By far, the most creative album I’ve heard in a long time.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve been listening to Tobi Lou for a while now, but how I discovered Tobi Lou is actually quite interesting. A producer that I was extremely fond of named YOG$ had just got done doing a collaboration project with another artist I thoroughly enjoy, and upon finishing that project, did a track with Tobi, and I hated it. It took me about around 3 months and 15 listens to actually come around on the song, and I was still pessimistic listening to the rest Tobi’s music. I finally started coming around to Tobi’s music because of the dichotomy between lighthearted fun and melancholy teenage emotions within his songs. Not to mention his incredible lyrical creativity, singing ability, and downright fantastic production, mixed with actual interesting ad libs. Tobi Lou quickly became one of my favorite artists to follow, and Live on Ice does not disappoint.
Something that makes this album truly interesting and separate from other hip-hop/r&b/pop albums is that many of the songs can be thrown into any of those genres, and possibly others. From the first track on the album, 100 Degrees, it would appear to be a hip-hop album, but as you head down the track list, you find songs like Sometimes I Ignore You Too and That Old Nu-Nu that are so far from hip-hop in a traditional sense, and that argument can be made for just about every song on the album. Tobi even collaborated with K-Pop artist Vernon on the track Looped Up, arguably making for one of the most creative and ambitious songs on the album.
I have been trying to think of a good comparison for Live on Ice, and from a musical perspective, I haven’t been able to find one. It’s just that unique and creative. But, I believe an argument can be made that Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper and Tobi Lou’s Live on Ice have very similar impacts on the audience it reaches, essentially accomplishing the same goal, connectivity. Acid Rap, is arguably one of the most influential factors for the type of music I listen to, and many others my age. Live on Ice accomplishes the same effect, but for a slightly different audience. Acid Rap was influenced by extremely prevalent themes being love, friends, following your dreams, with the biggest theme being heavily based around drugs. All of these elements combine for one of the most successful mixtapes ever made, as well as being responsible for Chance the Rapper’s massive popularity. Live on Ice is similar to Acid Rap in a way, due to how Tobi effectively connects the themes of the album to the listener. While it might not be as successful as Acid Rap, Tobi Lou has created a project that will touch the lives of many people in the same way Acid Rap did. Themes like finding love, dealing with depression, being comfortable with who you are, and heartbreak are expressed throughout the album extremely effectively through fantastic production, Tobi’s ambitious vocal layering/editing, and lyrical creativity. Personally, I love happy music, and when I heard tracks like Favorite Substitute, Like My Mom, and Ice Cream Girl, I immediately fell in love with them because they connected with me in a personal and interesting way. The use of non-traditional hip-hop instruments, catchy choruses, unique vocals, and actually interesting ad libs (seriously no one ever has good ad libs) make songs more lively, and help to set a mood for the album overall.
Live on Ice is genuinely in a league of its own, and I think it should be treated as such. It took me almost a month to fully understand and interpret this album, and I hope others get as much out of this project as I did. I truly haven’t listened to an album this interesting since Healy’s Subluxe in 2017. I highly suggest you give this album a shot, even if you don’t like hip-hop/r&b/pop because it is such a different experience.
-Sometimes I Ignore You Too
-Ice Cream Girl