Album Review | Myles Bullen – Mourning Travels

This album was released on February 4th this year. Myles Bullen is an artist with whom I’ve only recently familiarized myself. I checked out his 2020 album, Healing Hurts, and thought it was pretty good. This latest project is a sequel to Healing Hurts, so I’m hoping that it’s even better. The one artist that came to mind the first time I heard Myles Bullen’s work was Rav, mainly because their voices are kinda similar. They also both make very emotionally-gripping material. The type of music Myles makes is like the opposite of Gangsta Rap. It’s very emotionally vulnerable stuff. He really wears his heart on his sleeve, which I appreciate. Based on the two singles I heard from this project, I think I’m gonna really dig this record.


The album begins with a track called Hypothermic Anvil. I really like the melodic production on this track. It reminds me of something that could’ve appeared on Sage Francis‘ Li(f)e album. Right off the bat, the song sounds emotional as hell. It’s just something about the tone of the production along with the lyrics about how death is cold. I fuck with it. I think Myles’ pulled off a pretty expressive delivery without coming off too corny. I feel like this is what Hobo Johnson thinks his music sounds like. This is nowhere near as cringe as Hobo Johnson though. I think it’s a really dope track. The following song, I’m No Meteorologist, is even better in my opinion.

I love the soft, melodic production on this track. It sounds like something I’d hear on DOGTV. The melodic background vocals that permeate the song sound really fantastic to me as well. I liked this song the first time I heard it, but now I love it. I think Myles’ expressive delivery sounds great over this instrumental.

It's Mr. Seven Day Forecast here, broadcasting live
The center of attention wherever the sun shines
Holding on to golden moments like summer solstice
Finding out that you died left me December frozen

The lyrics are pretty interesting to me, but it’s honestly just the production and overall sonic landscape of this song that really pushes it to the next level for me. This shit sounds really good. It kinda reminds me of Noname’s Telefone, but just with a less melodic rap performance. The song is dope as hell. The following track, Still Be Friends, is a major highlight for me. I think it’s even better than the preceding material. The main reason I love this song so much is honestly just the hook. That might actually be the best hook I’ve heard this year. The melody is catchy as hell, and it sounds phenomenal over this soft-ass, medieval sounding instrumental. I could listen to this song on repeat just because the hook is so catchy. The song as a whole is fire. The actual verse from Myles is really nice.

So much selfishness, anxiety climbin', it's at its highest stress
Like Mrs. Puff when Spongebob takes the driving test
And I'm not proud of this, isolation, quarantine
I need sunlight and vitamins
Tragic and romantic at the same time I guess
Hope my last kiss isn't with this apocalypse

This song kinda reminds me of something that could’ve appeared on Hokey Fright by The Uncluded. I honestly like this more than anything that actually appeared on that project though. Myles’ vocals on this song just sound fantastic to me, and the production is phenomenal. I love the song. It’s one of my favorite tracks of the year. I think it’s dope af. The following track is called Memories, and it’s just as good, if not better. I love the soft, meditative production on this track, and the melodic hook is really catchy. I love Myles’ flow and melodic delivery on the first verse too.

Blackout, overdose, detox, recovery
Sadness, silliness, skateboard hovering
Sell art on sidewalks, all losses try hard
To try not to hold hate or hide love
Tye-dyed my set with finite time left
Get those high-fives and high scores, my eyes wet
My heart hurts, this artwork is my Church
Trauma, stress, dreaming, wake up grieving
Do I still believe that I belong here?

The second verse is performed by an artist named Jesse the Tree, and I really like his performance. His voice is a bit heavier than that of Myles, but he still knows how to deliver a soft vocal performance. I’m not sure whose verse I prefer. They both sounded great. The song is dope af. Track 5 is yet another highlight for me entitled * Ordinary Magic *.

This song definitely stands out from the rest of the tracklist just because it features billy woods of all people. I would’ve never imagined a collaboration between these two artists, but they actually managed to make this song sound quite natural. It’s not like it’s an awkward pairing or anything. I think they pulled it off. Once again, I really dig the melodic, meditative production on this track, and Myles’ low-key delivery over it sounds fantastic.

You played rapper for the weekend
I spent a thousand lifetimes in silence 'til this art started speakin'
Conduit for finer things, like ordinary magic

billy woods fucking slaughtered the last verse on this track too. I think his voice sounds awesome over this beat, and his flow was really goddamn nice.

It's ordinary magic avoiding the sadness
No calendars, all the mirrors turned backwards
Light it quick—it's one pack of matches
Slight of hand, but my handlin' savage
Got a tighter grip than some might imagine

The song is dope as hell. Track 6 is called Idontwannadotoomuch. This one feels more like an interlude than a fully fleshed out song, but it’s still enjoyable to me. I think the melody is pretty entertaining, and Myles’ vocals sound good enough. It’s just that the song is kind of scant structurally, and it doesn’t have the best recording. It’s definitely not a highlight for me on the album, but I did enjoy it to some extent personally. Track 7 is called Concrete Feet, and I feel kinda the same way about this song. It’s way more fleshed out than the preceding track though thankfully. I really love the gorgeous, piano-driven production on this track, and I think Myles sounds great over it. I’m not really crazy about the guest vocals from TARK, but they’re not bad. They’re just not particularly great to me. They definitely don’t ruin the song or anything. With that said, her verse is easily my least favorite part of the track. Overall, the song is pretty good. It’s followed by Somewhere Else, which is another pretty short track. I really like this one though. The folksy production sounds phenomenal, and I really dig the low-key performance from Myles.

