Rhyme Report

Published on April 27th, 2020 | by Guest Contributor


Ollie Drops New Album ‘Maybe This Was Supposed To Happen’

After The Eminem Show, 808s and Heartbreaks, Drake and Lil Peep comes another chapter in the evolution of ‘sad rap’ – this time a new kind of suburban heartbreak music where beats and autotune share the mix with piano and acoustic guitar. If, like this reviewer, you find most of this stuff – especially Ali Gatie – a little watery, then Ollie is everything you’ve been waiting for.

Not so long ago Denton ‘Ollie’ Oliver was just a happy-go-lucky kid-athlete enjoying all the pleasures of suburban Toronto. Fortunately for us, however, after surviving a horrific car crash the Canadian turned to music in order to deal with his new reality. Four years in the making, Maybe It Was Supposed to Happen is fundamentally the story of his recovery and it’s very, very good – an accomplished, fully realised and beautifully constructed feast of upmarket rap, mournful RnB and singer-songwriter balladry which also happens to be a deeply moving meditation on depression.

‘You and I’ channels both an anguished Eminem and 90s suer-producer Baby Face, while  Good Enough is early Drake had Drake been through some actual hardship. Featuring rising star Chris Yonge, ‘Changes’ is Post-Malone but several shades darker, and peaks with a simple, poignant confession that lingers long in the memory: “I’m so afraid of going through changes /  Does anyone feel the same?” But ’Broken Down’ is Ollie at his most despairing. Rapping over a hauntingly spare guitar line, the Canadian pleads from his bedroom “Im losing the light / I really wish I was normal.”

It’s the type of album where, even at its most leavened, the pain is always just beneath the surface. ‘Eyes’ is a casual joy – a spritely, hazy summer love song that makes you happy. But listen closely and it could also be read as a fading memory of happier times on campus.

The twist is – it’s also great pop music. Every track comes loaded with catchy melodies, great choruses and a poetic turn of phrase. He describes finally finding love as “a perfect landing” on the eponymous track, while on ‘Walls’ he has this to say on relationships: “A good man doesn’t love a million girls, he loves one girl a million ways”.

Ollie’s new album ‘Maybe This Was Supposed To Happen’ is out now on BMG Records

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