“Love Sick” is a melodic masterpiece that goes on too long


Don Toliver sits alone in a restaurant in the album cover for “Love Sick.” The tracklist is featured on the menu behind the neon sign. (Photo credit: rateyourmusic.com)

By Dhanveer Gill, Assistant Managing Editor



Love Sick” is the long-awaited project by multi-genre artist Don Toliver, and it delivers on nearly every measure. From Toliver’s iconic vocals to production that takes influence from various genres, this album is among one of the better melodic performances of the year so far, but it just feels too long and drawn out.

Don Toliver performed at Rolling Loud in Toronto last year. (Photo courtesy of The Come Up Show)

Toliver has been riding a wave of fame and success ever since his first major hit that put him on the map: his feature on “CAN’T SAY” off of Travis Scott’s colossal album “ASTROWORLD.” The song has over 400 million streams on Spotify alone and quickly went viral on TikTok and Instagram due to Toliver’s hypnotizing vocals. Since then, he quickly rose to the top with “Heaven Or Hell,” which spawned the multi-platinum hits “No Idea” and “After Party.” After that, Toliver was featured on many top-10 Billboard 200 albums, including projects by SZA, Metro Boomin, and Eminem.

In late February, Toliver released “Love Sick,” a romantic album that details his problems with love, and how he conflicts his emotions with lust. Unlike his chart-topping features, the artist is unable to truly feel unique as many songs share the same kinds of flows and vocal effects. The album almost feels dizzy and uneasy due to Toliver’s heavily distorted and auto-tune-enhanced vocals, but they completely overwhelm the listener halfway into the album’s 53-minute runtime.

Undeniably, the best songs on “Love Sick.” (Photo illustration created by Dhanveer Gill)

While the synth instruments and funky baselines are greatly appreciated, they quickly blur together after just a few songs. The psychedelic nature of the production quality only lasts so long, and Toliver refuses to try anything new that may change up the mood on otherwise repetitive tracks. With that being said, the vocals that Toliver delivers are not awful by any means, and they perfectly echo his eerie and uncomfortable feelings. For example, his loose delivery halfway through the intro track “LoveSickness” clearly sets the tone for the rest of the track list, as he feels hazy and detached from the rest of the world. The overall genre of the album is not necessarily rap, but also not entirely R&B, and that is what makes the production of the album so enticing. It bounces between both worlds and never settles on just one style, even though Toliver has done the same before.

Additionally, the features on the album do not make the album better, and it seems as if Toliver does best when he is left alone on a track to use his entire vocal range. Justin Bieber may have written the worst verse of 2023 so far on the track “Private Landing,” where he barely manages to get through a 16-bar segment in a very unenthusiastic manner. Similarly, Future sounds like he wanted the verse to be done and dusted, and sounds completely indifferent, compared to Don Toliver’s high-pitched vocals (not to mention his out-of-pocket lyrics).

On the other hand, Charlie Wilson’s and Kali Uchis’ voices are excellent in both sound and execution, but they both are delegated to secondary roles in their respective songs. “Love Sick” would have done better if either the features were cut or given more attention and focus, rather than afterthoughts.

At its heart, “Love Sick” is not a bad album, but it does not stand out in any one field. It has high peaks and low valleys, but this does not mean that it should be skipped. In fact, it is perfect for a late-night drive home or a moody walk near the end of the evening. Even if this album was not Toliver at his best, it still showcases his amazing potential as an artist in the future.

Don Toliver’s voice never ceases to amaze the masses, but he seems too lovesick to perform at his best on this album.