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17: The Painful Work of an Anguished Soul

Bojan Zeric, Reporter

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Those who know Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, in art XXXTENTACION, for his most well-known trap song Look at me! will be surprised to hear his debut studio album 17. Charting at number 2 of the US Billboard, 17 abandons trap to explore new sounds and genres, mostly acoustic and, as Onfroy himself recently stated in interview, tries with its lyrics to reach the soul of those who need help. “This one is for the depression, for the depressed ones, for the lost ones”. The whole album is about twenty-two minutes long and each of the eleven tracks is under three minutes; some of them do not even reach two minutes.

“17. My collection of nightmares, thoughts and real life situations I’ve lived”, with a broken, trembling voice Onfroy starts off with the first introductory track, The Explanation – a recording of the singer’s voice expounding upon the meaning of the album. “Here is my pain and thoughts put into words. I put my all into this, in the hope that it will help cure or at least numb your depression. […] Enjoy.”

The first one of these thoughts and nightmares, Jocelyn Flores, is dedicated to a friend of Onfroy, Jocelyn Flores, who committed suicide before he began working on this album. Her spirit will always be alive, he says. In Depression and Obsession, accompanied by only a guitar, Onfroy describes these two feelings as poisonous for the body, especially when they come together, and in Everybody Dies in their Nightmares he enters the mind of a person with suicidal tendencies while a background voice repeats to stay awake and not sleep, a message to all the depressed ones to carry on and not lose their mind. In Revenge, which is also the lead single of the album, again accompanied by only a guitar, Onfroy accuses society for shaping him as a vengeful person and promises revenge to all the obstacles life has put in front of him. In Save Me, he cries out for help; “Save me, I don’t want to be alone/So save me, I don’t want to fall”, and then he dedicates Dead Inside, Carry On, F**k Love to his ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala, who, as he remarks, has brought him nothing but pain. The penultimate track is Orlando, a song about the concept of death; Onfroy comes close to the end and looks back at his life, realising it’s all been insignificant and meaningless. The album finishes with Ayala, again dedicated to his ex-girlfriend and vividly describing the pain she has caused him to go through.

The album received highly positive reviews from both audience and critics. Its musical diversity, production and lyrics have been plauded, and even if someone has criticized the repeating references to Onfroy’s ex-girlfriend, the album is currently occupying the first positions in many countries. Most of the songs are also firmly placed in the top 100 US Billboard, with Jocelyn Flores peaking on the 31st position, three positions higher than Look at me! when it was released.

XXXTENTACION has said that despite a few legal and personal issues, he is already working on his next project, with updates to follow.

TRACKLIST OF 17:

The Explanation – 0:50
Jocelyn Flores – 1:59
Depression & Obsession – 2:24
Everybody Dies in Their Nightmares – 1:35
Revenge – 2:00
Save Me – 2:43
Dead Inside (Interlude) – 1:26
F**k Love (feat. Trippie Redd) – 2:26
Carry On – 2:10
Orlando – 2:43
Ayala (Outro) – 1:39

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17: The Painful Work of an Anguished Soul