Verdes drops “HDTV”, a heartache journey


Photo courtesy of Apple Music

Just like many of the tracks on HDTV, the album cover clearly highlights Verdes’ journey through heartbreak and moving on.

By Ryan Weiner, Editor-in-Chief

The month is May 2020. Needing a new WiFi plan, a customer walks into the Verizon store and asks one of the store’s employees for help. Although the employee looks out of place, as he is six feet seven inches tall, the customer dismisses him as a former basketball player and continues with their day. Little do they know that this lowly employee, Tai Verdes, would amass over a billion music streams in the next two years, become a social media icon and be named one of pop’s fastest rising stars. 

After releasing his first song, “Stuck in the Middle,” in August 2020, Tai Verdes finally caught the break he needed when the track blew up on TikTok. Then, after dropping a few more singles, Verdes released his first album, “TV,” in May 2021. The album was a relative success for Verdes, and launched his career. Now, just over a year later Verdes is back at it with his sophomore album, “HDTV,” released on Sept 16. The album covers Verdes’ love life and his recent breakup. 

The album starts with “Kingdom Come,” an upbeat track that kicks off the album with a bang. Verdes is reminiscent of Silk Sonic (a lyrical R&B group with Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) in the track, as he perfectly balances bursts of rap with melodic notes. Although Verdes generally does not rap, he impressively keeps this up throughout the album in songs such as “Trix in the Bag” and “3 Outfits”. Interestingly enough, this track strays away from the themes of the rest of the album and doesn’t deal with love or breakups at all. 

In addition to the 15 new songs in “HDTV,” there are also five tracks that were pre-released as early as 2021. The most notable of these is “Let’s go to Hell,” a relaxed track that contrasts well with its subject matter of a failing and extremely toxic relationship. The similar overarching theme is most likely why the song was included in the album, despite it being produced well before.  

Another song to give a listen to is “LAst dAy oN EaRTh,” where Verdes utilizes his smooth voice and backup music in the form of trumpets to remind the viewer to love the world we live in and cherish every moment of life. Like “Kingdom Come,” its positive message balances out the negativity of the lyrics of other tracks in the album. 

Another classic Verdes track is “Electrical,” which to the casual listener is a complete summer vibe song due to the angelic background singing and beautiful guitar instrumentals. In contrast, Verdes still dives deep into his toxic relationship with bars such as, “You beat me black and blue, I like to be abused,” and “You’re playin’ with a heart of gold,” that demonstrate the true darkness of Verdes’ love life. 

Although he normally keeps his music upbeat or relaxed regardless of the subject matter, Verdes changes this up in the ninth track, “FYL”. Like most of the album, Verdes talks about a faulty relationship. However, here it seems like he is describing the aftermath and not the moment of the breakup. Lyrics like, “I guess I really wasn’t worth the savin’,” and “But, baby, I made bad exceptions for your love,” combined with the dreary tone and perfectly-timed autotuned sounds make for a song that will put anyone in their feels. 

Just a few tracks later, Verdes completely changes his mood with “TWO SUGARS.” Back to his normal upbeat vibe, Verdes absolutely knocks this song out of the park. Although autumn is drawing near, this song is the perfect thing to blast in the car while driving on a warm sunny day. Although the theme of love is apparent in the lyrics of the tune, it is masked by the whimsical instrumental provides. 

Near the end of the album, Verdes finally comes to terms with the result of his relationship in “On U”. Even though there is not a feature, this track feels like a mix of Verdes’ classic style with other pop artists like Khalid due to the repetition of lyrics and fragmentation of sentences with dragged out pauses. Yet again, this song is a hit and is a relaxing way to start closing the album out. 

Overall, “HDTV” is not your average breakup or romance album. Verdes does a spectacular job balancing tones to keep the listener feeling a variety of emotions and navigating all the stages of the end of a relationship with ease. The instrumentals and background noises are spot-on in all tracks, supporting Verdes throughout this journey of an album. 

Especially considering it is a 20-track album made in less than a year with zero features, “HDTV” is incredibly impressive and deserves recognition by the global pop community. Expect to see a lot more of Verdes in the next couple of years as he continues his meteoric rise through the music industry.