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Tonedeff From a Tonedeff-Lover-Then-Quitter, I’m Back to Listen to Polymer

So, I signed off from Tonedeff a little bit after Glutton. I understand he was trying to do something different, and in all fairness, I did try out Demon to see if I was able to appreciate his new form. I just wasn’t getting anything that I wanted out of it. Nothing personal. Nothing I would ever hold against the man. We’re speaking about someone I hold as one of the most talented lyricist, and the absolute king of flow, in terms of rap.

For anyone who doubts my belief in that, I direct you to:
http://qn5.com/discuss/viewthread/17370/#269560

Moving forward, I realize there’s a Polymer thread. I just thought it would be interesting for the community to see how somebody who was a complete diehard fan (still is in terms of Tonedeff’s older catalogue) who became completely turned off by his new EP would appreciate this album. I’m not trying to be arrogant or anything. I don’t think my opinion means more than anyone elses. I just thought it would be neat, one way or another, to provide that insight. If I was wrong, my apologies.

So, let’s go.

1. The Things You Don’t See Coming
Tonedeff’s singing. I almost expect to hear a Tonedeff album start this way, and I’d be incredibly disappointed if it didn’t. I like it. The build up is fantastic. I appreciate the lyrics a lot. It feels like the beginning of a concept album. Like it’s a prelude to everything that is to come. I like it far better than Overture, so that’s something. It feels good as an intro, specifically for a Tonedeff album, but we’ll see where it goes from here.

2. And They Watched Him
This song is difficult for me. It’s beautiful… but the song is broken up so frequently, it almost fights you to enjoy it, and the beat comes off as bland and unexciting. It feels like the concept and lyrics deserved a far better backdrop than it was given.

3. Hunter V2
Now, this may seem in conflict to my previous crticism, but the toned-down beat seems more fitting for this song than the original. I personally enjoy it more. That’s not to say it isn’t missing a certain something. It’s like the original Hunter was too much, and the new version of Hunter is too little. I prefer, but I would’ve much preferred a middle ground. The minimalist, bass-y beats are a trend I hope passes as we move forward. On the positive side, the lyrics are fucking fantastic. I mean, how can you not love “Anyone afraid to burn a bridge is too lazy to build their own.”

4. Competivetive Nature
Favorite beat of any of the more electronic sound Tone has been moving towards. Sounds like an authentic beat, not just something that’s like “Hey, let’s add more electronic ish to our music.” Like the chorus. Like the lyrics. Nothing special. Self-aware, critical of the industry, etc. Or so I thought. Then I realized this is his theraputic goodbye. A “Yeah, I’m better, but I’m going to stop writing songs about how I am better and should be at the top… because, while I should have, I’m not going to be. That’s life.” So cheers, Tone. While I always loved hearing about your view on the industry, and your struggles within it, you have so much better to rap about. So cheers for moving on.

I wish he seperated the end into a seperate song. An interlude or something. I want to listen to this song often but I don’t want to listen to the end along with it. It should have been a seperate track.


5. Demon
We’re fast rapping now, which feels to me like Tone is neglecting message in favour of rapping and flowing as fast as possible. This is a disappointment, because a song with this concept written without the barriers imposed by how Tone chose to rap it could’ve been brilliant. And then we get to the end. Holy fuck. Best use of Tone’s singing thus far, and incredibly beautiful and climactic. One of my favorite songs despite feeling it could’ve been something more.

6. Cinder
Neat interlude. Enjoyed listening to it. Nothing much more to say.

7. Moment
Really neat sound. Pulled my interest. Enjoy it completely. I think is the first song I don’t really have any criticisms of. I mean, the beat just kind of is. But I like the whole song. I think it’s one of the strongest written raps so far, and while it gets a bit goofy at the end, I’m a fan. My favorite song moving forward.

8. Glutton
I like this song. I really do. I just don’t like it either, if that makes sense? Anyway, I’m sort of biased about it as I have a real love/hate relationship with it, so we’re just going to move on.

