Above being a producer or a sound designer, Lido categorises himself first and foremost as a musician. The difference is crafted in his debut album, Everything, which epitomises the stages of human emotions following a breakup.
Loaded with themes that draw on angst, vulnerability, desire and sex, the album blends contemporary hip-hop, R&B and electronica with harmonious orchestral influences.
Similar to his prior works, which consist of an entire remix of Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, appropriately retitled The Life of Peder, the well-received I Love You EP, and collaborative works alongside Zhu, Towkio, and Chance the Rapper, the album is a fresh take on the hip-hop-electronica crossover.
The production is inventive and unconstrained, keeping with Lido’s frenzied approach of cuts and clips and bass climaxes, musically crafting a personal journey through heartbreak via synths and horns that’ll effectively deliver blows to your heart.
The album begins with a soft exchange between two lovers, carrying an emotionally charged undertone that, to the listener, almost casts a sense of intrusiveness in its intimacy.
Immediately, however, that affinity is swept up into a buzzing storm of Lido’s emotional turmoil—his ‘catharsis’.
Pointing out that “the album starts with an end”, Lido fittingly titles the second track Murder, the lyrics on which, like the first track, are minimal.
This is hardly a drawback seeing as Murder is one of the album’s strongest tracks in terms of production and mixing (think chopped-up, pitched, and looped vocal samples, 808’s, and melodious synths and bells).
Where they do appear, their simplicity absolutely hits the mark in terms of conveying the torment behind love’s trials and tribulations: “We woke up in the clothes we were born in / the echoes in the wall of you moaning / and all that I can think in this moment / is I tried”.
His lyrics do have a tendency to distract as confusing elements on other parts of the album, the strangest of which appear on Dye: “I would dye if you would dye your hair”.
Like a handful of other one-liners on the album (see Only One and Tell Me How to Feel, “Depression is infectious and it’s awesome”), we are left to infer what sort of deeper meaning is being conveyed, if at all.
Intentionally vague, the appeal is more in their undisclosed implications surrounding love loss—an intensely personal and endless hat to draw from.
Citi Bike is an addictive, stand-out track that is intoxicating in its self-indulgent lyrics and dipping vocal pitches, serving as the emotional climax of the record.
But where Citi Bike illustrates Lido standing on the ledge of psychological madness, Only One is him taking a step back and retreating to something more rational.
Possessing a kinder, gentler expression of vulnerability vis-à-vis a soulful, “jazzy ass beat”, Only One signifies both a necessary break in the album and a shift in how emotions evolve during heartbreak.
Things get a bit too stripped back at You Lost Your Keys, which aims to be personal in its solo vocal and piano elements, yet fails to compose an engaging enough melody to hold your attention for the entire length of the five-minute song.
We’re drawn back in by Angel, which entices with its serene opening of strings, woodwinds and harps, invoking themes of heaven, hell, and salvation.
As one of the more intimate tracks on the album, Lido dives to a length of emotional and lyrical maturity beyond the angst and chaos that characterised most of the record thus far.
With Angel, the female in question is afforded an ethereal persona and more virtuous dimension that finally portrays her as something beyond a punching bag for Lido’s projections of anguish: “While you’re walking on water, there’s a cloud on my head / In the pouring rain with an 808 on my chest / I confess, I should’ve never let you down here”.
From start to finish, Angel is a beautiful track that blends both soft and hard elements of chimes and strings with exploding bass and synths seamlessly, accomplishing a much more complete and profound reflection on heartbreak.
The female vocals on the album, though few and far between, tell a compelling, contrasting story with both their pitches and lyrical perspectives.
We get that, for instance, in the appearance of Halsey’s seductive voicing of “everything”, symbolically scattered across multiple tracks, and again with Astrid S closing out the last track Tell Me How to Feel.
Her verse imposes questions we’ve all asked at some point following a breakup and perhaps never found an answer for: “What if I said… I could love you better? / What if everything’s not everything?”.
The unresolved finish of the album is somehow fitting in the way it’s crafted to be open-ended; is it Lido asking, or an entirely new flame? Either way, it stings.
Everything’s melodramatic depiction of heartbreak is at times childish and irrational, but maybe that’s the point. The album itself is, for the most part, a triumphant success in terms of artistic ingenuity as the emotional depth is mostly found in the layers and layers of instrumental detail.
Uncovering a new detail in the music corresponds to uncovering a new layer or stage of emotion. “Hopefully, you’ll just take some sort of feeling away that this is honest”, Lido says, which is precisely what elevates the album to something truly gripping.
Lido’s ‘Everything’ is available to stream now on Spotify and Apple Music
Featured image by Davide Cambria, design by Mark Gierl.