I tried meditating, end up self-hating, I keep falling out
I sit in a place in silence wishing I was somewhere else

I guess this song also kinda sounds like it could be an interlude, but it just feels more polished than Idontwannadotoomuch in my opinion. The main reason I like it so much is honestly just because of the production quality. The instrumental is superb. The following track is called it’s 7:15 AM and i need to meditate. There’s no actual rapping on this track—it’s just an instrumental—but since the preceding song had lyrics about meditation it makes this feel like a sequel. The instrumental itself is really goddamn good. For whatever reason it just made me think of the Legend of Zelda. It just sounds like something that could be played during the intro to one of those games. That’s not a bad thing though. I actually really like the Legend of Zelda soundtrack, so I enjoyed this. Much like Idontwannadotoomuch, it feels more like an interlude than a full song, but I still really enjoyed it. I think it’s dope. Roses & Rain is pretty much the last highlight for me on the album. I think the soft production is great, and the guest vocals from Hannah Harleen sound really goddamn good to me. The verse from Myles is pretty interesting to me as well. He references a lot of deaths that occurred in his life, which made me think of the lines about death on I’m No Meteorologist. I’d been wondering who Myles was referring to when he said shit like “finding out that you died left me December frozen,” so this track kinda clears things up a bit.

I miss my grandma, the way she sung outta key
I miss my stepdad, the way that he used to be
I miss my friend Shawn who hung himself when he was 21 and I was 18

It’s actually pretty fucked up how many people seem to have passed away in Myles’ life. I already love this song, but I imagine that it’d hit even harder if I could relate more to losing a lot of people. I’m kind of privileged in that I haven’t had to deal with death that much in my life yet. This song is still pretty beautiful to me though. I think everyone involved did a great job. The song is dope as hell. Track 11 is called IDK. I guess this is the closest thing to a political song on the album. I mean, there are just a handful of lines that come off kinda political, but I wouldn’t say it’s a political song overall.

I don't understand how politicians sleep at night
I don't understand having a peaceful life
I don't understand how teachers are paid less than prison guards
How airplanes work, or the tools they use to count the stars
Or why churches still don't pay taxes
And healthcare has limited access

I think my favorite aspect of this song is just the hook to be honest. I think Myles’ soft vocals sound really great over the lush production. The second verse is performed by an artist named Sarah Violette. I’d never heard of her before listening to this song, but I really enjoyed her performance. She kinda reminded me of Sammus for some reason. I think it may be her voice. Her verse was very well written though. I especially liked these lines…

I don't understand evil and the reason it exists
I don't understand people and the reasons that they give
For being complete dicks or racist pieces of shit
I don't understand intolerance or tolerate that shit
I don't understand love or the way that I crave it
How birds are dinosaurs and I watch them in amazement

She really stood out a lot. I don’t know whose verse I prefer honestly. I will say however that I think Sarah Violette’s verse is a bit more impressive from a technical standpoint. They both did a very good job though. The song is dope. The penultimate track is entitled Small Creature, and it’s the only song on the project that I don’t really care for. I don’t think it’s a bad song at all; in fact, I definitely enjoyed it to some extent. It just lacks replay value for me personally. I like the acoustic guitar driven instrumental, and I think Myles’ soft vocals sound pretty good over it. I just don’t see myself sitting through this entire track again in the future. It’s five minutes and 39 seconds long, and it definitely feels really longwinded. I found myself waiting for a beat drop that never came. It just feels like the song doesn’t really go anywhere. I think the guest vocals from Emma Ivy sound pretty good. I feel like I probably would’ve liked this song more if there was an actual verse from Myles. He doesn’t rap on this track at all. It’s just a longwinded jam session in which he repeats a decent chorus over and over again. Again, I definitely enjoyed the song to some extent, but it’s not something I’m gonna be returning to in the future. It’s decent though. The closing track is an outro called Visiting Grandpa. It’s pretty much just audio of Myles’ grandpa talking about old people stuff. I’d be lying if I said I got any type of enjoyment out of this track, but I’m not gonna pretend to have an issue with it being here. It’s fine.


This album is pretty great. I actually think it’s a massive step up from Healing Hurts, which was already a good project. This one is way better though. I think the hooks on this album are really goddamn good, and the soft, lush soundscape is pretty hypnotizing. I always appreciate when album covers reflect what the actual music sounds like, and this is another example of that. Sonically, this project is very soft and relaxing, but lyrically it’s very dark and emotionally vulnerable. The two comparisons that keep coming to mind are Hokey Fright by The Uncluded and Telefone by Noname. I definitely think this album is worth listening to, especially if you dig those two records. All the features came through with really good performances as well. I have no consistent gripes with this album. I think this shit is dope. Check it out.

Favorite Song: Still Be Friends
Least Favorite Song: Small Creature

82

2 comments

  1. Hi,

    just wanted to give you applause for your site. I thought that I already knew a lot of artists, but you really know your stuff hahaha. It is like some big treasure chest going through your reviews. Already discovered quite a few albums that I never heard about. I also appreciate the effort you put into your reviews.

    My final point is that I really appreciate and respect your honesty. Iam an old head and love that good old 90s stuff, but I agree with some of your marathon ratings. I also feel like a lot more people would come to similiar ratings for some albums if they are totally honest. Whatever, for us old heads some things seem to be set in stone hahaha

    Thanks again and all the best!

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