Anyone paying attention to Kevin Abstract's tweets over the last year knows he hasn't been quiet about intentions of becoming a pop star. He wants to go Top 10 on iTunes, win a VMA, cover magazines, and, well, "get famous and disappear."
His 2014 album MTV1987 and subsequent releases have shown flashes of melodic ability and a willingness to expand outside the realm of hip-hop, but up until this point, most people still think of Abstract as an internet rapper. The notion is a fair one given his history of rapping about growing up in a digital age and the fact that his music has almost entirely been consumed online—but American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story is his chance to break out of that box.
This isn't a hip-hop album. And it has ambitions of reaching far outside the walls of Tumblr pages and SoundCloud uploads. American Boyfriend is full of pretty guitars, smooth melodies, and poignant, vulnerable songwriting. Or, in his own words, "my new record is pop as fuck."
The album seems to draw just as much inspiration from 90s pop-rock as it does Kanye West. But it isn't a total departure from his previous work, either. The suburban motifs remain and he sprinkles in occasional rap verses. Most importantly, the songwriting is as good as ever. Throughout the project, he delivers some of the most honest lines we've heard all year, boldly addressing his sexuality: "Can't tell my family I'm bi, can't tell my mother I'm gay, the hardest part of my day is wishing I was fucking straight."
Forming a group he calls an "All-American Boy Band" and touring with The Neighbourhood, Kevin Abstract has been heading in this new direction for awhile, but he pulls everything together on American Boyfriend—marking a new chapter in his exciting young career. Dive in below.