The highest praise that I can muster for The Last Text EP is that it is mercifully short. There are other minor positive details, but they are few and far between in a dreary sea of committee-produced pop.
A little background to this album may first be necessary. A couple of weeks ago, I was in the happy position of knowing nothing about Jacob Sartorius. When I saw this album on my release list, I was hoping it would be some kind of Kanye-style biblical reference, with Jacob Sartorius portraying himself as a prophet or some such. No. Instead, the album centers around the deep, meaningful concept of the last text you send before you go to sleep. I truly wish I were lying.
Jacob Sartorius came into the public eye in 2015, by posting videos of himself lip-syncing to popular songs on Youtube. Not covers – lip-syncing. This is the key distinction, as it explains why he was hoovered up by music producers looking for the next Justin Bieber, but also why he has no conceivable talent. At the date of this release, Sartorius is 14 years old, and this is quite evident in the fact that his voice has not broken yet.
I suppose I cannot avoid talking about the actual music for any longer, try as I might. The Last Text EP almost manages a cohesive style, but as with most records produced by committee, just about fails. More acoustic-guitar focused, country style ballads like Last Text and Sweatshirt are at complete odds end with more dance-pop songs like All My Friends, and his tendency to break out into rap is completely inappropriate on so many levels; with respect to style, tone, quality, ability, and culture.
One of the key issues with this album is Sartorius’ age. The album deals by and large with themes of commitment in relationships – Sartorius is using words such as “perfection” and “love” to describe relationships that he has presumably formed at the experienced age of 13. This makes anything he says quite hard to take, as you keep reminding yourself that there is no way he has experienced this level of commitment, and that actually the likelihood of finding anything that meaningful is low before adulthood, let alone when you’re barely a teenager.
This album also features some truly abysmal songs. Hit or Miss is indescribably awful, using the manually-chanted sample-style refrain that has plagued popular music for a while now, and being strangely produced to sound entirely different from every other song on the album – not to mention the hook that life is “just a hit or miss” being completely meaningless even in context.
Bingo may also be one of the worst musical atrocities I have ever heard committed – the hook is forced, the theme is poorly-construed, the use of interjections by Sartorius claiming his song is “lit” is unbelievably cringey, and the use of Fréré Jacques as the melody for the chorus and the bridge left me genuinely lost for words.
I could quite easily say that The Last Text EP isn’t the worst thing that I’ve ever heard – it has some redeemable qualities, and commits the sin of being boring more often than that of being unlistenable. But the truth is, I struggle to name an actual example of something worse. What saves this album from the dustbin is the inoffensive nature of some of the calmer songs, and the fact that By Your Side is actually quite competent – the guitar riff was pleasing combined with the verse, and the hook was actually okay. But if this album doesn’t rank somewhere among my worst albums of the year, I will be astonished. I would advise strongly against even giving Sartorius the Youtube views, let alone buying the album. Be warned.
Best Song: By Your Side