Since arriving in 2020 with his breakthrough debut album 'Ugly Is Beautiful', US artist Oliver Tree has been a contentious artist on the new music scene. Despite numerous hit singles, including the ultra viral effort 'Life Goes On' last year, he has been reduced to a walking meme and internet personality of late. Regularly adopting strange and unusual gimmicks that many say divert attention away from his music, and see him as more of a caricature than anything to be taken seriously. But despite all that, he has now returned to deliver his new full-length 'Cowboy Tears', a record that even he promised would never happen.
It is hard to truly get a handle on Oliver Tree's direction throughout this new collection. Self-described as "cowboy emo", he has far more in common with a 90s indie-pop outfit than anything else, regularly looking to pursue brighter and more anthemic aesthetics with every track. And while there are moments to admire and enjoy on this new release, the bulk of 'Cowboy Tears' has a rather forgettable feel to it as he croons and swoons his way through major key pop-rock offerings that provide the odd toe-tapping moment before slipping back into a mediocre soup of obvious cliches and unimaginative ideas.
While he has proven a number of times before to be a hitmaker when he wants to be, 'Cowboy Tears' feels like a forced endeavour that he never really had his heart in. There is this almost rush to the end within each song, as if every cut is a half-baked concept that he wasn't too keen on developing in the first place.