By Pat Gunther
Since the mysterious Mississauga artist PARTYNEXTDOOR dropped his debut eponymous EP on July 1 of last year, PND has remained relatively quiet compared to his Toronto mentor and OVO Sound Commander-In-Chief Drake. However, PARTYNEXTDOOR accompanied Champagne Papi on his Would You Like A Tour? circuit and laid down some killer background vocals on three cuts off of Nothing Was The Same before presumably hitting the studio to work on his follow up to last years EP. PARTYNEXTDOOR2, PARTYOMO’s second record, provides listeners with a stark change in lyrical content without sacrificing PND’s beloved production style.
Nearly twice the length of PARTYNEXTDOOR, PND2 gives listeners an insightful change of pace compared to the braggadocio and confidence served on PND’s debut. In 2’s opening track “East Liberty” we’re hit with the directness and self-awareness that PND pushed to the side on his first effort. Though the different attitude is palpable, the typical PND hip-hop/R&B rapping and singing hybrid that he made absolutely irresistible last summer is still present over original production that, for whatever reason, has seemed to be overlooked by listeners. This combination on each track, whether it is a soft sex anthem or a bonafide-strip-club-jam, is completely and utterly infectious.
As the album progresses track by track, we’re given a taste of the ups and downs PND has flourished in and endured, which makes this album feel decidedly more human and relatable than its predecessor. Tracks such as “Sex on the Beach,” which samples and completely flips Disclosure’s smash hit “Latch,” kisses us with the washed out and distorted sample, then crescendos into a track that’ll undoubtedly leaving fans of his signature OVO sound hitting the replay button for a minute. Throughout, PND seems to peel back layers of personality that have remained well hidden from the public to sort of build up the persona of an artist that has been shrouded in mystery since he came up in the 6.
Typical PND sax samples are scattered about, and provide familiar fodder for fans of his debut’s sound and feel. The production feels eerily similar to PARTYNEXTDOOR, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the real innovation in PND’s artistry lies within the lyrical content.
Shreds of human issues and emotions poke their head out at certain junctures, such as on the first line of “FWU,” that are relatively similar to something The Weeknd would write. However, the introspection and honesty is not without the signature PND flexing that was dripping all over PARTYNEXTDOOR. Cars, women helpless to his perceived charm, and of course, weed, remain key components of a PND evening on tracks like “Recognize.”
All in all, PARTYNEXTDOOR has used 2 to further hone in on his now signature sound of lush, washed out synths and hard-hitting kicks coupled with rolling hi-hats in varying patterns. The production remains consistently great and speaks volumes for the young Canadian’s ability behind the boards. Most importantly, though, PND2 treats listeners to a rare window into the psyche of an under-the-radar figure through vivid lyricism and self-aware, relatable feelings. Though those don’t come without the lyrical magniloquence PND brought to the table last summer, PARTYNEXTDOOR2 allows listeners to not just hear, but also feel, what he’s trying to convey.
Favorite Tracks: “SLS,” “Sex on the Beach,” “East of Liberty,” “FWU”
Least Favorite Tracks: “Thirsty,” “Bout It”