“I Think You've Gone Mad (Or the Sins of the Father)” by Ajax native, Sean Leon was released on February 5th, 2017. The 20-track album is organized to accompany Leon’s short film “Life When You’re The Movie” which premiered on January 23rd in Toronto.
“I Think You’ve Gone Mad (Or the Sins of the Father)” is the first part of Leon’s project, “Black Sheep Nirvana” – a trilogy of musical albums that he plans to release throughout 2017. Fans would already be familiar with a lot of the tracks on the album since they could access a hefty portion of them on Leon’s Soundcloud before the album’s official release. The majority of the songs though were rereleased on “I Think You’ve Gone Mad” with variances from their original form so fans won’t be disappointed.
Production value in the album is top-notch and it stands out for its originality. The album also does an amazing job of highlighting the huge amount of musical talent in Toronto with credit for production going out to WondaGurl, Jordan Evans and Eestbound. Also, vocal contributions from Torontonians, Daniel Caesar and a l l i e can be found on the record.
Sean Leon is always honest and as raw as possible in his work. He is uninhibited – almost to a fault. His tracks are sometimes dark, but they are also introspective and therefore, relatable.
“My soul bleeds over the keys of this piano”
A running theme in “I Think You’ve Gone Mad” is Leon’s strained relationship with his family. On tracks such as “Matthew in the Middle” and “Win” he mentions his brother’s incarceration, as well as his mother’s involvement in this event. He opens up about how this experience has ultimately affected his ability to connect with her.
“He had a chain now he chained Calling collect with some change My mother cryin' and I hate I know that she snitched on my brother So that's a family divided”
“Heard my mama snitching on my kin To be honest I ain't speaking to her since, nigga”
Thematically, the songs also draw attention to behavioural cycles that exist between a parent and a child. At various points, the lyrics move between times of frustration and times of understanding with how his own upbringing is currently still affecting him in his adulthood. The cycle begins with the effects on him caused by his parents’ influence. He hopes to break a negative cycle by being a positive influence in the life of his daughter, Xylo. The album title was likely inspired by this cyclical idea of parental influence on their children. It is also most specifically in reference to the album being Leon’s personal reflection about his behaviour as a father.
“I've improvised with bias, it's like laundry I just cycle repeat, I'm a psycho Life cycles like circles”
The takeaway from “I Think You've Gone Mad (Or the Sins of the Father)” is a message of hope and perseverance. Leon is actively working to improve himself and create a better life for his daughter.
In Leon’s rapping he regularly plays with alliteration. “Lullabies and love and lies and murdered lives and lies” “I lost my mind I gotta find it first Its hard to find I can't define I'm far from fine and hard to find I live my life on every line”
The technique, accompanied by his smooth flow, comes off as feeling meaningful and intentional - although sometimes repetitive.
Overall, the album is energetic and diverse. Leon shows a great deal of potential going forward and the project is a respectable beginning for “Black Sheep Nirvana”.
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