The “Life Of A DON” follow-up boasts appearances from James Blake, Kali Uchis, Lil Durk, & more.
Since the release of 2021’s “Life Of A DON,” Houston native Don Toliver has been a very busy man. Placements on albums from Kanye West, SZA, Baby Keem, Metro Boomin, and plenty more have marked a meteoric rise in popularity for the Travis Scott signee. Naturally, then, his latest project “Love Sick” was very heavily anticipated by fans both old and new. The end result, though, while solid at times, feels half-baked and monotonous for most of its duration.
There is plenty to commend Toliver for on this project, with several standout tracks presenting some of his best work. “Let Her Go” with James Blake is a great example of this, showcasing a perfect stylistic fusion between Toliver and the prolific producer. Blake’s instrumental feels finely crafted for Toliver, who flourishes vocally over bursts of punchy bass and wavy chords. The song closes with a beautiful outro from Blake himself.
“4 Me” with Kali Uchis is another highlight, and the lovers’ duet feels perfectly placed on the album. It’s cute, flirtatious, and charmingly simple, and the chipper instrumental makes it stand out.
“Honeymoon” is a strange case, its off-kilter groove bringing an entirely different vibe than anything else on the project. It’s warped, wonky, and above all else, exciting. “If I Had” employs the legendary Charlie Wilson for a somber and laid-back cut that sees Toliver again meld his style with an unexpected collaborator.
Perhaps the greatest standout, however, is “Bus Stop” with Brent Faiyaz. The bouncy, sample-led beat lays the groundwork. Pair that with Toliver’s excellent vocals and melodies, plus a characteristically gorgeous appearance from Faiyaz, and it’s a recipe for success that works just as well as one would expect.
Although there are several songs that display Toliver in top form, the majority of the project unfortunately isn’t the same. Tracks like “Leave The Club” and “Private Landing” feel incredibly bland despite having two guest appearances each. Both songs feel bogged down by boring instrumentals and lackluster features. “Do It Right” feels like an attempt to score radio play, with a very drab instrumental and obnoxiously simple writing.
The issue that plagues the majority of the tracklist, however, is an endless feeling of similarity. Tracks like “Company Pt. 3,” “Go Down,” and “Leather Coat,” while not terrible, feel indistinguishable from each other due to incredibly similar and basic production. Many songs simply fail to grab any attention because of this, leaving the album feeling like one long drag.
While “Love Sick” is not a terrible body of work, one can’t help but feel that Don Toliver could release a more engaging and exciting project. Despite the album’s issuese, Toliver still provides some solid songs. I have faith that he can release something much more consistent in the near future.
Don Toliver – Love Sick: 5.6/10