Tory Lanez has it all… except a good album. He can sing, rap, and croon with the best of them. He has a respectable catalogue of really great songs. His quarantine radio Instagram Live shows that have gone viral lately demonstrates his ability to ooze pure charisma. He has all of the elements necessary to be on top of the music world, but he’s not. His latest project, “The New Toronto 3”, is another in a line of albums and mixtapes that are almost good but fall short.
It’s frustrating being a Tory Lanez fan because there’s not a single album in his discography worth recommending in full. Tory thrives in my playlists, with his projects continuously being scraped for the few gems worthy of sticking around before the rest of the songs—but the album as a whole is discarded.
I’ll be honest, you can just listen to tracks 3-7 and skip the rest of “The New Toronto 3” without missing much. These five songs are perfect examples of everything Tory does well. Namely, these are the songs where he best leverages his charisma to give the listener a reason to listen. His versatility is on full display, “Stupid again” is perfectly aggressive, great for the gym or parties or other things we can’t do right now. “10 F*cks” is mellow and makes use of Tory’s signature, vaguely whiny, singing. Unlike some of the other singing tracks on this project, this song works because it is more dynamic—Tory isn’t afraid to switch pitch and flow and layer vocals, and complements his vocals with a feature from an artist named Mansa.
It’s like a switch flips after track 7 “Broke in a minute”, and Tory’s charisma vanishes while he puts on his best Rip Van Winkle impression. Seriously, every time I’ve listened to this album for the sake of this review, tracks 8 and 9 (“P.A.I.N and “Adidas”, respectfully) put me into a trance—not in a good way. It’s almost impossible to explain why these tracks are so boring, perhaps it’s because they are so inoffensive and safe. Or perhaps it is because they are microcosms of Tory’s biggest issue: tons of talent but no sense of purpose. It’s as if he makes some songs with a lot of care and thoughtfulness and other songs just appear out of thin air, existing for no reason but making it onto his projects anyway. Whatever the reason, the album never recovers past this point. All the momentum is gone, which is a shame because the next song, “Who needs love,” is pretty good. “The New Toronto 3” is bittersweet, I’m thankful for the half-dozen songs I’ll play for a few months, but sad that a good Tory Lanez album has yet to exist.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.