What’s your breakup routine? Maybe you go the hermit route, spending weeks glued to your bed watching Netflix true crime documentaries scrolling through your ex’s social feeds. Maybe you go the other way, drinking yourself silly in dingy nightclubs, desperately searching for distraction in the drunken embrace of strangers. If you’re Corin Liall Douieb, AKA The Last Skeptik, you go out and make one of the most personal albums of the year.
The Hackney rapper & producer lays his soul bare on See You In The Next Life (SYITNL). The album covers each step in the recovery process – a process with more than a passing resemblance to the stages of grief. ‘You Make Me Wanna (Kill)’ captures the numbing effect of loss on your daily routine: “It just turned 9 pm gotta get out of bed / Head to the club cause I’ve gotta see bread / Force a little smile, of course it’s a trial / Medicate meanwhile I don’t feel right in my head”. It’s a track anyone who’s been through a break up can understand – shutting off all emotions because to feel is too painful.
That Douieb is largely alone on SYITNL is no coincidence. Eschewing his usual collabs emphasises the lonely struggle of heartbreak. Tracks like ‘House Party Massacre’ reinforce the reality that, although friends and family are essential to recovery, only you can find the strength to get back up.
The album isn’t all about love and loss; it’s also about how society feeds our poisonous misconceptions about love. ‘15 Million Merits’ skewers our desperate need for validation and smartphone addiction without judgement. The hook: “Whatsapp ten people / Scream out loud / Leave it open and wait for the Cloud / to let me down / Turn the phone on loud and wait for the sound” The Last Skeptik makes it clear he’s battling the same demons.
The beats mirror the anxious confusion that comes with loss. Tracks like ‘Rearview’ conjure hazy electronica soundscapes that feel like trawling a crowded nightclub after dropping a pinger. The bouncy instrumentals of ‘Dead Star’ captures the manic waves of anger that rise when a seemingly innocuous image triggers a painful memory.
SYITNL traverses the different stages of loss, but the final stage – acceptance – shines through most brightly. This isn’t some self-pitying diatribe against an unforgiving world, it’s a middle finger to adversity. Whatever your breakup process, you have to trust that it gets better. No matter what you’re going through, See You in the Next Life proves you’ll come out the other side stronger.
See You In The Next Life is out now on Thanks for Trying Records.