9. Sunrise V2
I actually liked the original better. I don’t know really know what this remix was supposed to be, but it extended my least favorite parts, and minimized my favorites. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

10. Phantom
Very long before it gets into it. But when it does, it’s kinda cool. I don’t know it. Different application of Tone’s singing, different style than he’d normally do, and I like it. I think I want to listen to it more, and I’m going to. I also am fond of the production, so that helps. This kind of feels like the most authentic out of all the experimental stuff he has done. It’s not amazing by any means, but it’s very listenable.

11. Five Sisters
Phantom was a nice transition into this. I’m liking it quite a bit. Weirdly enough, reminds me of a fucking Mike Shinoda track. Story and lyrics are exactly what I was looking for from this album. Chorus seemed kind of bland for the weight of the story at first, but it ended up working out beautifully at the end of the song. This is the Tonedeff I want to listen to. After Phantom and this, my expectations are increasingly growing.

12. Use Me
Fucking fantastic. It’s about something. Not just rapping fast for the sake. It’s rapping fast for the intensity of the meaning behind it. I love it. “If I ever stumbled in the wake of your lies. know without a doubt it wouldn’t even stop your stride. wish I was somebody more like you, with no conscious, drive, and a darker side.”

13. Filthy (V2)
Well. It’s something. I honestly just can’t have an opinion on this yet.

14. Narcissus
Well I can’t say I’m happy we’re back to this sound, but we’re here. Lyrics are there. Verses are sick. But I actually just don’t like anything else about it.

15. More Like You
Feels like a proper build-up, instead of the somehwat boring starts to the more elongated intros. Beginning verse is ridiculous. That’s some shit. I was a bit weary of the beat when it intially kicked it, took away for a second, but it turned into something fitting. Chorus good. “Things go in cycles.” Man, fucking heartfelt song. Tone fucking undoubtedly kills it when he’s rapping about this sort of thing. It’s the art I expect of him. Gorgeous track. When I say Tone could’ve been a world-renowned poet, this is the sort of song I would reference.

16. Control
I look and see this song is 9 minutes long. I don’t know why. Sounds cool at the get-go. Production is chill. I fear it’s going to be some insanely experimental outro, although I’m alright with that after the brilliance of the previous song. Tone’s voice kicks in, singing. I’m okay with that. He’s going to do some crazy ass singing shit, right? To end it all. But then he proceeds to rap some of the most personal and touching verses I’ve ever heard. I don’t even care if the song goes on for absolutely no reason for three minutes afterwards. I’m riding this wave hard. This beat feels like part of the emotional wave Tone was feeling when he wrote it. And then the end. Soft, sad, and fitting. Applause.

Conclusion for fans: Questionable at the beginning. Beautiful by the ending. I’m just so happy I was able to enjoy Tonedeff again, and for anyone in the same boat, there are most certainly songs on this album for you. While I often question Tone’s musical direction, I must say I’ve walked away pleased from this experience, and gladly look forward to purchasing this album. Look, artists grow, they change. They’re bound to make music that’s different from the songs you originally loved them for. It is their right as a musician, and it is your right as a fan not to listen if you don’t like it. But trust me. Look, I don’t think there’s a single person this album would be completely listenable to. It’s too fucking different. But whether you’re a fan of fast-Tone, electro-Tone, introspective-Tone, or just brilliant-fucking-lyricist-Tone, you’ll find something here.

And to you, Tone, cheers on the album. Glad to be listening again.

Glad to hear you to found some things to like on the new album. It’s interesting for me reading people who haven’t settled well with Tone’s more electronic style in the past few years because personally I have loved it.

