Future SAVE ME

Future SAVE ME
6
At its laziest, a criticism of Future's music is that all his songs sound the same, but his three most recent solo efforts disprove that by offering album-length looks at his stylistic alter egos. The Atlanta icon appeared to be operating in similar fashion with the announcement of SAVE ME, a seven-song set he credited to his R&B-leaning, exploratory persona "Future Hendrix."
 
In spite of that claim, SAVE ME doesn't provide as singular a look that releases like FUTURE and HNDRXX did. On "St. Lucia" he warns, "Catch an attitude, I'ma go and fuck your friend now," only to admit, "Tryna fight temptation, something I need to pray about" shortly after. A doting Future tells a woman "Don't tell me you want it, 'cause I'm buyin'" on "Please Tell Me," but on "Extra" it's pangs of jealousy with "Benjis on Benjis on Benjis on again / That's all I been on since you got with him."
 
The clearest look at Future Hendrix comes with "Shotgun," a Detail-produced track marked by uplifting pianos and a soaring hook. One of his final collaborations with late engineer Seth Firkins, Future's emotion is palpable, but the hook alone carries little weight in comparison to catalogue staples of soul-bearing like "Codeine Crazy" or "Sorry."
 
Make no mistake; Future was paying homage to the legendary guitarist long before hip-hop's current fixation with the instrument, though SAVE ME is bookended by a pair of tracks that further that trend. The muddied strings of all-too brief opener "XanaX Damage" set a scene for Future to detail drug dependence and its emotional effect in rare, raspy fashion. Closer "Love Thy Enemies" features a steady picking pattern guiding Future's plaintive free verse: "You wasn't considerate to how I was feelin' / How I'm gon' explain this to my children?"
 
Those aforementioned moments of experimentation show a continued development of Future's "Hendrix" alter ego, but there's something to be said for getting to know him over a longer runtime. (Epic)