"Ugly is Beautiful"- Oliver Tree Review

Written by: Julieta Vega

After a long awaited album release, Oliver Tree released his first and final album ‘Ugly is Beautiful.’ The singer delayed the album due to COVID on March 25th. He announced that the album was going to be released on June 12th, but he postponed it to not take away attention from the Black Lives Matter Movement. The album was released on July 17th. Due to conflicting issues with his record label and fans, Oliver announced ‘Ugly is Beautiful’ is his last album. With this being the last album of Oliver Tree, we take a look at the album and Oliver Tree himself.

The album begins with ‘Me, Myself, & I’, a catchy, repetitive track with distorted vocals. Oliver discusses how it’s better to say something stupid, rather than saying nothing at all. Oliver states in the Apple Music track description “At this point, I’m currently working on learning how to filter my thoughts so that I can be a little more fine-tuned with it, but ultimately, I’d rather say something than nothing.” ‘1993 (feat. Little Ricky ZR3)’ follows and Oliver discusses how growing up he had to pick himself up when no one else could. ‘1993’ features a new artist Little Ricky ZR3, which sparked a search on who the mysterious artist is. Oliver describes Little Ricky ZR3 as “...he’s going to be the biggest artist on the planet…” Many fans speculate that this could be Oliver’s next project, but only time will tell. 

Cash Machine’ is the next track that discusses happiness and money. Oliver tells how buying items and showing it off won’t bring someone happiness. He continues on in the song by saying the more you buy, the more addicted you become to materialistic items. The next track ‘Let Me Down’ focuses on Oliver’s emotions after postponing his album. He felt he let his fans down after delaying the album due to COVID, but he also expressed that he doesn’t care if his fans forgive him or not. ‘Miracle Man’ is one of the tracks that has a heavy indie-pop influence. The rhythm guitar and acoustic guitar switching on and off,  plus the melancholy tone in Oliver’s voice fit the theme for an indie-pop track. ‘Bury Me Alive’ is a unique track off the record as it features influence of Hip-Hop and a lyric from his past. The track features the sample of a record being scratched with synthesizer beats. The sample is somewhat similar to the Beastie Boys single ‘Intergalactic.’ During the bridge of the track, Oliver says “Death ray, golden age” which is the same lyric used in one of his previous songs ‘Rising Phoenix.’ 

Alien Boy’ was first featured in Oliver’s EP by the same name. The song is filled with catchy beats and hypothesizing vocals. ‘Alien Boy’ is still one of Oliver’s most notable tracks and who can blame him? The track is easy to follow and is extremely playable on mainstream radio stations. However, ‘Joke’s On You!’ is the complete opposite. ‘Joke’s On You!‘ follows a darker route with more intense lyrics and alternative influence. Oliver explains “I’ve seen the toxic energy that exists in the way that people project their own insecurities and their own unhappiness on others....You need to learn to love yourself, you need to learn how to laugh at yourself .” Like the previous tracks, it has Hip-Hop influence beats, but also some alternative influence towards the bridge. With the quiet, yet strong guitar Oliver continues to deliver his message. ‘Again & Again’ then follows the same theme as the other tracks. ‘Again & Again’ felt repetitive with the same beats, guitar rhythm, and Oliver’s melancholy voice. ‘Waste My Time’ followed and had the same pattern as the previous tracks, however, the track had an interesting twist. The track started with an indie-pop sound, which then transitioned into an angelic choir sound. Oliver mentions that Little Ricky ZR3 did the violin, violia, and cello for the ending of the song. ‘Waste My Time’ showcases Oliver's mixture of genres and instruments and how well he is able to accomplish a solid sound. 

The last four tracks express the same emotion and tone of pain, overthinking, and leaving everything behind. ‘Jerk’ discusses how Oliver doesn’t want to be around jerks anymore, but how we are also jerks. Oliver tells “It’s a double-sided blade, but it’s a song about those people that you really hope you never see again.” ‘Hurt’ is another notable track from Oliver, which was released as a single in 2018. Oliver wrote the song after getting into a scooter accident resulting in broken wrists. Oliver describes the accident as life changing and while recovering he wrote ‘Hurt.’ ‘Introspective’ has the influence of alternative music with 90’s music influence. Oliver’s vocals are, again, melancholy, but has the same direction of Beck. Beck is known for his 90’s hit ‘Loser’, but also for his talent in experimenting with genres of Rap, Indie, and Alternative. Oliver follows in a similar route as he also experiments with those genres and has somewhat similar vocals to Beck. Lastly, ‘I’m Gone’ discusses Oliver leaving the music scene. He realized that people will continue to judge him for his music and character. Oliver contradicts himself as earlier he said he didn’t care what his fans or others think of him delaying his album. However, Oliver is valid in discussing what upsets him and how this anger leads him into leaving music. 

Oliver Tree is an interesting individual with astonishing talent and musical artistry. It’s upsetting to see him leave the music scene due to those against him. If the fan theories prove right that Little Ricky ZR3 is him, then I’m excited to see what musical path Oliver takes. My personal take on Ugly is Beautiful is how Oliver's emotions throughout the album are expressed. He expressed sadness, pain, anger, joy, and judgement. Granted, the majority of the album was released or teased during his tour. Due to the delays of the album, fans felt the album wasn’t worth waiting for. Almost all of the songs are less than three minutes long and are repetitive; following the same drum beat and guitar. In the end, Oliver expected that reaction and still continued to release the album. I enjoyed the album, but it felt short. ‘Bury Me Alive’ and ‘Waste My Time’ are my favorite tracks off the album. Both were unique in their own way and displayed Oliver’s talent. Whatever Oliver decides to do after music, I hope nothing but the best for him and hopes his next journey takes him well! Check out Ugly is Beautiful on Spotify & Apple Music!