CD Review (Whack World)

Royce Guo, Editor in Chief

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Philadelphia artist Tierra Whack’s debut album, Whack World, follows a highly unconventional format. The entire album, laden with fantasy and Whack’s unique stylings, is only fifteen minutes long— composed of exactly fifteen one-minute tracks. The album is accompanied by an audiovisual directed by Thibaut Duverneix and Mathieu Léger. For audiences that crave more, rumor has it that the only way to experience the full songs is from Whack herself on tour or to simply wait for the album’s full release.

 

While it may initially seem that sixty seconds is hardly enough to communicate a chorus, much less a full song, Whack delivers fifteen vibrant vignettes— perfect for our social media age. In creating the project, Whack said to DJ Booth, “We looked at Instagram, and Instagram is 60 seconds [max for a video]. We were like, ‘Yo, let’s do a song that’s a collection of 60 seconds, and just rock out.”

 

And “rock out” indeed. The album’s seventh track, “Hungry Hippos,” is delightfully whimsical: the type of song to sing along to in the car. On “Fruit Salad,” Whack employs a playful tone coupled with head-nodding rhythms, chanting, “Drinking’ water, eatin’ fruits, takin’ care of my body. When you doin’ good they want kick it just like Karate.” Other songs, such as “Dr. Seuss” and “Bugs Life” take a more introspective turn, delving into Whack’s personal relationships and struggles.

 

Through fifteen captivating minutes, Whack explores her insecurities, inner ponderings, and humor. While another artist might repeat a chorus to oblivion, each minute-long track communicates a concise concept— and moves on quickly to Whack’s next big idea.

 

Whack’s willingness to experiment with format and style is an inseparable part of her artistic identity. In an interview with The Fader, she said, “I have so much to offer and I think of so many ideas throughout the day, week, the month…I didn’t want to overwhelm people and that idea was the only way to make it make sense for me.”

 

In the accompanying music video, Whack performs in surreal environments, crooning in a neon-illuminated Chinese restaurant, snipping balloon strings in a white room, and distorting her facial features through a collection of magnifying lens. Like Whack herself, the album is unconventional and unrestrained.

 

However, beyond the eccentricity, Whack reveals an authentic look into her greatest vulnerabilities. While the colorful visuals and bubbly verses may draw in listeners from Instagram, Whack reveals a sense of doubt and playfulness that is incommunicable in any other medium— be it social media or otherwise.

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