Before the release of his fourth album, 2022’s Beautiful Mind, Rod Wave sent a tweet promising his followers that it would be his last “sad ass album.” For a rapper/singer who’d established himself by wearing his heart on his sleeve, it was hard to imagine the Florida native suddenly putting out party music. As it turns out, he’s got more to get off his chest: On his fifth album, he’s still got the blues, not to mention one of the best voices in rap. “I been up for three nights trying to plan out my life,” he sings on the piano-driven “Call Your Friends,” an endorsement of checking in on loved ones just to see how they’re doing. Wave channels a country crooner on “Fight the Feeling,” serenading a woman trying to hide her heartache at the club, and embodies the antihero of the Fitzgerald classic on “Great Gatsby.” (“I threw the party of the century,” he bellows, “and it was all for you.”) Wave’s world is a cold one, but few artists make pain sound this pretty.

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