Review of Bryson Tiller’s New Album, Anniversary

Bryson Tiller is a Kentucky-born R&B singer, songwriter and rapper. His career began in 2011 with the release of his first mixtape “Killer Instinct Vol. 1,” which earned him reasonable recognition from the general public and early approval from artists like Timbaland and Drake. Tiller’s prompt rise to fame began with the release of the single “Don’t” in 2015, which peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and put him on the map of new and rising R&B artists. His musical style, which Tiller himself describes as “trap and hip hop-influenced R&B,” has appealed to many and seemed quite promising to many critics. Following the release of groundbreaking “Don’t,” Tiller released “Trapsoul,” a collection of 14 songs that exploded in popularity, earning him a number 8 spot at Billboard 200 and coming close to making him a household name.  

And here we are, five years after the release of Tiller’s widely successful album “True to Self,” a deluxe version of “Trapsoul.” With numerous features with artists such as DJ Snake, Jack Harlow, Playboi Carti and Travis Scott, Bryson Tiller released his widely anticipated record, “Anniversary.” 

“Anniversary” is a 10-song record, that does not disappoint and certainly brings the nostalgia and sentimentality from Tiller’s “Trapsoul.” The album doesn’t act as an experimental piece of work for Tiller and still carries the trap-influenced R&B aesthetic that he has cultivated. The lack of experimentation and features on the album doesn’t underwhelm and at the same time doesn’t amaze. “Anniversary” follows a pretty consistent musical theme and while it may sound perfect enough for a Bryson Tiller fan, doesn’t go as far as to become an astounding R&B phenomenon. The record is packed with well-produced songs but doesn’t satisfy the hunger for sentimental lyrics and doesn’t make any particular song that stands out. Even the song “Outta Time,” to an extent, wastes Drake’s talent on a completely forgettable beat and lyrics and doesn’t remotely make it the hit it was supposed to be. 

The best songs on the album could include songs like “Things Change,” with an interesting beat switch followed by Tiller’s hip-hop style verse, “Timeless Interlude,” with its very pleasant instrumental, and “Always Forever,” a single he released in late September that features some of his best production since “Trapsoul.” 

The cover of the album very much resembles the cover of “Trapsoul” and was likely meant to act as a continuation of the acclaimed project. Unfortunately, “Anniversary” doesn’t come too close to Tiller’s debut album and mostly presents mediocre work. It was expected that Tiller would grow as an artist, but instead he attempts to pay homage his previous successes and tries what has already worked before, which turns out to be a poor strategy when it comes to growing an audience and evolving the newly formed genre of trap-influenced R&B. For that, “Anniversary” gets a 5/10 rating. 

About The Author

Maksim Sokolov

Sokolov (Business '24) is part of the Vector writing, layouts, and graphic design team. "Hey! My name is Maxim, I'm a freshman here at NJIT, studying business. I'm an aspiring graphic designer and have big ambitions in the industry. In my free time, I enjoy going to the gym (bodybuilding/strongman), reading non-fiction (philosophy/business), and expanding my taste in music."

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