The lo fi beat is like a recording off of William Basinski’s celebrated Disintegration Loops experiment. It does not slowly die here nor does it regain life. It’s already limping and struggling. It’s time slowed down and decaying. Earl Sweatshirt himself is in real time as the world shifts around him. He refuses to panic; He groans “good grief” instead. He is still as depressed as ever, but it’s starting to turn into anguish and irritation. He’s missing it all: His friends, his passion, essentially all life has to offer. He only has his rapping to comfort him, and it is the only part of the song that feels stable.

That’s why he is angry. His greatest love was shared with the world before he was ready to share it. Sony got to spread the news before Earl Sweatshirt was comfortable enough with sharing it. Once again, he is in a vulnerable position. He puts himself on the line enough as it is; For his hard work to be shared without his consenst must be a nightmare. That’s what Grief is. It’s Sweatshirt’s greatest fear coming to life. As the beat slowly churns, Sweatshirt’s voice gets weary towards the end. He finally wishes for his time back, and the song ends in the meanest way possible: An upbeat drum outro. Time has not just picked up, but it has sped up, too. Life is harsh, and Earl Sweatshirt has expressed this with both his candid tweets and this new song of his which has surpassed most of his work thus far.

About author

Former Film Editor & Music Writer at Live in Limbo. Co-host of the Capsule Podcast. A Greek/South African film enthusiast. He has recently earned a BFA honours degree in Cinema Studies at York University. He is also heavily into music, as he can play a number of instruments and was even in a few bands. He writes about both films and music constantly. You should follow him on Twitter @Andreasbabs.