See You Next Year! Pigeons & Planes Review


Madeline Moran

Photo of Allan Brown, by Madeline Moran

Allan Brown, Guest Writer

With music streaming becoming more accessible to everyone, the amount of new artists posting music has skyrocketed in recent years. Despite this seeming positive, this also leads to a new, unexpected problem: too much choice. Although many blossoming artists undoubtedly are worth listening to, for every one interesting new artist there’s ten who bring very little to the table. This is where Pigeons & Planes comes in. A side project of Complex magazine, Pigeons & Planes works to bring underground artists into the spotlight through their website and numerous social media accounts. They’ve been posting underground songs, albums, and artists for years, but in 2022 they announced something different: an album.

First announced in November of 2021, the collaboration album of underground artists showed a lot of potential. However, the biggest surprise was yet to come: Mike Dean, an all-time legend in the hip hop world known for his work with icons like Kanye West, would be both producing and executive producing the album. On top of the business side, the roster of artists was also filled to the brim with talent. Recognizable names included Teezo Touchdown, who gained notoriety for his features on Tyler, the Creator’s most recent album, along with redveil and Ben Reilly, who both became TikTok sensations in the past year.

Despite the hype surrounding it online, an important question remained when the album dropped on August 5th: is the album good? In short, yes. Mostly. The album serves its purpose perfectly, with 14 young artists getting their time to shine. Although some of the tracks blend together, on some tracks you can tell that the artist truly was given full creative control, and no song demonstrates this as well as “Loner”, featuring Terry Presume. Terry’s lyrical style and unique voice are on full display, coming together to make a song that fits perfectly into his discography. Other standout tracks include “Mean Girl” featuring Wallice, and “Gum” featuring Baird. Both of these were by artists I hadn’t even heard of before, and they both motivated me to check out the rest of their catalog.

Although some tracks stand out, the whole tracklist is filled with strong entries. Mike Dean’s influence is heard throughout, with his signature synth and guitar solos being sure to please any fan of his other work. However, this does cause one of the major problems with the album: because of the distinct production, many of the songs start to sound the same. This is most notable between “Float” feat. redveil and “Dimes” feat. Ben Reilly, which sound almost the same. On top of this, although the spacey synths in the beats work for some artists, they definitely don’t for others. On “OZ” feat. Sash, his voice disappears almost completely into the beat. Despite these problems, none of the songs are bad by any means.

Even though the production of this album leaves some things to be desired, overall the project does its job, and makes me excited for future entries in the Pigeons & Planes catalog.