For budding new wave star Weiland, it’s the “Vices” that make us who we are. While the 22-year-old Tampa native’s rise to fame has been coupled with catchy cuts and viral moments alike, his cult following is what really keeps him in tune.
Similar to that of Slayworld and Twizzy Rich’s audiences, Weiland’s underground stardom is defined by the legion of tech-savvy fans that flock to document his every waking moment. His latest album Vices, however, is something that Weiland’s ride-or-dies didn’t expect — shifting his sound from the melodic chaos of internet era hip-hop for the better.
Inspired by the likes of Kanye West and Daft Punk, his affinity for layered autotune vocals and experimental post-modern production stems from his October 2021 single “Heart Stop.” Signed to Steven Victor’s coveted label Victor Victor Worldwide in 2020, Weiland’s pursuit to push for the sound he’s always wanted not only comes from star-powered industry backing, but also a cautionary tale.
Many artists haven’t had the pleasure of switching genres in their favor. While Tory Lanez earned roaring reception for his ‘80s-themed album Alone At Prom, Machine Gun Kelly going back to rap was quickly subject to jokes, memes and overall dismay from fans who have come to appreciate his efforts as pop-punk’s mainstream face. Weiland, though, lies somehwere in the middle, as Vices is a true depiction of his influences — unwavering of outside noise and naysaying keyboard warriors. His fans are a special kind of dedicated, going to battle for him relentlessly as stardom stares Weiland in the face just inches away.
Over the course of 12 tracks, Weiland’s ability to cast hooks like spells in your head is what makes Vices an easy pick-up for all listeners. Recruiting the legendary Mike Dean on the synth-heavy “Blaming Myself,” Dean’s fingerprints are evidently all over the record. Alongside close collaborator in Alabama-based producer FISH (Jarrod Fisher), their sonic chemistry is apparent on “Broken Ego,” “Still Chasing After Happiness” and the instant album highlight “Dangerous Woman.”
“It’s about how I feel trapped by all of my vices — living with intruding existential thoughts, depersonalization and anxiety, the feeling of loneliness. All the negatives. I believe it’ll give people who feel similar to me a sound to relate to and not feel alone.”Weiland to HighSnobiety
Self-produced offerings in “All The Same” and “Mellotron” further delve into Weiland’s transportive sound and sultry production chops — proving himself to be a pure multi-hyphenate in every regard. On other tracks like “Can’t Save Her,” FISH and Weiland really flex their dynamic energy behind the boards, as the latter croons about how love “can make or break you” and how “her promiscuous behavior” skews his attitude towards his love interest.
Sounding as if he’s shouting down the depths of the void he’s slipped in with his hand outstretched, Weiland’s uncanny use of reverb and vocal layers on his latest effort incites a jarring yet homey feeling. Although sounds of the ‘80s are littered throughout Vices, it isn’t disastrous or in poor taste — nimbly building off the era’s warm synth textures, electro-pop bounce and warped, arpeggiated leads with ease.
“I believe we’re hitting a point in our culture where 100 percent originality is becoming a hard thing to obtain. We’re going to revisit the past while doing things in a postmodernist way. That’s what I’d label my style for anything I do. Basically building something new out of references from others’ work.”Weiland on his musical style
Sounds found in Duran Duran’s “Rio” or Daft Punk’s “Make Love” are easily comparable to those on tracks like “Hard Time” and “Slipping Into The Void.” Even so, Weiland is able to channel every one of his inspirations in small doses — spreading them out all over the LP’s atmospheric and nostalgic allure.
Vices is a time capsule built from both eras — and thanks to FISH and Mike Dean’s expert curation — it’s truly the “auteur music” Weiland willed into existence.
Listen to Weiland’s ‘Vices’ below!