Last night the 22 year old North London R&B singer Col3trane celebrated the release of his new album, Lush Life, in New York at Lot 45, a 5-thousand square foot sprawling venue in Brooklyn where he performed his new songs love for the crowd. Joined by Meechy Darko of Flatbush Zombies, the pair performed “OK” to an elated crowd of fans.
The title of the album, which originally seems to point to luxury, opulence and abundance, also stands as an acronym, “Loving Something Until It Hurts…”. Col3trane described the meaning of his album as, “My Lush Life tells a story of Loving Until Something Hurts. How love can feel like pure ecstasy, can make you feel invincible, like a beautiful flower in full bloom. But in reality, even the brightest lights cast a dark shadow, and flowers wilt and die without care and nurture. They end up ugly, a broken image of what they once were.”
The album is a mix of smooth 808s, and is a laid-back, effortless R&B album that’s done simply and intentionally. Released on Col3trane’s own Trane of Thought Records, the minimalistic abstract artwork on album features a pool scene where a man is air-drying as he watches his love interest swim. In another bode for simplicity, Col3trane seems to intentionally leave the Spotify moving visuals off of the songs, which leaves the listener looking at the striking bright primary colors of the album artwork.
Col3trane has come a long way since he opened for Dua Lipa on her UK tour in 2019 and has gained traction in the United States. Lush Life is his first project and re-emergence since BOOT (Breathing Out of Time), which followed his first mixtape titled Tsarina that gained the then 19-year-old international acclaim and even a comparison to Frank Ocean from GQ magazine.
A few standout tracks include “Logan Paul,” “Californication," and “OK." A review of each song on Lush Life below:
The intro fades in with a giggly, breathy feminine voice talking about falling in love for the first time. Violins and a progressing piano keys play behind her voice, not unlike some of the bridges in The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller.
The intro glides easily into a transition and picks up at the poppy “Take Notes”. The song is a bold assertion that Col3trane runs the show now, and he imparts wisdom on the artists around him.
“You hit the gas, I see /
The gas you smoke, the gas you hear /
Ain't no people doin' work in here /
It's designer bags under my eyes”
“Logan Paul” is such an ambiguous, beautiful song, and a strong focal point of the project. Released ahead of the project, the single features a puppy dog-eyed Col3trane searching for something at a house party while fighters go at each other in the basement. “Logan Paul” is by far the catchiest song on the album, and the attention-grabbing title had me searching the lyrics for allusions to the Youtuber-turned-fighter.
“Do they party when i'm not around /
Is this house always upside down…
I saw you runnin on the kid with the face tat /
And he couldn’t even manage a smile”
The meaning of this song is not clear no matter how many times I listen, but it seems to allude to fakers, fighters, and bad guys taking up space and clout culture as a whole.
“Californication” is one of the higher-tempo songs on the album. Just like the song says, it feels like the California sun and is about keeping things light in paradise. Playful synthesizers and heavy beats elevate this song into a groovier, funkier electronic leaning mix.
“This is Californication /
Don’t wanna fall in love with me”
“Lights Out” is a classic R&B track about luxury, perfect for Taurus season.
“Yeah, I just got a bag last week, so I'ma get to splurgin'/
Know you need a bag right now, I hope it ain't a Birkin/
I'm at it from the back and she lyin' on the front/
She look so good, she might get what she want”
“Reckless” is the sexiest of the tracks. A sultry, classical piano starts the song before it breaks down into heavier beats. “She put her mouth around my necklace” Col3trane croons, a hopeless romantic. “Reckless” is a beat made for a date night playlist that gains intensity at the chorus. Col3trane states that “I always fall in love when I’m trying to party” which is, honestly, probably the most relatable line of the album.
The album’s eponym, “Lush Life” is a thoughtful, yearning song about wanting love and luxury but not quite capturing it.
“But every now and again /
I see you beneath the breeze /
But you just out of my reach /
And you got just what I need, oh, oh-oh"
Another one of the songs released ahead of the album, the pairing of two artists who have such a similar sonic profile created pure harmony on the track. A master of funk and grooviness infused RnB, The transition between Lucky Daye and Col3trane was so smooth at times it was hard to track where one voice began and one ended. The lyric music video was simple but funny, a continuous loop of Col3trane in the dyke between two reservoirs bench pressing small dogs in baskets.
“Give you the world, you'll still find a way to be mad at me /
Thought you were trippin', but you’re living in a fantasy, no”
Having a Flatbush Zombies feature is a direct contrast to a Lucky Daye feature. The creeping of the gravelly, low voice of Meechy Darko (fact check) is a dynamic and robust addition to Col3trane’s romantic croon. “OK” is also the only song with a feature that hadn’t been released as a single, so it came as a pleasant surprise to see Flatbush in the credits.
Another previously released single, Col3trane and Erick the Architect team up to sing their woes.
“More than she can chew, what am I to do? /
I got to be with you, for the good or the bad /
But you stressed, and obsessed with the shit from the past”
Col3trane sings quickly over a 4-key loop of a piano plays intensely on his track named after the fiery Boondocks character. The anxiety-inducing track about playing games and a noncommittal lifestyle has a part 1 and a part 2 that includes a beat switch.
“Baby, she just want me, me for herself all the time, yeah /
She just want me to leave the fuckery all behind, yeah”
“Trippin” is the exit track on Lush Life that feels like a reconciliation between him and his lover. Employing as many instruments as possible, a plucky acoustic guitar plays amongst violins, cymbals, pianos and synthesizers as Col3trane makes up with his beau.
“I hate it when I gotta do this shit on my own /
When you're at a distance, life is a mission”