Songs like ‘Glutton’, ‘Narcissus’ and ‘Demon’ to name a few have really rubbed a lot of purist fans up the wrong way.. but for me it’s been a perfect marriage of different things that I like. Whilst I still really like some of the more pure hip-hop tracks he’s done in recent years, I would love to hear more things like Polymer in future. It feels fresh to me and more representative of Tone as an artist rather than a crowd-pleaser.

I would say that many of the people who have criticised it (and this is not necessarily aimed at you - although I’d say some of your points may be guilty of this) have suggested that Tone has ‘experimented’ into new waters. I don’t see it this way. To me Polymer is the result of influences and inspirations that have been there for years, unleashed. Tone is not ‘experimenting’.. he’s actually just being himself. People that only previously saw him as Mr. Hip-Hop probably don’t understand this.

Polymer is not for everyone. I think he knew going into this that it was going to ruffle some feathers.. but like Cunninlynguist’s APOS before it, he has made bold musical decisions that follow his heart. As a result these tracks might not get played in everyday circumstances as much, many of them won’t get played in the regular car rotation or hit the clubs.. but they’re a fair artistic representation of his musical aesthetic.. and I love that.

The fast rapping on demon is done to express the whole anxiety theme to it, kind of perplexed how you came to the idea that it was neglecting the message of the song just so he could do some “fast raps”. Thanks for the write up, and I’m glad you were able to enjoy parts of it.

so just cause you like optimist he supposed to keep making optimist? that was 8 years ago bruh the level of entitlement in this post is crazy. everything is “not quite what i wanted”. “im happy with this” “im not happy with this”. unless you ordered a custom made cd with personalized songs you basically just need to let tone do what he wants as an artist and it sounds like this record is too future for you. no one cares what you “want” bruh.

WeToYou said:But trust me. Look, I don’t think there’s a single person this album would be completely listenable to.

This is the quote I have the single biggest issue with. How do you know this? In fact, I’m sure there are quite a few of us right here on this board that enjoy the entire album, front to back with zero qualms with the direction he went in general and on each song, making each song unique and different while maintaining the quality that we come to expect from a Tonedeff album.

WaleKilla said:so just cause you like optimist he supposed to keep making optimist? that was 8 years ago bruh the level of entitlement in this post is crazy. everything is “not quite what i wanted”. “im happy with this” “im not happy with this”. unless you ordered a custom made cd with personalized songs you basically just need to let tone do what he wants as an artist and it sounds like this record is too future for you. no one cares what you “want” bruh.

What about his post is entitled? It’s actually the exact opposite. In fact it’s like you’re acting entitled to only hearing 100% positive things about anything QN5 does. Sometimes I find it weird how ANYTHING that’s posted in this forum that isn’t yes-man status is instantly shit on.

I get that this is a fan forum, but discussion like this helps keep things alive/interesting. It would be cool to discuss this in other places, but there aren’t really that many places online where there are active places to discuss this music.

Anyway, as far as this album goes I initially had the same impression with some of the EPs and their direction, and I listened to Polymer in its entirety and I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. The more I listen though, the more I like it. The hardest thing for me about trying to properly rate a Tonedeff album, is that it’s VERY easy to rate it against what you know he’s capable of rather than rating it for what it is in the landscape of hip-hop (and this is clearly fucking astronomical units above what almost any artist will EVER do).

To me this album is a slow-burn that takes MANY listens to really appreciate it. I also REALLY want the physicals so I can experience the vinyl of this (not that it’s really different, but something about the atmosphere it creates is really cool), but I’m sure they’ll be sent out at some point, hopefully soon.

I don’t know how much of these criticisms I agree with, but the one thing I can say is that Hunter V2 definitely gave me a sad-face. Mostly because the original beat is SO fucking fire it’s ridiculous, was probably my favorite beat on the original EPs. I could just replace it with the original version on my playlist, but I don’t feel quite right about doing that. This one may take more time as well.

