Track-by-Track Review: “LVLS” by Freddy Ponder
By Dru Era
Freddy Ponder is a producer, songwriter, screenwriter and college graduate of The Ohio State University. He was born and raised in Dayton, where he developed a passion for music.
Although he has yet to release a full-length project, Ponder's infinite EP showed great promise, as it displayed his versatility and potential as a hip-hop artist. In 2017, he quietly released a few singles to show a glimpse of his growth, but it was not until late September when he announced his plans to release his first official project L.V.L.S.
Below, I go through the album track-by-track analysis of Freddy Ponder’s Jan. 20 release.
This sounds like the opening scene to an epic movie; this instrumental tells a story of a warrior who’s walking into a battle and all eyes are on him as he steps on the field ready for war. This battle that he’s getting ready to face is love versus lust. After the opening instrumental, a vintage gaming sound effect comes on, opening up another layer to the album. What does it mean, though?
Quincy Powell (feat. BhadWaiz, Sarob)
Before listening to this track, I knew this title was referring to the character Quincy Powell from the classic film Juice. Fred is comparing himself to Powell, stating he has “the juice” along with featured artists Sarob and BhadWaiz, who paint vivid pictures of themselves. On this track, Freddy also talks about some of his goals: being an artist, making a lot of money and starring in films one day, while in between focusing on those aspirations having flings with different women on campus.
“Energy” most definitely fits the title; it keeps the energy of this album on a high note.
This is such a great instrumental with a dreamy, outer space dance vibe. Hearing this instrumental most definitely lets me know that it truly is another level we are entering. The sound effects now make sense because, just like a video game, you play to reach new levels.
LVLS (feat. Miir)
On “LVLS,” Freddy talks about the battle of falling in love with the girl of his dreams while balancing his passion for music. This song goes through a break up with a girl he was dating and has him coming to grips with his selfish ways. Ponder admits that he’s confused and is caught between love and lust--lust for women, lust for success--but he’s realizing those things are not what they seem to be.
Ponder contemplates the pressure that this break up has done to him mentally, and it seems to have his confidence low as he discusses previous relationships that all ended the same way. This is a true internal battle because his confidence is at an all-time low while he tries to sprint through the pressure.
[Re]Connect (feat. ZB) + Voicemail (Come Thru)
The rapper proceeds to vent about how he wants to reconnect with an old lover, but he knows it is going to end the same way: with tears and heartbreaks. Freddy lost a true love due to the fact that he was stuck in lust, and he knows that they could never reconnect because it will never be the same. Now all Fred has left is the music.
This instrumental is another level into the album; it sounds more confident and happy. It gives me a sunshine-after-rain type of feeling.
Javelin (feat. BhadWaiz) [prod. @GemCityNate] + Release // WavvyGroovy
These two songs show Ponder is now getting his confidence back, reflecting on his old relationship but now finding a new love. Freddy is maturing and learning from his past mistakes and is now a wiser man who appreciates his ex for everything she did. Now he’s willing to make sacrifices and better decisions that he wasn't capable of doing in the beginning.
Train of Thought
On this track, it shows that the hip-hop artist has a gained a lot of wisdom and understanding through his past relationships and is now more focused than ever. He has his music, college degree, family and he realizes that the love that people have for him is more valuable than his lustful thoughts.
This instrumental fits perfect, as it sounds like the ending to a video game when you beat that final level.
Overall, this album is most definitely a great body of work and I would recommend this to anyone. The production is refreshing, the lyrics are very vivid and the structure of the album goes perfectly together.