Lauv looks back on life, drugs on 'All 4 Nothing' | ALB UM REVIEW – RIFF

Lauv, “All 4 Nothing.”
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The music of Lauv has largely been defined through ultra-modern pop beats and snappy lyrical pairings, and it’s further punctuated by an aesthetic alluding to bursts of color. Even his breakthrough single, “I Like Me Better,” felt this way and the vibe’s been repeatedly reinforced through videos and album art. His second album, All 4 Nothing, follows in this same vein, though it feels more fine-tuned and carefully composed.
All 4 Nothing
Lauv
Virgin, Aug. 5
7/10
His ability to write music feels endless—between his debut compilation playlist and first album, he has a whopping 38 tracks. Fortunately, for the sake of being able to really digest his music, the new album only has 13, clocking in just under 40 minutes. There’s more time to think about each song and feel where the inspiration came from.
The artist, whose name is Ari Staprans Leff, made a smart decision to begin the album with “26,” a song with a bubbling electronic beat and drums that soon pick up to keep the pace. As Lauv reaches his late twenties, he’s looking back on decisions and relationships that still impact his mindset today. “He made a couple songs and they got big/ He thought that he could do whatever he wanted/ But it all left him with a hole in his heart,” he sings during the opening verse. He concludes that perhaps money does buy happiness, but what it doesn’t do is buy you more time than anyone else.

The rest of the album is filled with short tracks—only a few even crossing the three-minute mark—discussing past relationships, places he’s seen and drugs he’s experimented with. “Molly in Mexico” finds him using the feminine first name to reminisce on traversing the country with a girl while on MDMA. The fuzzy beat supports his slightly AutoTuned vocals that repeat the hook until the song comes to a quick finish.
He employs the bubblegum pop style of LANY on “All 4 Nothing (I’m So In Love),” where he talks about struggling to come to terms with a crumbling relationship and how his time spent with a soon-to-be ex is culminating in them parting ways.
When his voice isn’t electronically altered, Lauv sounds like Troye Sivan, who was featured on “i’m so tired…” His vocals are subdued and he rarely pushes it into vocal runs or very impressive performances, though this actually works well with the style of his succinct and catchy hooks. You can hear his voice in its more primal state on tracks like “Hey Ari,” over a less electronically produced beat and acoustic guitar.
During “Kids Are Born Stars,” he talks about a relationship that began years prior—before DMing overtook IMing. It features a bridge where he encourages a young child named Joshua to say “I’m gonna be a really big star.” It’s somewhat cheesy, but maybe that’s the whole point.

There are plenty more drug references through songs like “Bad Trip,” where mid-tempo drumming follows his narrative of wondering how people would ever claim there’s no such thing as a bad time doing drugs—if he feels the way he does.
Then on “Better Than This,” Lauv expresses wishing he was stoned over being stuck inside his thoughts. It’s one of the album’s best songs, recalling the styles of his compilation, I Met You When I Was 18 (The Playlist). It begins with another soft pop mid-tempo beat before he sings about regretting the way he treated his partner during a past relationship. “I know that sometimes you’re hurting and I’m the source,” he sings, introspectively, wondering if he should have tried harder to make the relationship work.
In terms of albums, All 4 Nothing, is Lauv’s best; it feels both organized and like it was created with a centralized purpose. Though it may not have the best songs he’s ever released, if you’re a fan, you’ll find no real faults here.
Follow Domenic Strazzabosco at Twitter.com/domenicstrazz and Instagram.com/domenicstrazz
Domenic Strazzabosco is an editor and music critic. He graduated from San Francisco State University, studying cinema and journalism. Strazzabosco covered European Union politics while studying abroad in Denmark, and currently edits and curates for HubPages’ travel section.
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