A tried and true melodic wit is one of the few things in this world that I would undisputedly deem recession-proof, and it takes an artist like Justin Love to demonstrate this point time and time again. In Love’s potent new single, titled “No Friends,” we don’t hear a rapper playing to the fundamentals of what pop is supposed to sound, feel and look like in the year 2023, but instead someone committed to the notion of melodic communication more than he is the styling of his expressions. It adds up to an uncut performance from a talent untethered to trends, which is always an unmissable one in my book.
First off, I dig how soft the melodies are in this track even though they’re enormous in the big picture of the instrumentation. The synthetic element can barely withstand the volume capacity afforded to the other parts, and still, we get this sense of fragility from their harmony with Love that couldn’t have been rendered from anything else I can think of. It’s the opposite of overthinking; truthfully, I feel like this is the most natural we’ve seen this songwriter look since dropping his debut not too long ago.
Justin Love never has to belt out any of his words with excessive might in this song – frankly, his relaxed attitude mirrors that of the texture’s role in the mix here. There’s strength in several quiet forces coming together to create clandestine chaos, and this has perhaps never been demonstrated quite as concisely within a discography outside of this single. This guy’s artistry is a very outside-of-the-box profile from where I sit, and if you’re curious about whether or not you’re going to be into what the rest of his body of work consists of, “No Friends” is something you need to check out first.
Despite the surreally introverted sound of his peers, Justin Love doesn’t shift from the trajectory he started off on with the release of his scene’s most lauded work in the past few years. He has absolutely no interest in blending in with the crowd or trying to fit in with what someone else’s contemporary rapper is supposed to be; in “No Friends,” he declares that peace is on its way and ready to embrace us if you’re willing to give it a chance, and no matter how you interpret the poetic elements of his words, there’s no debating whether or not his heart is in this narrative completely. I’ll be looking out for more of his work in the future, and while this is a new high for his career as I’ve come to know it, I would have a very hard time believing that he won’t be able to top what he’s accomplished in “No Friends.”
He’s boasting top-notch talent, and that isn’t arguable after hearing this song and taking a closer look at the man behind the music, who is most definitely just getting started in terms of his creative evolution in and outside of the studio.