Bryson Tiller “Anniversary” Review


Prominent R&B artist Bryson Tiller gracefully returned to the music scene on October 2nd with his latest full length project “Anniversary”. The project features the familiar “Trapsoul” sound fans of the R&B star have come to love. The expectations for this project were high following the star’s promotion on social media in the weeks leading up to the release. With the project dropping on the five year anniversary of the project that brought Tiller to stardom, “Trapsoul” , the artist had some heavy expectations to live up to.

“Anniversary” delivers in many ways, giving fans of Tiller a great new project to sink into and reminisce a feeling many had in late 2015 upon the initial release of Tiller’s “Trapsoul” project. The release does leave much to be desired and despite finally nabbing that coveted Drake feature the project still lacks any stand out ‘hit’.

The issue with creating a follow up or sequel to a cult classic is the necessity to live up to such high expectations. “Anniversary” is a great project however it lacks that certified Bryson Tiller banger like “Rambo” or “Dont”. “Trapsoul” is a certified classic and thus fans undoubtedly desired a project featuring that sound, but for many “Anniversary” left them wanting to see growth or change in Tiller’s music.

“Anniversary” opens with “Years go By” an upbeat intro that is reminiscent of early Bryson Tiller. He croons over a fun beat expressing how things have changed for him overtime and he’s now much more interested in settling down with one love interest.

A really solid intro is followed up by a pair of underwhelming tracks in “Always Forever” and “I’m Ready for you”. “Always Forever” served as the lead single and while both tracks feature the classic Bryson Tiller sound they lack any new substance or creativity that we haven’t already heard on a previous more entertaining Tiller track.

The fourth track on the project “Things Change” is the one track from the project that sees Tiller experimenting in a slightly different direction effectively. The track samples many elements of the “Trapsoul” era while still leaning into a slightly more commercial sound.

Bryson follows this with “Timeless Interlude” a total transition back to the traditional “Trapsoul” vibes with Tiller hitting a home run crooning about his life experiences and the changes he’s been through over the past five years going from a kid who wanted it to a man trying to maintain it. The emotion in this one is evident and is reminiscent of the tracks that made Bryson a star.

“Sorrows” is break up Bryson in his bag, crooning about a relationship that went left and is over now. This track features a number of elements that were present and helped to highlight “Trapsoul” when it dropped. From the beat to the underwater effects and the content if you’re searching for a song with a “Trapsoul” sound, this one stands out.

The second interlude style track on the project titled “Inhale” was the very first single released off this project and upon its release felt very underwhelming. The track itself is short and Bryson only has one verse that lasts roughly a minute of the three minute track. However within the scope of the project the track fits very well. As a lead single it is questionable however it fits the theme of the “Trapsoul” era of releases as well.

“Inhale” ends with a sample of another R&B artist Brent Faiyaz speaking on the nature of the music industry and his disdain for the corniness that it brings with it. This is an interesting close for that track as the following track features Bryson’s largest industry feature to date.

“Outta Time” is the first official Bryson Tiller release featuring mainstream pop superstar Drake. Fans of Bryson Tiller have been waiting for a track featuring these two for some time and on “Anniversary” Bryson finally delivered. “Outta Time” is undoubtedly the best performing track off the project and Drake definitely has a big part to do with that. Coming in first on the track the pop superstar did not hold back in the verse he gave Tiller. Tiller delivers as well however his flow and melodic structure through this track make it a bit difficult to know exactly what he’s talking about on the initial listen despite being sonically entertaining. Upon further listen you find Bryson definitely held his own lyrically and the melodic structure helped create a standout track for this project.

“Keep Doing what You’re Doing” is a much more personal vibe. It fittingly comes after a Drake feature as it definitely has some “Take Care” vibes to it with the intro featuring a personal message from Brysons grandmother. This track is another standout from Bryson showing that he can do a lot more than just sing about women breaking his heart and vice versa. This personal touch from Bryson is another case of the R&B star doing what he does best.

“Next to You” is a typical Bryson Tiller outro as he decides to “say a couple words” to close the project expressing his love for a love interest he can’t wait to get next to despite how far away. This track could be in reference to Bryson’s desire to return to prominence he found with “Trapsoul” and a desire to get next to the industry again despite how far away those highs might seem after an underwhelming followup project.

Overall “Anniversary” is a great experience for any fan of “Trapsoul” despite leaving a desire for a little more. Coming in at thirty minutes and ten tracks the project itself is nearly a third shorter than “Trapsoul” and without standouts like “Rambo” and “Dont” it’s difficult to compare the two even with “Anniversary” having a solid Drake feature. This is certainly a project that should be consumed in whole as no track necessarily stands out above the rest outside of the obvious.

Personal thought:
6/10 – Would Recommend to R&B fans, people post break up/heart break.
“Anniversary” is a great project and a lot of fun to listen to, but the weak first half really make me wonder how much I’ll be listening to this one down the line. However it has been in rotation since its release and despite the skippable tracks there’s still 6-7 really solid tracks on this 10 track project.