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S-X Documents The Tribulations of Relationships on Debut Album, ‘Things Change’ [REVIEW]

Mixtape Madness Team

By Mixtape Madness Team

Mixtape Madness Team

29 Jul 2022

S-X is a man of many talents from Wolverhampton, who has come a long way since he produced the much loved Grime instrumental ‘Woo Riddim.’ In our recent interview we found that he’s come on a journey and after producing for the likes of Skepta and Childish Gambino to making hits with KSI, he’s now finally ready to drop his debut album.

After the release of 4 mixtapes and 1 EP, it appears like he’s finally found his best material on ‘things change.’ With a documentation of a relationship he was in and its breakdown, mixed in with some mentions of personal issues, it’s his most personal material to date.

The first leg of the album gives us a lot of synthy, 80s vibes, whether that be album opener “walk for me” or one of the big singles “locked out” with KSI. Both these tracks introduce us to this tumultuous relationship with S-X showing the doubt he feels, but also the fear of losing this love. KSI is one of two features here, showing the very personal nature of the project and he fits the tone nicely with his ballad-like, autotuned delivery of his own relationship issues.

need to know” shows us Sam at his high range against these erratic synths, to highlight the loneliness he feels when this person is not beside him, as well as personal insecurities. “it’s over now” gives us a House-inspired cut that also takes influences from Hip-Hop and synth-wave, showing us the production qualities, as well as his vocal chops.

After setting things up, we see him hit the realisation that he needs to move on from this relationship. The tracks here are much shorter and can like the short, but sweet “owe me” or they can leave me indifferent such as “his problem now” with its very poppy, ballad feeling like something for the mainstream. Still, the personalised lyricism was impressive.

The second half of the record is my favourite and goes in with “expensive,” as the lyrics come at you from the get-go over this Trap production. S-X appears to be moving on here and bigging up himself, which continues on my personal favourite “going through.” The murky-trap production with its blaring synths blows you away and matches well with the heavily autotuned delivery. You can hear the confidence and emotion in Sam’s lyrics as it appears this girl wants him, but he doesn’t think they should pursue anything further than casual relations.

It appeared that our protagonist was moving on, but “like I would” and “islands” say otherwise. Both feel connected to one another, especially at the last minute of the former going into the latter. The guitar-ballad instrumental of “like I would” matches the emotional and high notes of his singing, while “islands” uses a more dance-pop sound, that doesn’t feel as interesting or experimental as other instrumentals on the album. Although, the more braggadocio discussion of where he can take this girl is a nice change of pace, that keep things fresh.

With the single “all night,” I have mixed views due to a disappointing and short contribution from Trippie Redd. S-X steals the show with his impassioned delivery, returning to the more spacey, 80s sound. Here he reflects on how he has the money, but it’s the girl he wants, highlighting this relationship of ups and downs is the constant issue in his life.

Things conclude on the final three tracks, as S-X realises he needs to move on for his own sake. Mixing the spacey and guitar-ballad sounds together, “get it right” starts with him singing about his pain, before rapping in an aggressive manner as he starts to understand that it’s time to end things and that she is not the person she said she was. The production takes centre stage on “who we are,” with the kick drums reminding me of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” The higher-pitched singing and the bassy synths indicate the emotional trauma, as Sam struggles to let go.

Finally, “it’s enough” lays it all on the table over a straight Trap beat, highlighting the lyrical content. Sam is moving on, because as he puts it “You say you miss the old me, but I don’t know him no more.” A fitting conclusion to the album and this tale of the breakdown of love.

This is easy to see why this was the debut album from S-X. Taking his production qualities and putting together this tale of toxic love, makes for a cinema-esque experience. The beats can be amazing and at times just ok, while I would have loved Sam to explore more into the issues of self-worth he touches on throughout the album. But, as far as debut albums go, ‘things change’ is pretty good and shows that Sam is a man who can tell an intriguing story and express his emotions vividly.

S-X is on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok

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