Love Sick (Deluxe)

Love Sick (Deluxe)

Don Toliver wants to be remembered as one of the greatest artists of all time, so it’s only natural that he would turn to his musical predecessors for inspiration. The Houston singer and rapper’s 2023 album, Love Sick, functions as an homage to ’70s funk, soul, and disco as well as a reinvention of the trailblazing sounds and creative approaches of the artists from that era, including Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson. Presented as a concept album, Love Sick sees Don Toliver diving headfirst into the complex world of romance and all of its thorny offshoots. At the end of “LoveSickness,” the album intro, Toliver takes a moment to reflect: “A wise man once said, ‘Falling in love is the one fall you don’t get up from.’” While the album lives under one amorous theme, Toliver stretches its meaning to the limit. The songs he puts forth expand and contract from slow and sensual to upbeat and randy, never once settling in the same sonic space. Because of his affinity for hard-hitting trap beats, Toliver is often interpreted as a hip-hop artist, but he uses this project to dig his heels into the earthy, soulful foundation of R&B. It’s a welcomed home for the artist, who is openly inspired by his romantic muse, Colombian-American singer-songwriter Kali Uchis. In fact, Toliver and Uchis collaborate on the affectionate “4 Me,” which samples the 2000 hit “Girls Dem Sugar” by Beenie Man and Mýa. Toliver expresses other forms of love on the album: carnal desire (“Leave The Club” featuring Lil Durk and GloRilla), adoration for his hometown and the lifestyle within it (“Time Heals All”), and deserved self-love for the career he’s meticulously built for himself (“Private Landing” featuring Justin Bieber and Future). Love Sick also gives Don Toliver the opportunity to bridge the gap between the old school and the new school—he calls on the industry’s favorite uncle, Charlie Wilson, for the devoted “If I Had,” as well as contemporary R&B star Brent Faiyaz for the Jersey club-inspired “Bus Stop.” Toliver’s hit single “Do It Right” brings it all full circle through a clever flip of the S.O.S. Band’s 1980 song “Take Your Time (Do It Right),” further cementing his dedication to linking the riches of the past to his promising future.

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