Ivan B’s “Remains” Engages Listeners With Emotion | Review
April 26, 2019
“This ain’t an album of happiness, this a journal of pain”
This line from the second verse of “Chapter 2” from the album “Remains,” released by Ivan “Bread ‘n’ Water” Paniagua (Ivan B), sums up the theme of the album.
Ivan has been creating music since 2014 with his first mixtape “The Pursuit,” from there he has only been rising with his heartfelt and passionate style of rap.
His greatest hit song “Sweaters” has gathered over 20 million plays alone on major media platforms; however, as said on his website, “though one catchy song does not define who Ivan is at his core…his truths helps [listeners] find their own.”
Through his music, listeners have been able to piece together a story of an emotional, pained person who pours his heart into his lyrics.
“Remains” is no different to the music he has created before.
Despite many single-worthy tracks on the album, it does fall flat in multiple instances across the hour-long listen.
Almost taking away from the rest of the album is the song “Gotta Go,” a very upbeat, raw track that could find its way onto workout playlists.
However, the song’s lyrics don’t draw the listener in and almost contradict themselves throughout the short track.
The track, unlike the realness of the album, pretends to be self-aware and tries to avoid the same-sounding music that has taken over “the game” or “the scene,” something he defines as the music industry.
“Gotta Go” fails to express the message the album is trying to get across, that this album is different and the perseverance of Ivan has allowed him to strive and fly ahead of other rappers.
Ivan makes an effort in the lyrics to emphasize that he is above all the competition, but rather than continue his message, he almost loses it in the repetitiveness of the chorus, something common in the style that has been popularized in “the game” that he and other self-aware rappers have expressed distaste for.
During the 3:26 runtime, Ivan makes himself seem like an all-too common rapper rather than someone different who has spent years working and using his emotions and passion to propel his career.
The song “Thrones” is a different story.
Helping this success is the hit “Thrones,” a song that propels the album’s message and draws listeners in with a combination of Ivan’s unique style, raw emotion and powerful lyrics.
Through the powerful lyrics, Ivan is able to use his self-aware style and message to speak to the listeners on multiple levels.
In “Thrones,” Ivan is able to motivate his audience to work hard and “grind” through the second verse with lines like “who goes to the gym not expecting to sweat? / Who steps on the court that’s afraid of the net?”
On a deeper level, there are many second meanings to Ivan’s lyrics throughout the track that take multiple listens to actually hear.
Ivan indirectly explains his feelings towards his fans, personifying them as a person who he saves “every time it’s pourin’,” a phrase he references throughout the album.
He refers to his emotional lyrics as “pouring,” and often disguises this simply as rain or tears; rather, the word describes the emotions he pours onto the page that he then converts into a heartfelt message that affects thousands of fans.
Despite helping his fans day to day, Ivan directly tells the listener that he “does not want a crown” or praise for it in “Thrones” within the first two lines.
He continually refers to the throne and has in the past through songs on “Forgive Me For My Honesty” and how it needs to be earned through a connection with the fans, not purchased.
Ivan continues this same message and connection throughout “Remains” and his interactions with fans on social media, constantly retweeting his fans’ thanks and praise on his twitter @FROMIVANB.
This message and effect that Ivan achieves through “Thrones” and the subsequent song on the album, “My Way,” allow for “Remains” to be different and stand out among the white noise of thousands of albums released every year.
Besides the obvious faults that occur throughout the runtime of the album that are common for a smaller artist on the rise, like a series of lines that don’t carry the message of the album as well as the poor track “Gotta Go,” “Remains” continues Ivan B’s raw and emotional style that has allowed him to see the success he has seen in such a short time.