Review: Future, ‘Save Me’

Future revisits the Hendrix persona on a pleasant yet hollow batch of trap blues.

Out of all the modern Atlanta rappers, Future is known best for giving fans what they want. Usually that is the trap thunderstorms cooked up on albums such as The Wizrd, his most recent release that satisfied the crowd despite its paper-thin replay value. For the off-chance of getting creative, Future summons Future Hendrix, the lovesick playboy plagued by issues of lust and loneliness. This is the “sad Future” that fans demand ever since “Codeine Crazy”, and so Future supplies.

Save Me is an extension to Future’s 2017 Hndrxx album, a 7-track EP that mirrors the blueprint but lacks the emotion.

The EP earns its stripes through its brevity. Although a couple tracks lack colour, the material is at a perfect length to shut the door on boredom. “Xanax Damage” is a sugar sachet of Future pop, boasting the project’s best hook that ends before reaching its full potential (“I only call you when I’m faded / Your arms around me, come and save me”). The ghoulish “St. Lucia” is the epitome of Future’s cocky self-obsession, nearly every line beginning with “I” and stressing the womanizer reputation. The debauchery is entertaining, inviting the listener to join Future to get lost in his toxic world.

A bulk of the EP chases potential, exceeding in production but let down by vocal effects. Closing track “Love Thy Enemies” carries the melancholic production fitting of the Hendrix mood. The flaw is the vocoder effect on Future’s vocals, overdone and hollow. Future’s robotic tone strips away the sincerity that is only present when the rapper’s voice is left naked.

The EP’s title is direct, a title that implies emotional depth, but reads more like a 2010 Tumblr post once a face is put to the name. Depth isn’t necessarily a detail demanded from Future, but its presence is needed if implied. Future has been chasing another “Codeine Crazy” for five years, moulding worthy candidates such as “Solo” and “Sorry” but failed to create a legacy. What Save Me misses is a melancholic, defeated song that is the centrepiece of the project, where all of Future’s issues can be explored through an honest lens of self-awareness.

Emotion finally emerges on the standout “Shotgun”. The song would slot comfortably into the tracklist of Hndrxx, allowing Future’s unprocessed vocals to strain naturally through the chorus. The personal emotion may still be lacking from the project but at least “Shotgun” compensates with romantic emotion.

Musically, Future delivers an enjoyable 20 minutes backed by solid production and melodies. Conceptually, Save Me indulges rather than explores, presenting the contents page but not the chapters.

Rating: 7 / 10

Best tracks: “St. Lucia”, “Xanax Damage”, “Shotgun”, “Government Official”