R.LUM.R.’s major-label debut, Surfacing, breaks the Nashville-residing free of any boxes folks may’ve wanted to put him in between his breakthrough track, “Frustrated,” and now. He masterfully treads the line between The Weeknd, Miguel, and old-school soul and R&B. R.LUM.R. can be playful, then switch up for dark, moody introspective lines at a moment’s notice. That tonal whiplash seems like it’d become grating. Truthfully, for many projects, it would be. I’d turn it off and move on to something more cohesive. However, that very whiplash kept me intrigued by Surfacing and also allowed it to become more cohesive.
The album, which clocks in at just under 37 minutes, features R.LUM.R. crooning about his need for trust and honesty, his insecurities in relationships, and the weight boys and men feel due to toxic tendencies and ideas. The placement of the previously-covered “Boys Should Never Cry” and “What If I (Still Feel)” hammers this point home, as one lists things men “shouldn’t do” to be considered “men,” while “Feel” overflows with the emotions boys “shouldn’t feel.” The album, for me, is R.LUM.R telling us “yes, I’m flawed and I have my problems. We all do. However, let’s heal and heal together. Let’s all surface from the waters of insecurities and darkness.”
Check out the project below and remember to support dope music in all its forms.