Whether it’s deserved or not, the name “Odd Future” brings to mind certain images and themes when talking music. Even fans of the Southern California collective appear to have certain expectations for any group or artists with an OF affiliation. Saying The Internet brings something different to the Odd Future crew is an understatement. The group, headed by front woman Syd, and frequent Odd Future producer, Matt Martians bring a sound not often heard. Expanding and using more live instruments, Feel Good is an upgrade from the group’s debut album, Purple Naked Ladies across the board, resulting in an album that needs to be heard.
One of the logical Odd Future comparisons to the Internet would be Grammy award-winner, Frank Ocean. And one of the very few knocks on Ocean’s Channel Orange, was his at times extreme abstractness. The song writing on Feel Good doesn’t push boundaries, but avoids over simplicity for the most part. While “Sunset” may scream “Feel Good” a little too loudly for some, songs like “Red Balloon” and “Cloud Of Our Own” are cleverly written, with a clear “other” meaning within the latter. While Syd lacks the vocal range of Ocean, throughout Feel Good, she displays a firm understanding of her range, an ability lost on a lot of contemporary singers. From Purple Naked Ladies to Feel Good, Syd has appeared to become a master of her own voice, pushing it to its limits, never exceeding them.
Trying to pin down the Internet into one specific genre would be doing the band a disservice. Feel Good is a journey across multiple genres, done properly. “You Don’t Even Know”—which features Tay Walker and Syd on the vocals—has an R&B feel to it, sans the over-singing that has taken over the genre. Within that same wheel house, “Red Balloon” finds Syd holding her own, with her smooth, soft voice singing a story of getting over the lost. On the other hand, the album’s lead single, “Dontcha” has a much more upbeat, funk vibe. Between the tempo of the drums, key choices, and guitar riffs, “Dontcha” finds the Internet (along with Chad Hugo) creating a sound reminiscent of Morris Day’s band, The Time, with Syd holding down the lead.
At other times Syd’s vocals take a back seat (“The Pupil/The Patience”). While Syd is clearly the lead throughout the album, the Internet is very much a band, and the instruments and instrumentation aren’t far behind the front woman. The choruses change tone, from pulsing drum beats of the body, to heavy drums and cymbal crashes, reminiscent of N*E*R*D, a major influence to the Internet. But even with the vocals absent, or reduced to hums, Feel Good doesn’t step to far away from the vibe it’s set throughout the project. “Wanders Of The Mind” finds the band playing an intro, which leads in to Mac Miller signing. Off name alone, some may question the feature, but Mac seems to also fit into the sound the Internet has created.
While The Internet’s debut album Purple Naked Ladies felt like a collection of good songs, starring a singer finding her footing, Feel Good is a solid album by a band, led by a confident singer. Syd displays the ability to hold her own vocally, and the self-assurance to let the band step to the forefront and shine as well. Feel Good leaves listeners with more questions about the next possible Internet album, than the current one. That’s a great problem to have.