Published Oct 23, 2019It's been a minute since 2016's Ology, but according to Gallant, it wasn't intentional. Born Christopher Joseph Gallant III, the Columbia-raised artist has been on the road on tour since that time — in addition to having a strong social media presence — but Sweet Insomnia intends to set things right. The artist occupies a unique corner in modern R&B: he clearly has a future-minded R&B musical mindset but his points of reference (anime, K-Pop, 8-bit videogame soundtracks) define him as a type of black artist not beholden to lazy stereotypes or branding.
The 13-track project is equal parts ambient, '90's/'00s-era soul and grooves you'd find on a "chill music to study" streaming playlist. The result is a satisfying mix of soul, combined with his trademark high octave vocals.
"Sweet Insomnia" is all about the pleasure that comes with pain, the feeling that you find isolated even in an always-connected digital world. "Céline" is a guitar-driven groove that zeroes on the joy of feeling unfocused while trying to enjoy a relationship with that one special person. A standout single like "Sleep On It" calls back late '90s soul with a modern sensibility, while the electronic notes of "Paper Tulips" play with oblique metaphors and layer composition to speak on relationship ambiguities.
Gallant clearly doesn't care about fame or whether he's in everyone's ear; Sweet Insomnia aims to achieve those results regardless. (Warner)