CleanupCrew said:
Hunter V2 definitely gave me a sad-face. Mostly because the original beat is SO fucking fire it’s ridiculous, was probably my favorite beat on the original EPs.

that was the most out of place beat on all of the EPs tho. Says a lot about what your musical expectations are that the most 2001 sounding beat was your favorite on a record of emo epic synth music imo

Thanks for sharing.

Not here to change your opinion, just refute some claims or maybe add to your perspective with stuff you’re either missing or just ignoring.

And They Watched Him should be repetitive and unexciting. It fits within the context of the song. They repeatedly watch him at different parts of his life and only the reaction changes but his life ultimately doesn’t… The unexciting repetition is tasteful. Doesn’t mean you had to like it though but at least understand it.


The singing outro on Sunrise V2 doesn’t hint at what it was supposed to be as compared to the original?

Fast rapping for the sake of fast rapping? Demon is an honest and poetic portrayal of his anxiety. Honesty and poetic storytelling are revealed to be two things you like, but not this track? If it’s the production, it’s one thing but Tonedeff isn’t rapping fast for the sake of rapping fast. There’s a very clear message in this song…

Broken Arrow very much fits at the end of CN. It’s a response to the hunter’s competitor nature. Nothing left to slay. As it’s own separate track would not have flowed as well contextually.

Moment gets goofy in the end?

Everyone has a right to their opinion and like/dislike something. So again, I’m not hating on your opinions. Taste is taste. I’m just challenging some of your claims because I genuinely disagree at ‘this is what’s actually happening’ level.

Just to make things clear, I posted my previous post for the sole reason of explaining I had been listening to Tone for a while. Nothing beyond that. Secondly, of course there is things I said that you’ll disagree with, and I apologize. I was just speaking my thoughts unfiltered, it was a listen, type, go sort of thing. Thanks for all your responses. I appreciate that you took the time to read it.

jinx8402 said:

WeToYou said:But trust me. Look, I don’t think there’s a single person this album would be completely listenable to.

This is the quote I have the single biggest issue with. How do you know this? In fact, I’m sure there are quite a few of us right here on this board that enjoy the entire album, front to back with zero qualms with the direction he went in general and on each song, making each song unique and different while maintaining the quality that we come to expect from a Tonedeff album.

His “I don’t think” statement is no different than your “I’m sure there are” statement.

WaleKilla said:

CleanupCrew said:
Hunter V2 definitely gave me a sad-face. Mostly because the original beat is SO fucking fire it’s ridiculous, was probably my favorite beat on the original EPs.

that was the most out of place beat on all of the EPs tho. Says a lot about what your musical expectations are that the most 2001 sounding beat was your favorite on a record of emo epic synth music imo

Out of place!?

How can you say a beat is out of place when there is a song like Glutton and a song like Phantom on the same album?

By your logic, does Glutton have “the most late-2000s sounding beat”?

worm9103 said:

jinx8402 said:

WeToYou said:But trust me. Look, I don’t think there’s a single person this album would be completely listenable to.

This is the quote I have the single biggest issue with. How do you know this? In fact, I’m sure there are quite a few of us right here on this board that enjoy the entire album, front to back with zero qualms with the direction he went in general and on each song, making each song unique and different while maintaining the quality that we come to expect from a Tonedeff album.

His “I don’t think” statement is no different than your “I’m sure there are” statement.

I mean I guess. But his full statement is “I don’t think there is anyone”. He is quite literally claiming that there is no one in his mind that could like the entire album. All I said is that there are at least a few of us out here that do like and appreciate every song.

worm9103 said:

Out of place!?

How can you say a beat is out of place when there is a song like Glutton and a song like Phantom on the same album?

By your logic, does Glutton have “the most late-2000s sounding beat”?

I think his point was that the original Hunter was your prototypical Hip Hop beat from the 2000’s. I thought that was kind of the point of the original beat. The overall sound of the original most definitely doesn’t fit in with the heavier synthetic based sound Tone was setting out to achieve with this record.

I’m going to go on record and saying that I very much like Hunter V1, but for the overall sound of the album, V2 fits better.

