A Conversation on Steve Lacy’s “Apollo XXI”

by Trevor Jones and Ellie Riser

Following a few years of hype, Steve Lacy finally dropped his debut album, on his 21st birthday, hence its name.

*This conversation has been edited for better fluency.

Only If

T: I’m not sure if this is a sitar or not, but I like it a lot.

E: I love it. This song is super short, but it’s such a great intro. His vocals are so smooth.

T: I thought this album as a whole was going to be mostly R&B, but many tracks drift toward the rock genre. Steve Lacy is sort of developing into a mixture of Mac Demarco and Frank Ocean.

E: [Steve] also brings a lot of retro sounds to his music. With his experience with The Internet it makes sense.



Like Me (feat. DAISY)

E: The first part is really personal lyrically, and the rest of the track focuses on how it sounds. But I did lose interest because its 9 minutes.

T: Yeah I agree, I like this one too but it’d be more effective if it were split up into 3 separate tracks. I like this part a lot [at 5:36]. It doesn’t sound like anything he’s done before. Super synthy.

E: He and Tyler [the, Creator] are close. It’s cool how their sounds rub off on each other.




T: This song grew on me a lot. Heavy Prince vibes.

E: His vocals are a little harsh, but he shows what he can do with his voice on this one and the rest of the album.



Basement Jack

E: This and “Hate CD” caught my attention on my first listen.

T: I think it’s my favorite track. The lyrics are pretty minimal, but the production is really catchy.

E:  Yeah, you can see how the album is tied together.  “Playground” this song, and “Guide” are all pretty lighthearted.


T: Again with “Guide”, a very poppy/Prince-y thing.  I like the outro/chorus part a lot [1:47]. I didn’t know that he had such a vocal range. On the demo/EP, he didn’t really try out different styles.

E:  “Playground” was a good single to put out to show that this wouldn’t be like anything he’s done before.


Lay Me Down

E: This one is my favorite. The vocals are so much smoother than “Playground/Guide’s”. At this point in the album, the lyrics/tone become more focused.  

T:  I agree


Hate CD
T: Compared to his Internet, Soundcloud, and Demo, stuff, this sounds new.

E: The way he uses/mixes his voice is really nice.

T: The guitar filter is also interesting.


In Lust We Trust

T: There is no percussion on this song, but the simple riff still sounds good. The lyrics are a little repetitive though. I get some Blonde vibes (“Ivy”).

E: For sure. This is one of the weaker tracks on the album but it’s still pretty good. In general, everything sounds great for a debut album.


Love 2 Fast

E: This and “Like Me” are two of the most personal tracks on here. Lyrics like, “I’m not attracted to a gender, I’m attracted to energy” show his vulnerability. A lot of artists in this realm of music explore sexuality in a very fluid way [referencing to IGOR and Blonde]. You can also see how he plays with different genres.

T:  Yeah, it’s super rock influenced. I didn’t think Apollo XXI would feature stuff like this.


N Side*

*This was a leading single that came out in April, so we skipped.



Outro Freestyle/4ever

E: It’s cool to hear Steve rapping on this track.

T: In the Odd Future days, Frank rapped a lot, but he’s recently done a lot more singing. I wonder if Steve will do the same vice versa…. in total this is a really strong debut. I’m thinking heavy 8/light 9.

E: It’s exciting to see an artist this young to come onto the scene with such talent. He can only go up from here.


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