Always clad head-to-toe in pink with undeniably charming vocals, Philadelphia-born David Bowden (known professionally as Pink Sweat$) is already an inviting artist.
The beautifully minimal sound of his respective Volume 1 and Volume 2 EPs may have been a showcase purely for Bowden’s skills in laying down some typically melancholic breathy vocals, but Pink Planet more than compensates with some classic R&B instrumentation.
Opening with the soulful “PINK CITY,” Bowden looks back on his early years and champions that “When you’re cold and all alone / You can build you a city and call it home.” Accompanied by a celebratory gospel choir and concluding with an albeit brief but twinkling jazz solo, the scene is set for an inward-looking record that navigates self, love and self-love with the utmost intimacy.
For the most part, Bowden achieves this on stand-out tracks “Heaven” and “At My Worst,” the latter of which brimming with killer production from John Hill and receiving a feature from Kehlani that only furthers the yearning romantic overtones of Pink Planet. It is difficult to go wrong with a Kehlani collaboration.
Nevertheless, post-interlude it seems like Bowden confuses the message of this record, immediately switching from post-breakup lull to synth-heavy romantic pining on “Beautiful Life.” Mixed messages and muddle instrumentation furthers onto tracks like “Not Alright” with overly sharp percussion throughout. This mismatch of instrumentation on the latter half of this album slightly undermines Bowden’s beautiful vocals, which have yet to waver across any of his work.
The heartfelt closing track “Honesty” therefore has a lot of heavy-lifting to do, refocusing the record with a mix more akin to Bowden’s 2018 EP. However, this effortless reflection of the nervousness that comes with worries of unreciprocated love does a lot to recover the original charm of Pink Sweat$’ introductory heart on Pink Planet.