Steve Lacy dives into heartbreak on new album

‘Gemini Rights,’ Lacy’s second solo album, was released on July 15. (Album cover courtesy of Steve Lacys Instagram)

‘Gemini Rights,’ Lacy’s second solo album, was released on July 15. (Album cover courtesy of Steve Lacy’s Instagram)

Dionte Berry, Editor-in-Chief

With a summery blend of R&B, alternative and rock, Steve Lacy sings about the woes of heartbreak and joys of love in his sophomore solo album “Gemini Rights,” released on July 15.

Before pursuing a solo career, Lacy was, and still is, a member of the R&B band The Internet, which formed in 2011. Lacy’s solo sound still has the same groove heard in the collective band; however, his vocal range is now prominently featured, and the songs take on a more personal tone.

In his artist statement on Apple Music, Lacy said the biggest lesson he learned while making “Gemini Rights”  was not to  minimize love.

“I want to love unconditionally now,” Lacy said. “I will make love bigger, not smaller. To me, ‘Gemini Rights’ is a step in the right direction. I’m excited for you to have this album as your own, as it is no longer mine.” 

“Static” does a great job of setting off the 10-track album with a somber tone. Beginning with piano, Lacy’s layered vocals and low-moving bass, Lacy is in the aftermath of a breakup, questioning where he should go next but knowing what he deserves out of his next partner. 

Towards the end, a solo guitar takes over the piano, setting up the listener for the rest of the album. I love the final lyric: “If you had to stunt your shining for your lover, dump that f***er.”

“Helmet” is where we see some of the rock and alternative elements shine through. Lacy expresses a disdain for the one he once loved, saying  that he can’t bend who he is to please someone else.

Regarding the lyricism, this is a great continuation of “Static.” Beyond the subject matter, there’s guitar, piano and the subtle clinging of a tambourine that feels marinated together.

“Mercury” begins with guitar and bass. Lacy talks about the errors of falling in love too quickly and the bad things that can follow. 

Lacy also shows more of his vocal range, singing in a higher register. In the lyrics, Lacy draws a lot of parallels to astrology mentioning Venus, the planet of love.

“Buttons” is more of a calm burner where the listener can feel subtle tension. Lacy expresses his everlasting love for the person who hurt him; however, because of his pride, he knows better than to be misguided by his heart.

The song ends with Lacy repeating “about my pride” with a grinding guitar, and I wish as the repetitions went on, they’d become more intense and loud. 

“Bad Habit” is the star of “Gemini Rights.” To begin, the song describes how Lacy didn’t know someone he was romantically attracted to shared the same feelings.  Lacy reflects on how he wished he knew how this person felt about him. 

Toward the middle of the song, there’s an acoustic transition that feels really good, almost like Lacy is enjoying himself, having a jam session with his band. 

“Cody Freestyle” is less grounded than “Bad Habit” and feels more ethereal, starting with Lacy singing in a higher register before  transitioning lower. 

Lacy expresses his dislike toward being tied down with someone when he knows that he could find someone better. He knows there are always more fish in the sea. 

“Amber” starts with a narrative of two lovebirds but leads to Lacy expressing how he wishes he never met his former lover. Compared to the other songs on “Gemini Rights,” “Amber” feels more balladesque. 

“Sunshine” picks up speed  with a combination of singing and rapping. Lacy speaks about how his lover is trying to erase him and make him seem as if Lacy was the villain in the relationship, but Lacy shares how he was good to him.

“Sunshine” features R&B artist Foushee. Her and Lacy’s voices sound great together. Similar to “Buttons,” as the song ends, Lacy says his love is still present despite the relationship’s bitter end.

“Give You the World” closes the album out on a calm note. Compared to the previous tracks, “Give You the World” is more stripped back, exploring what Lacy would have done for his former lover. 

It is not the end I was expecting. I wouldn’t have minded something with more of a kick, but at the end of the day, this is Lacy’s story to tell.

Overall, “Gemini Rights” has Lacy’s amazing groove and R&B jive the listeners know and love him for. Although it is an album about heartbreak, it doesn’t bog down the listener with Lacy’s pain—it’s more so as if he is just telling a story.

All of the tracks are well made. I wish more of them had the same bang that “Bad Habit” has, but overall the playfulness and joy from this album is infectious. Because of that “Gemini Rights” deserves an 8 out of 10. Overall, it’s a solid album.

In the future, I would love to see Lacy do another mixtape, like his 2020 mixtape “The Lo-Fis,” and maybe experiment more with his sound. With all of the attention it’s getting “Gemini Rights” is a step in the right direction for Lacy’s solo career. 

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