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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

REVIEW: New Nathan Sharp album is reminiscent of old works, dives into mature themes

Lynn Jafarzadeh / Hilltop Views

A momentary synthetic glissando introduces a heavy, solemn piano that marches slowly through the track as despondent vocals join in. The song slowly builds into a stable, sobering melody, through the first chorus before fading. Suddenly, a melancholic yet calm melody is replaced by heavy electric guitars, the second and final chorus takes on a much angrier tone. Backing vocals scream the lyrics while the piano marches on. 

This is “Socioenvy,” the first track on Nathan Sharp’s new album “To Let Go.” 

Nathan Sharp, more well known as NateWantsToBattle, originally garnered online popularity for his nerdcore music, a genre of music that isn’t defined by musical style, but rather the subject: typically a video game, tv show, anime or comic series. In particular, his songs about the indie horror game series “Five Nights at Freddy’s.”

“To Let Go,” however, is Sharp’s third non-nerdcore album and delves deeper into heavier themes compared to his past work. The first half of the new album focuses on struggles of cutting out toxicity with a generally burdened or disheartened tone throughout.The second half then delves into the struggle of moving on afterwards with a more dynamic and upbeat feel, all while reflecting on Nathan’s personal experience with internet fame. 

Songs like “Socioenvy” and “V1R@L” express Nathan Sharp’s regrets about forcing himself to create music he was unhappy with, sacrificing both his mental health and creative voice to maintain online relevance. Meanwhile, the track “To Let Go,” the album’s namesake, acts as a turning point in the album, expressing Sharp’s breaking point; an unwillingness to continue making sacrifices now knowing that fame hasn’t helped him achieve what he actually wanted: to form meaningful connections through his music. 

What I personally enjoyed about the album is how it pays homage to his previous work with several lyrical and melodic references to older songs, including a reference to his track “Mangled,” his first “Five Nights at Freddy’s” song as well as his first song to go viral. As a long time fan, I see these references as something that shows while Sharp is making drastic changes in his life and music career for the better, he’s also not shying away from his past as a musician out of spite. 

“To Let Go,” while primarily alternative rock, features a variety of musical styles, from the acoustic instrumentation in “Crawling in Circles,” to metal in “V1R@L,” to subtle EDM influence in “Without a Cure.” Similarly to its musical style, the album contains variety in how it approaches moving on from toxic environments, creating an aspect of nearly universal relatability. Whether it’s quitting a job or internship that asks too much and pays too little, cutting off that friend who only breaks you down, or breaking up with an abusive partner, “To Let Go” speaks volumes about the invisible struggles underlying them all. 

The album acts as the start of a new era for Nathan Sharp, and I look forward to what he’ll create next. Until then I believe “To Let Go” is five out of five goats.

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About the Contributor
Lynn Jafarzadeh
Lynn Jafarzadeh, Illustrator
Lynn is a freshman and this is his first semester working as an illustrator with Hilltop Views. Alongside illustrating, Lynn also dabbles in hard news reporting and writing opinion articles about topics they are passionate about.

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