By WILL KIRSCH
For The News-Letter
Twenty-year-old Boston rapper Michael Christmas’s second album, What A Weird Day, a self-deprecating and brutally honest follow-up to his 2014 debut Is This Art?, dropped on Friday.
Christmas’s first album was essentially an ode to the lost millennial — the kind of person who does not really know what their doing nor do they care. With songs like “Drunk” and “Daily,” Christmas encapsulated the hedonistic but ultimately unfulfilling lifestyle of the male, age 18-22 demographic.
This may seem like a bit of a stretch for a less-than-well-known rapper whose lyrics about Hot Pockets and masturbation are far from heart-wrenching, but he manages to make them relateable. Christmas’s first album was not a one-off, and What A Weird Day is a continuation of the general theme — the beautiful aimlessness of the young adult.
Christmas is not the type of rapper to sing his own praises. Every toast is followed by some backhanded self-criticism. He laughs off the things that other artists devote whole songs to complaining about. In the closing track on the album, “Gay Black Model Remix,” — one of several songs whose names do not really make sense — Christmas raps, “Made more sense talking ‘bout my problems in punchlines.”
That one line can summarize a large part of the album: It is equal parts sad and funny, devoid of self-esteem and recklessly frivolous. In “Everything Burrito,” Christmas goes from pointing at his success and laughing at everyone with hefty college debt to joking about suicide, all over a beat that is swooping, ethereal, abrupt and sharp. In more uptempo songs like “Hate,” Christmas manages to sneak in a little dark humor. A line from the chorus is “Keep them expectations low though.”
Christmas’s rap is highly self-referential to the genre and pop culture as a whole. He gives shout-outs to popular rap heavyweights like Rick Ross (sampled in “Hate”), Drake (“Running through the six with no hoes,”), Future, Chief Keef and Migos. He also rhymes about the Catalina F***ing Wine Mixer, GIFs and emojis — basically all the things most people in the latter half of their teenage years value.
Speaking of which, What A Weird Day is accented with features from the likes of Gaithersburg, Md.’s own Logic on “Where You Been?” and popular Pittsburgh goon Mac Miller on “Grab Her Hand.” All this millennial trivia is laid over some seriously strange but catchy beats that vary between nineties hip-hop and space jazz on peyote.
This album is often sad, all the more so because it’s relatable. It’s often funny, too — the lighthearted references and bizarre ad libs peppering songs break up the often self-deprecating lyrics. Christmas is a clever rapper anchored in pop culture and the culture of the introvert, of he people who usually leave a party without saying goodbye and are more willing to joke about their problems than they are to take them seriously.
In What A Weird Day, Christmas makes it okay to be unconfident, a little nervous and slightly too inebriated at a grimy house party; He makes it okay to sleep until noon, spend the day watching cartoons, eat fast food at two in the morning and wake up sweating grease. He makes it cool to be imperfect.