Are U Down?, Spencer.

Your next indie-rap obsession


Hasmik Tumasyan, Staff Writer

 Are U Down? is the debut album from emerging artist Spencer. Released on September 10, 2021, the concept album deals with the various highs and lows of a relationship. With elements of hip-hop, indie, and R&B, Are U Down? features a unique sound suited for fans of all these genres. The lyricism ranges from bright to downright melancholic, which, combined with the variety of sound, makes listening to the album feel like taking a musical journey. 

All of the songs found here are ridiculously catchy. A common downfall of concept albums is that a good portion of the tracks tend to meld together and sound the same. Are U Down? doesn’t have this problem. All eleven songs included on the album carry their own appeal and distinctive melodies. There are some, however, that have grabbed my attention more than others. 

The first track, “byyyte,” does an incredible job of setting the stage. The electronic beat is really unique, and it really pulls you into both the song and the entire album. It also has a mellow, slower chorus that’s perfect for background noise or long car rides.

“MyLuv” is the fourth track on the album, and it stands out to me because of the bold musical choices that Spencer. makes in the instrumentation. “MyLuv” has all the charm and simplicity of a classic puppy-love song, but what makes it stick out is a jazzy trumpet that ensnares you as soon as you hear it. It’s got the kind of melody that you’ll be humming all day, without getting tired of it.

“After the Show” is the only feature, spotlighting Swedish artist Thea Gustafsson, or Becky and the Birds. The lyrics express the anxious allure of a budding love. Gustafsson’s dreamlike voice, mixed with the romantic subject matter, brings an irresistible giddiness to the song. It’s definitely one of the most memorable tracks on the album.

Another perfectly arranged song is “Heart Freestyle”. The instrumentation on this one is stellar and uplifts the vocals. The piano, the strings, and the electronic elements all fit together like musical puzzle pieces. On first listen, “Heart Freestyle” may feel like your standard love song, but it portrays a rocky relationship disguised under a catchy chorus. This song is an amazing addition.

My personal favorite on the album is “RocStar”. This song has a vocal performance throughout its length, unlike most of the other tracks that feature spoken rap elements. Spencer.’s performance is amazing. His voice is like honey; you can hear the emotion behind it. 

I was especially impressed with the harmonies in the bridge around the end of the song. I remember literally having to replay that part two times, because I couldn’t get enough of it. And then of course, Spencer. brings the heat with the instrumentation. You can’t help but sway along to the guitar throughout the song, and it captures the essence of the lyrics wonderfully. Best song. Period.

Ultimately, Are U Down? is a captivating exploration of the turbulence found in relationships. There is not a boring song on this album. I recommend it to anyone who loves music as much as I do, because there is truly something for everyone on here.

And if you like Are U Down?, you should also check out Blond by Frank Ocean, THE REAPER by Keshi, or anything by Steve Lacy.