When the air temp drops and the sweaters come back from the dry cleaners and the night sky starts to look like it took a few left hooks from Joe Frazier, I have this thing where I go out and find the saddest music I can and lay on the floor and play it while counting specks of dust on the ceiling fan. Fucking Virgos. I know. Laugh if you want, but how else do you become a Lil Peep stan?
As much as this ritual has helped me find the greatest unsung deep cuts in the pop punk Soundcloud scene, I never thought I’d find an album that was explicitly made for that very thing. Enter Ultraviolet, the debut LP from Kansas City’s Real As Ever, an emo trap star who has elevated depressed ceiling staring to an art form. Taking roughly equal cues from Rod Wave, My Chemical Romance, and Lin Manuel Miranda, Ultraviolet is operatic in sound, scale, and sheer emotion.
Everything here is clean and calibrated for maximum sadness — the post trap lullaby production, the pitch perfect melodies, the ratio of biblical references to struggle bars to obscure pharmaceutical name drops. The angsty earworm ‘Hollow’ coexists naturally with neo gospel (‘All Alone’ elevates unhealthy breakup coping mechanisms to literally godly proportions) and candid storytelling (there are no thumbs in sluts butts in this ‘Stick Talk’ — just meditations on the place of POCs in the apocalypse).
And, like the mountain silhouette in Starry Night, Ultraviolet peaks at the midpoint. ‘Skyfall / Sacrifices’ is a showstopper for the ages, an ‘I Want’ song for those who want nothing more than to throw themselves off a cliff. If you value your mental health, it might be a skip — if you’re not listening to it while standing out in the rain watching the love of your life walk away, you’re listening to it wrong. But if, like me, you find spooky season to be the perfect time to wallow in self inflicted misery? Wallowing doesn’t get better than this.
Listen on Spotify.