Total Xanarchy sounds exactly like what critics of trap music think all trap music sounds like. It’s Lil Xan’s debut album, and is his first proper attempt at a full length project, and after stating that it’s ‘a very mature sound’ and where he ‘shines creatively’, fans may have had high hopes. They were wrong to. From start to finish, this project is underproduced, underwritten, and consistently let down by Lil Xan’s weak flow. With production being handled primarily by DJ Fu and Bobby Johnson, both who have significant experience in the genre, the beats somehow manage to be flat and lifeless, and lack any creativity. Even more disappointing is the Ronny J produced beat ‘Tick Tock’, which manages to distinguish itself as even worse than the rest of the project, as a result of it’s obnoxious hi-hats and droning bass that has been used to replace any resemblance of a melody.
Escape Room reviews typically attempt to highlight the strongest and weakest tracks from a project, however it’s impossible to distinguish any track for being good. Lyrically, almost every track is repetitive cliches, filled with insufferable references to his women, jewelry and drugs. While Xan’s ‘anti Xanax’ message is commendable, the sincerity of it is lost within the context of the song; not every song needs a strong message, but this project tries to have one, and fails spectacularly. Even if there was a powerful, nuanced message to this project, like Lil Xan claims there is, it would be locked away behind his indecipherable vocal performances. At times some material, such as Saved By the Bell sounds like it was performed either while intoxicated, or asleep, to such a degree it goes beyond a stylistic choice. Furthermore, there’s no variation to Xan’s flow on any track; so much for his self proclaimed creativity.
Under Columbia records, one would imagine that Lil Xan has access to a wealth of artists to choose from to feature. But perhaps as a result of his controversial statements surrounding the late 2pac (which we defended here), the project lacks any supporting vocals from his peers, and instead relies on 2 Chainz and Rae Sremmurd, and an unoriginal verse from Rich the Kid on a betrayed remix. As a result of either poor mixing or not being in his comfort zone, 2 Chainz’s verse on Tick Tock lacks energy and manages to sound as dull as Lil Xan. Moonlight, a somewhat interesting ballad, and one of the better tracks (but not by much) features sugary, glossy vocals from Charli XCX, however both her contribution and the acoustic guitar get swallowed by the clumsy 808s. In concept it could have worked, but it would have been better as a track led by Charli, and the feature of Lil Xan, so it could properly capture the delicate tone it was going for. Colorblind was one of the weaker tracks on California, an EP released by Diplo, yet manages to stand out as one of the best tracks on the project. Due to it being covered in the California Review, and being ripped from Diplo’s release without any form of remixing, this review won’t be considering it when talking about the project overall.
At the end of the day, the only surprise from Total Xanarchy is that it manages to disappoint, despite having zero expectations. It’s bland, repetitive and underproduced, and is arguably one of the worst releases of 2018 so far. Some of his previous singles like Betrayed are still fun, if not good, but are recycled on tracks like Who I am. Fans of Lil Xan’s previous work may still find it enjoyable, but the slow, sad-rap tone prevents any track being good for club bangers or guilty pleasures. If you’re blessed with hearing, stay far away from Lil Xan’s debut album, Total Xanarchy.