Few artists captivate as easily and often as Oliver Tree. Part-time living meme, part-time professional scooter enthusiast, part-time JNCO jean brand ambassador, and full-time alternative auteur, the internet personality and musician continues his difficult to define, albeit easy to lose yourself in, adventure with his long-awaited debut album, Ugly is Beautiful.
The highly-anticipated debut album, which was delayed twice - once "OFFICIALLY CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19" and thereafter delayed in deference to ongoing protests of systemic racism across the world - certainly proves itself to be worth the wait. Over the course of fourteen tracks, Tree makes his way through a range of genres, from alternative, hip-hop, pop punk, to electronic with a sense of reckless abandon that is nothing if not infectious.
The one constant thread that connects Ugly is Beautiful's constant series of twists and turns is Tree, who helms each sudden departure with an impressive musical wit, never allowing one to take any moment too seriously or play anything off as a joke. "Bury Me Alive," for instance, with its impressive Beastie Boys-evoking in-your-face bravado, rapid-fire delivery, and melodic breakdown stands as a testament to Tree's insatiable depth.
Ugly is Beautiful is brimming with such nostalgia-inducing yet daring flashes of genius. Whether it in be in the equally downtrodden "Jerk" and "Introspective" or in the anti-pop radio contender "Waste My Time," each new track and subsequent mood shift feels less like an act and more like we are catching a glimpse at another piece of the puzzle that comprises the wildly audacious persona of Tree.
The only time Tree feels readily familiar is on previously-released standout singles "Let Me Down," "Alien Boy," and "Hurt." And even here, he feels like a breath of air in a music industry that seems to trade in genuine talent for novel, marketable risk or vice versa. Tree, on the other hand, leverages both to their fullest, delivering a rapturous vision that is solely his.
Listen to Ugly is Beautiful below: