Steve Lacy – “Playground”

Steve Lacy is doing the absolute most on Apollo XXI, my word!

Singer, songwriter, producer, and guitarist Steve Lacy is a young LA artist with immense musical talent. A member of the super dope R&B band The Internet, Lacy has been on the rise over the past few years, dropping four albums with the group and producing for artists like Kendrick Lamar, Denzel Curry, and Solange, This past summer Lacy released Apollo XXI, his solo debut. I’ve got to say, the record has been growing on me.

Apollo XXI is a kaleidoscopic piece of work. I can pull out influences from legendary R&B, funk, and soul acts like Prince, Stevie Wonder, Sly & the Family Stone, and P-Funk, as Lacy gathers inspiration from the past but takes a bold step into the future. The album meanders, exploring a wealth of moods, ideas, and soundscapes. There’s a lot here to chew on, and Lacy’s experimentation and exploration is subdued, but damned fascinating. Each song is like a vignette of sorts, and while it may not be fully complete, it’ll definitely leaves an impression. I’m still awed that Lacy is only 21 and got his start creating songs on his iPhone in his teens. He’s got a bright future ahead.

It took me a moment to really get into Apollo, but “Playground” was heat rock from the jump. Sonically, this listen is every bit as bouncy, fun, and youthful as the title hints. The subject matter is a little more uneasy though, as Lacy calls out a former flame who has played him one too many times. The bass work, the ’60s pop-ish flair, and Lacy’s terrific falsetto had kept this one on repeat for me for weeks. Not bad at all.