Review | Lil Uzi Vert - Eternal Atake
From Soundcloud favourite to mainstream rockstar, Lil Uzi Vert returns, with Eternal Atake finally reaching Earth’s atmosphere.
In July 2018, Eternal Atake was first announced via Twitter and its completion was later teased to fans in December 2018. Fast forward to March 2020, after revisions, leaked snippets, claims of retirement and label woes, Lil Uzi Vert is just as excited as us for his newest effort to finally be out. Since his last project, Luv Is Rage 2, there was a growing expectation that the Philadelphia rapper’s sophomore album would represent a marked evolution in Uzi’s sound. At our first official glimpse of Eternal Atake through “Futsal Shuffle 2020”, the uniqueness of the album seemed hopeful, however, this was somewhat short-lived.
Lil Uzi Vert welcomes us to Eternal Atake by introducing us to one of his new personas and the title of the opening track, “Baby Pluto”. Wasting no time, Uzi jumps straight into the rapping but still leaves us in anticipation. If waiting years for this album wasn’t enough, he makes us wait just that little longer before the drums enter and truly give us an introduction to Eternal Atake. The Baby Pluto persona continues through to track five, “Homecoming”, with the energy remaining high in between. “Lo Mein” demonstrates Uzi’s ease of flow switching and “Silly Watch” features Uzi bragging with a point to prove. “POP” and “You Better Move” raise the energy with Uzi’s ignorant and unapologetic aura shining through the spacey production and ray gun sample. Across this first section, we’re lucky to keep up with Uzi’s breathless rapping as if he’s making up for the lost time. Even though “Homecoming” is the weakest thus far, you could only imagine how insane these first six tracks would be live.
It’s not until “I’m Sorry” that we get a moment to breathe and the melodic side of Uzi eases in. The bubbly production and first glance at Uzi’s second persona, Orenji, is enjoyable in the context of the album but it’s difficult to see it reaching further. On the other hand, “Celebration Station” is a better show of Uzi’s melodic ability. The outro skits littered throughout the album deliver a narrative and compliment the album’s aesthetic, with the first six songs show the chaos of Uzi being abducted and taken to space. Now, he explores his alien surroundings in a transitory moment of space. On every listen, “Bigger Than Life” continues to develop with the use of electric guitar and a subtle choir making this one of the highlights of Eternal Atake. The choir lives on in tracks like “Chrome Heart Tags”, “Bust Me” and “Prices”, but doesn’t quite execute this as successfully as “Bigger Than Life”. The Philadelphia rapper has been a pioneer in the era of braggadocious Trap and still one of the few and first to make it so creative and fun. Personally, if Uzi was looking to make this album shorter, here is where it could’ve been done. Though the album paces well, it’s in the middle of the album where it starts to become noticeable. Ending the Orenji era of Eternal Atake, “Urgency” offers the album’s only feature, Syd from The Internet. The drums bounce and thrive under Uzi’s reverbed singing before Syd’s verse stands out almost like an alien angel.
“Venetia” is Lil Uzi’s entrance and though it’s reminiscent of his older work, the second half of the album is the less memorable. Besides brief moments on “Secure The Bag”, with the crooning chorus line “I was on a roll”, the album-length takes its toll. Unexpectedly, “P2” is a bold sequel to Lil Uzi Vert’s most popular song, “XO TOUR Lif3”. It’s impossible not to respect Uzi’s cockiness, being brave enough to even try to follow up such a song, but even more so to do it fairly well. A similar instrumental and melody to his 2017 hit, the verses of “P2” see Uzi at his most vulnerable place on the album. The original chorus is far superior but the nostalgic and intimate “P2” is a special moment. Closing out the album is the Tik Tok challenge inspiring “Futsal Shuffle 2020” and “That Way”, that interpolates “I Want It That Way” by Backstreet Boys. It’s an energetic finish to the album where Uzi’s enthusiasm keeps him comfortably in his element.
Eternal Atake is a major moment in Lil Uzi Vert’s career, though it’s not where he shines brightest. The hype and expectations created from the album’s delays play a strong role in how his sophomore effort has been received. It’s obvious the delays additionally played an important role in Eternal Atake’s creation, with Lil Uzi Vert consistently bringing an exhilarating burst of energy and frustration on every track. If you deconstruct Eternal Atake into bite-sized chunks you get an upbeat and generally enjoyable experience. Though the production is top tier, it lacks range and quickly becomes tedious alongside the stagnant style of lyrics. With his creativity and delivery breathing life into his tracks, variety and a more concise tracklist would’ve elevated the overall album. The thing is, it’s not that any of the songs are noticeably bad. Whilst “I’m Sorry” may have an underwhelming hook and “Lo Mein” is largely forgettable, each song is fun and enjoyable to listen to. However, throwing this album on repeat gets you lost in endless trap instrumentals and a voice of Uzi’s that is almost void of character compared to his style on 2016’s Lil Uzi Vert vs the World. His character comes out through his personas that thankfully help the lack of features go almost unnoticed, but it’s hard not to be excited for the rumoured deluxe version with features from Young Thug, Future, Lil Baby and more. Even still, the deluxe version won’t bring this album outside of being anything other than a reliable trap album that’s never too ambitious or groundbreaking, but never lacking energy and enthusiasm.
Best songs: Baby Pluto, Silly Watch.
Worst song: Lo Mein.