Album Review: Oliver Tree // Ugly Is Beautiful

Having spent months fighting delays from record labels, a global pandemic and a short lived early retirement, Oliver Tree’s has finally won his seemingly endless battle to drop his debut album, Ugly Is Beautiful.

The release date was almost mockingly pushed back time and time again, and the wait kept me on the edge of my seat. In an interview with H3 Podcast he described it as a “greatest hits album” claiming to have unofficially made about 15 albums, “and I think it’s gonna be worth the wait.” 

Half of the tracks on the album have been slowly released throughout Tree’s career. Having supported artists like Skrillex, Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean, Tree has an extremely varied sound which appeals to his growing band of followers. West Coast hip-hop and indie rock influences pervade the album, and Tree does justice to them. 1993, one of the first new tracks we hear, was an instant favourite for me; a perfect example of the use of tasteful electronic elements coupled with the stylistic choice of distortion which characterizes the album and gives it it’s signature grungier feel 

The topic for each song changes rapidly, yet still the transitions are graceful using harmonies which, when channelled through his grungy style, reflect his outlandish personality. Just like the beats themselves each track is versatile, such as on Waste My Time. 

While some insist Tree is a meme, his artistry is undeniable. Tree seemingly highlights his feelings on this in Joke’s On You! “Well yes in fact, my dignity’s intact, while I listen to ‘em laugh”. He has so many more talents than the purely musical, such as in the way he introduces comedy into his work. Bringing these other talents into his music emphasizes his variety, and the way he uses the unexpected. In his first interview with Craig Kallman he staged a scooter accident as he entered the room pranking the CEO which landed him his contract with Atlantic Records. 

His passion for, and skill in filmmaking means his music video budgets range from $1 million for ‘Hurt’ to just $6 (if you exclude a fine Tree may have recieved for trespassing) for ‘Bury Me Alive’, but they’re getting millions of views despite YouTube’s attempts to impose age restrictions. Ugly Is Beautiful was worth the wait. But now I’m excited and a little impatient to hear and see a lot more from Tree. 


Oliver Tree’s Ugly is beautiful is finally released this Friday, July 17th via Atlantic Records and is available to pre-order now. 

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Ruby Spink

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