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REVIEW: Brent Faiyaz’s “Wasteland” finds the balance between brutal honesty and heartbreak

REVIEW: Brent Faiyaz’s “Wasteland” finds the balance between brutal honesty and heartbreak - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Shaheenanisha, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Christopher Wood, better known as Brent Faiyaz, released his highly anticipated album “Wasteland” on Friday, July 8.

With contributions from the likes of Alicia Keys, Drake, Tyler The Creator, The Neptunes and many more, Faiyaz has placed himself as one of the most prominent figures in R&B. 

Faiyaz, who is known for his braggadocious tone and brutally honest lyrics, has built his success off of doing things his own way, especially as an independent artist. With owning his own masters and founding the record label, Lost Kids, Faiyaz is inching closer to superstar commercial success.  

This 19-track LP has had social media in a frenzy with quotable lyrics that people will use for their new selfies on Instagram while others try to cope with the unforgettable, heartbreaking and well-thought-out skits that are scattered throughout the album. 

Many consider Faiyaz to be the king of the “toxic” persona but all it sounds like is honesty in its rawest form. 

Faiyaz has put himself in the conversation for Album of the Year. So, if you haven’t listened, go for a late-night drive to get the most authentic experience of “Wasteland.” 

If you need convincing, these are the four songs that you should start with. 

Loose Change: 

The looping instrumental makes this song feel like you’re running on a never-ending road while Faiyaz allows his silky smooth vocals to shine all over this track. 

Instead of feeling like a song, these lyrics make it seem like a replay of a conversation between Faiyaz and his significant other. 

“What’s left of us?

“What’s left of our lives?

“It’s only you,

It’s only me, 

It’s only us at the end of the night” 

This sets the theme for the album. There is a constant battle between Faiyaz and his girlfriend about the trials and tribulations of the fame he has encountered while being tempted by the various drugs, money and women that have entered his life. 

The same question is repeated countless amount of times. 

“What is love? 

And what we see ain’t what it seems or feels, girl” 

Rolling Stone:

This song is about Faiyaz being brutally honest with his lover as he explains that he apologizes if he does let her down way before he actually does. 

“I’m sorry in advance if I let you down” 

Faiyaz plays on the idea of being a “Rolling Stone” as he is unwilling to settle in one place for long periods of time.

“I’m a rolling stone, 

I’m too wild for you to own”

Faiyaz attempts to justify his behavior by expressing that he got his “pimp genes” from his mother while trying to convince her that many of his past lovers know that he is troubled. 

It’s the honesty that spews towards the end of the track by providing all the flaws that come with dating Faiyaz. 

“Blame that on my mother, 

I can’t go nowhere that’s less than me,

Ask my lovers, I’m troubled, 

First I’m exciting then I’m gaslighting, make up your mind”

Role Model: 

Tempo controls this entire track as it is reminiscent of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” 

“Tell me what you want

You say you had enough ‘cause my time ain’t enough

Girl, it’s never enough for you

But you can wait until after tomorrow

Flawless, lawless, baby what you call this?”

Faiyaz’s confidence is at an all-time high throughout this song as he states that he can be her role model by explaining what his life involves 

“Where you gon’ go after you been with me?

I seen it all ‘fore I turned twenty-three

I can teach you how to ball…”

Again, Faiyaz explains to his girlfriend how things should be for them to work as a couple.

“Us against the globe

Don’t let ya attitude ruin what we got

Never stressing if you just lay low

I’ll give you lessons, it’s so much to know”

This song has the potential to be played on the runways at these famous fashion shows that happen in New York and Paris because of how well it fits with the prototypical model walk. 

Skit: Wake Up Call & Angels:

The way the album ends is eerie because of the story that has been spilled throughout these 19 tracks. 

Faiyaz’s pregnant girlfriend has had enough of his inconsistencies as a man towards her and their future child. The lying, manipulation and unfaithfulness have driven her to the brink since he had convinced her to move to Los Angeles, which was away from her family.  

The skit starts with Faiyaz arriving at an empty house as he calls his girlfriend. The sounds of distress rip through the phone as his girlfriend is contemplating suicide at the place they had met. 

In fear of losing both of them, Faiyaz attempts to de-escalate the situation by admitting to his faults and begging for forgiveness but nothing seems to work. Her tone starts leaning more and more into taking her and the child’s life. 

Faiyaz, whose voice is trembling, starts to run to his car in desperation to stop the act while attempting to keep her on the phone but the call ends with “Goodbye, Chris.” 

You can start to hear Faiyaz’s car speeding as he dials 911 but then is met with his own tragic fate of losing control of his car and crashing before arriving to his pregnant girlfriend. 

The eerieness of this track ends with the 911 dispatcher sending units to him and not his girlfriend, which ultimately leaves many questions that haven’t been answered. 

As this track ends, it flows into the last song which is “Angels.” 

Faiyaz starts by being brutally honest with himself. 

“I look in the mirror

And I see the worst in parts of me, that I don’t want” 

The title of the track fits perfectly with how Faiyaz describes the death of his girlfriend and child, an angel. 

This is Faiyaz’s plead for forgiveness and help for what has happened.

“But from what I know, you’ll never go away

Don’t ever leave my side, baby, I’ll die

But from what I know, you’re always here to stay

 You’re an angel in disguise” 

As the song slowly fades away, Faiyaz utters his description of his late girlfriend: 

“An angel, angel, angel

Angel in disguise fell from the heavens in the sky” 

By the end of the track, you find yourself in shock at how this experience has ended. 

From the storytelling and production, this album feels more like a movie than an album because of how each song tied into this tragic story of a couple’s hardships that led down this dark road, which ultimately was death. 

Brent Faiyaz, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Find time to sit and listen to “Wasteland”— it’s a conceptual masterpiece that plays on the modern-day tragedy of relationships. 

About the Author

Raul Trey Lopez
Raul Trey Lopez is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He is a first-generation college student. In his spare time, he likes listening to music. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in journalism while also maintaining his family flooring business.

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