The Internet — Feel Good (Summer 2014)
There isn’t an R&B vocalist more nonchalant in the modern music industry than Sydney Bennett. Throughout the recent years her and her group, The Internet, had garnered the attention and support of fans from the Odd Future era and beyond. Their breakout magnum opus, Ego Death, proved so. Each member of the group implemented their erudite skill into sessions of coherent and melodic tunes that define their own sound as a whole. The forefront singer at the time, Sydney Bennett, or better known as Syd Tha Kyd, is the pervading image of the cool, laid-back music that the group is known for. Her voice spells out the term chill, regardless of she is singing or not.
By the time Odd Future paved the way for underground, alternative rap music to take a stance against corporate radio play, many of the young musicians expounded from the group and showcased their own vision in their musical works. One of the groups that rode the ferry in the quiet river bank was The Internet. In 2011, the forefront figures were vocalist Syd and producer Matt Martians. Their project was oddly entitled, Purple Naked Ladies, which although was an abstract piece of work, did not generate the massive appeal that Ego Death did for them in 2015. By the time Ego Death received a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary Album of 2015, the media was able to recognize the key players of the group through all the interviews and radio attention they earned.
Between the conspicuous seams of their internet infancy and commercial success, an album silently arose out of the crevice of the steamroller and managed to gain the attention of a few villagers of the media. Feel Good is sometimes described by the group at their most “chill” or “quiet” album to date. It can be understood why they would feel that way. Their breakout single, Dontcha, was a smooth influx of Syd’s relaxed singing and stylistic swagger, as well as hard-hitting chord notes, peddling drum play, and groovy guitar synths. The black-and-white music video depicting their playful session attracted nearly millions of views at the time. On September of 2013, the album was released and sent out for the casual listener.
I had not known about this album until the Summer season of the following year. Fortunately for me, strutting through recommended listens on nearly every digital media platform, I had found this album just at the right time. I was maturing out of my old-school Hip Hop phase and developed an immense respect for Neo-Soul artistry, such as the likes of Erykah Badu and D’Angelo. This album introduced me to the remnants of Soul and Funk music of the twentieth century, speaking through the mediums of the youth. Feel Good was at the time, the most meditative and gorgeously blissful Summer music I could find.
The album was released a year prior, in the season where the chilled winds began to showcase their strengths and waft away the natural tanning and pool dipping. Although, you could tell in their music that their creative minds were strung up on images of the radiating sunshine imposing its power over a quiet grass field, or underwater venturing in a friend’s grand-sized pool, as the album cover would imply. Each song in the album choreographs different mellow intonations and exuberance with the same set of single, instrument players. Each track on this album zones out into another realm where strife or chaos can gain no admittance into the pool party of potheads and chill, funk dwellers.
The first track emphasizes this aesthetic through the introduction of Syd’s easy-going but focused singing, as well as dreamy, melodic keyboard onslaught and the bass guitar’s jazzy appearance. Syd’s voice is one of those rare instances where her inflection seems more or less an instrument belonging to one of the classic instrument families, rather than noise perforating through her vocal chords. The following tracks such as Sunset and Dontcha only propounds that feeling. Each track delves further into rarefied form, eventually submerging into a liquid state by the time you reach Cloud of Our Own, swimming through the turquoise colored swimming pool lit up by the nearest light pole during the evening time.
This type of music will only truly resonate with the few that hold no grudge or turbulent tendencies in their bloodstreams. This album can only serve those who share the same placidness of teenagers and young adults looking for time to have fun and enjoy the life they have. This album allowed me to feel those sensations during that Summer, initially discovering the joy of sitting back with friends under the cloudy breeze after working five days a week in my first job as a teenager.
Surprised that the major fanbase of this group were adolescents sharing my music taste, I became acquainted with the sound The Internet gave me over the years. Although Ego Death can be classified as a more polished album on paper, with more live instrumentation, experienced musicians, and monetary support, no other album during my listening experience has equated to the same experiences this album shared with me so far. Through every generation of formidable hardcore concerts and strengthening technical sounds, projects like Feel Good takes advantage of those aspects, and flips them upside down, serving as a prerogative for those who don’t share the same chaos that their surroundings seem to share.