Ty Dolla $ign, Beach House 3 | Album Review
Ty Dolla $ign returns with his sophomore album, ‘Beach House 3,’ which ends up being better than expected.
Categorizing Ty Dolla $ign is kind of difficult – he’s not exactly a rapper, yet, he’s not limited to being a singer. Perhaps eclectic is the best way to describe him. Regardless how you characterize him, he always good for some interesting music, for better or for worse. Not everything he’s released in advance of Beach House 3 was game changing, but he set the tone for the album being a restless, intriguing listen more often than not.
“Famous” kicks off Beach House surprisingly. Why? It finds Ty Dolla $ign accompanied by chill, soulful guitar, performed by John Mayer. The vibe is nice, reminiscent to “Horses in a Stable” from his debut, Free TC. Famous recurs into the Beach House 3 script, with a number of short interludes, including follow-up joint, “Famous Lies.”
Early single “Love U Better” is short and sweet, like a number of songs from Beach House 3. Ty Dolla $ign enlists Lil Wayne and The-Dream for worthwhile assists. Commencing with a Mary J. Blige sample, “Love U Better” transforms into a slick, urban contemporary joint. The chorus is simple, yet effective and catchy.
“Ex” commences lushly, foreshadowing a sexual tilt. After dropping his signature runs in a robust vocal tone, Ty Dolla $ign informs us of exactly where he’s going with “Ex.” Following a slow intro, he drops the centerpiece of – the chorus.
“I just text my main chick / I told her I ain’t coming home / I just text my main chick / I told her, I ain’t coming home, tonight.”
Expectedly, it’s catchy AF, setting up a groovy, fun, carefree joint. On his verse, he focuses on the past, hooking up with his ex. As for YG, who arrives for the second verse, he could care less about any exes. All in all, it’s a brief, but enjoyable record. Another interlude, the lush “Famous Excuses,” follows.
“Droptop in the Rain”
“Droptop in the Rain” pairs Ty Dolla $ign with another rapper-singer, Tory Lanez. The results aren’t earth-shattering, but definitely worthwhile. Ultimately, this is one of the better records from Beach House 3. If nothing else, we hear the distinct, gritty nature of Ty in all its glory, not to mention the sweet falsetto of Lanez. The M.O. – sex.
“Don’t Judge Me” has plenty of pros working in its favor. First of all, the production work is great. Hard drums and lush, urban contemporary sounds make for superb palette of sounds. Following the brief intro by Swae Lee, Ty Dolla $ign properly kicks things off with the hook. He follows that up with a short verse, and the reiteration of the hook, before Future steps to the mic on the second verse. Future quotes the hook, references a threesome as well as various drugs. The ever-distinct Swae Lee, like his colleagues, “can’t be touched.” Don’t judge them.
“Dawsin’s Breek” features strong production work, the biggest selling point of the record. Ty Dolla $ign is on autopilot, doing what he does best – flex. He pop-raps on the chorus:
“I got a brand-new coupe, uh / I got a brand-new ‘Rari / I got a brand-new boo / I put my b*tch in park…”
Him and Jeremih drop short verses, but the chorus dominates the song. This isn’t a particularly deep record – it’s certainly not transcendent – but enjoyable by all means. It is a standout on Beach House 3.
Future reappears on “Don’t Sleep on Me,” which also features 24hrs. One of the longest songs from Beach House 3, the repetition is real. Depth isn’t the M.O., as all three artists keep it ‘S&S’ – shallow and simple. The vibe is nice, while the length – four-and-a-half-minutes – is not. “Stare” arrives next, featuring Pharrell Williams and Wiz Khalifa. The impact of Williams is instantly perceptible upon hearing the production work, which contrasts everything that precedes or follows. Like “Don’t Sleep on Me,” the vibe is killer. The length – shy of five minutes – isn’t. Williams does deserve a shout-out for the distinct hook.
“So Am I”
Following interlude “Famous Friends,” “So Am I” actually plays out better in the context of Beach House 3 than it did as a promo single. It’s still an odd record, but it grows on you. The sound has tropical and reggae cues, expected given the appearance of Damian Marley. The sounds keep the listeners “on their toes,” thanks to the experimental vibes of Skrillex. Eccentric and quirky, there is a charm and intrigue about “So Am I.” Still, won’t be for everybody.
On “Lil Favorite,” Ty Dolla $ign wants only one girl – his Lil Favorite. Even though he’s had a reputation in the past, he asserts, “I’m don with chasin’ love, I’m f*ckin’ with you only / I’m tryna make it so I’m down and up your homie.” He gets a brief, but sick verse from MadeinTYO.
“In Your Phone” pairs Ty Dolla $ign with Lauren Jauregui, giving the Fifth Harmony star another high-profile collaboration in 2017. Slickly produced, anchored by trap percussion, the ear candy is real. Vocally, both parties bring the heat, particularly the sexy pipes of Jauregui. “All the Time” has a bit of Jekyll and Hyde going on. After delivering a thoughtful, expressive, clean-cut chorus, Ty Dolla $ign goes a bit harder on the verses. Even if he could use some “soap and water,” it’s a pleasant, brief joint.
“Famous Amy” precedes the tropically-infused, danceable “Side Effects.” Short like most of Beach House 3, it’s sweet enough. “Message in a Bottle,” is the final full-length song, sandwiched between interludes “Famous Last Words” and “Nate Howard Intro.” “Message in a Bottle” is beautiful, showcasing the distinct, gruff vocal tone of Ty Dolla $ign. The background vocal harmonies truly make it pop.
All in all, Beach House 3 is a relatively big album that has some fine, enjoyable musical moments. While 20 songs is ‘pushing it,’ the album only clocks in at 51 minutes, which isn’t too shabby. Not every experiment works throughout the course of Beach House 3, but Ty Dolla $ign remains a restless, compelling artist, and this album showcases his versatility.
Gems: “Love U Better,” “Ex,” “Droptop in the Rain,” “Don’t Judge Me,” “Dawsin’s Breek” & “Message in a Bottle”