Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Slowthai regains artistic freedom with his third album UGLY


Release date: 03 March 2023
Slowthai - UGLY cover
28 February 2023, 09:00 Written by Hayley Milross

As the dizzying and panicky whir of album opener “Yum” revs up, we’re put in the front seat of an emotional ride.

The industrial angst and pulse-racing sensations are what we’ve become used to with slowthai. His Mercury-nominated debut Nothing Great About Britain told the stories of his upbringing with stark authenticity, whilst his second album TYRON stuck to regiments, promoting what was in at the time. But the latest offering UGLY, an acronym for U Gotta Love Yourself, is strictly Tyrone Kaymone Frampton, an artist who makes music for the sheer emotion of it, the man under the painted cloak.

An album that fully indulges in his love of rock music, UGLY has just as many words sung as rapped. Produced by Dan Carey alongside Kwes Darko and featuring the works of Ethan P Flynn, Shygirl and Fontaines D.C., there is a punk element which vibrates through every element of its creation.

Self-reflection is an obvious key theme here, mixed up from a cocktail of a nationwide lockdown and taking up therapy and re-learning life lessons he’d already known. “Sooner” comes to the epiphany that striving to be liked by everyone is tiring. The cleverly narrative “Fuck It Puppet”, the word given by his therapist for the self-destructive imp sat on his shoulder following the same format as “Yum” – a voice in which he is fighting with. The woozy “Falling” poses the recurring question “You ever feel like falling? / You ever feel like you’re drifting through space?” meanwhile “Never Again” is a tale of pulling a council estate kid out of his environment and placing him in the metaphorical millionaire boys club, only for him to still be stuck in his roots, nothing changed or altered.

The album also plays with the irony of life. Latest single “Feel Good” is about not feeling good, whilst “Wotz Funny” delves into why we laugh at things that are not funny - the very common mindset that you might as well laugh otherwise you’ll cry. A moment of tenderness comes in the form of closer “25% Club” – a simplistic song about love being all you need.

With a wholehearted desire to make music purely for himself, UGLY displays an artistic freedom regained, reconnecting with what drew him to music in the first place. It’s a creative direction that will most likely not stick around, but that’s what makes it that bit more authentic.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next