As someone who got into Tonedeff relatively late, it was interesting and I appreciate hearing the thoughts of someone who was a fan during the Archetype days and didn’t enjoy all of the ride to now. Peter Anthony Red was almost always a part of my idea of Tonedeff, but I can totally understand someone who doesn’t enjoy the bigger changes.

To me looking at it retrospectively his career transition makes sense, there was always genre bending and boundary pushing. But for some people who were in the middle of it, clearly they weren’t looking forward but enjoying what he did and then were shocked with the transitions. It reminds me of how prolific bands switch a band member (Tone is clearly equivalent to like 5 people in his creating process). Some people completely jump off when there’s a switch, others enjoy the transitioning regardless. I hate Red Hot Chili Peppers albums that don’t have Frusciante on it, just like some might not like Tonedeff tracks that don’t have quotables. I strongly disagree with the idea that that’s the best Tonedeff has to offer obviously but some people prefer it for whatever reason.

While I often question Tone’s musical direction, I must say I’ve walked away pleased from this experience, and gladly look forward to purchasing this album. Look, artists grow, they change. They’re bound to make music that’s different from the songs you originally loved them for. It is their right as a musician, and it is your right as a fan not to listen if you don’t like it. But trust me.

Hey man, can’t argue with that.

Thanks for taking the time to really dig into the music and share your thoughts with us. Takes a lot of time and energy to write a review this in depth, and while a lot of things on the record ultimately didn’t jive with your tastes it also seems like you appreciated what it did have to offer you.

Cheers, fella.

deStructuralized said:

While I often question Tone’s musical direction, I must say I’ve walked away pleased from this experience, and gladly look forward to purchasing this album. Look, artists grow, they change. They’re bound to make music that’s different from the songs you originally loved them for. It is their right as a musician, and it is your right as a fan not to listen if you don’t like it. But trust me.

Hey man, can’t argue with that.

Thanks for taking the time to really dig into the music and share your thoughts with us. Takes a lot of time and energy to write a review this in depth, and while a lot of things on the record ultimately didn’t jive with your tastes it also seems like you appreciated what it did have to offer you.

Cheers, fella.

Really appreciate that outlook, man. Thanks.

Kags said:Thanks for sharing.

Not here to change your opinion, just refute some claims or maybe add to your perspective with stuff you’re either missing or just ignoring.

And They Watched Him should be repetitive and unexciting. It fits within the context of the song. They repeatedly watch him at different parts of his life and only the reaction changes but his life ultimately doesn’t… The unexciting repetition is tasteful. Doesn’t mean you had to like it though but at least understand it.


The singing outro on Sunrise V2 doesn’t hint at what it was supposed to be as compared to the original?

Fast rapping for the sake of fast rapping? Demon is an honest and poetic portrayal of his anxiety. Honesty and poetic storytelling are revealed to be two things you like, but not this track? If it’s the production, it’s one thing but Tonedeff isn’t rapping fast for the sake of rapping fast. There’s a very clear message in this song…

Broken Arrow very much fits at the end of CN. It’s a response to the hunter’s competitor nature. Nothing left to slay. As it’s own separate track would not have flowed as well contextually.

Moment gets goofy in the end?

Everyone has a right to their opinion and like/dislike something. So again, I’m not hating on your opinions. Taste is taste. I’m just challenging some of your claims because I genuinely disagree at ‘this is what’s actually happening’ level.

I don’t have the energy to respond to everybody’s posts, and I’m very sorry for that. I wish I could. I did however want to respond to yours, although I’m not going to bat-for-bat respond your points. I’m simply going to say that my review was based on a listen to each song once (I intend on listening to them more, and this album is certainly worthy of it, but I haven’t to date) and while I’m sure I’ll come to terms with some of your points, there are some I won’t, but I look forward to our future debate. Cheers, and thank you for the informative, polite reply.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