Andy Mineo explores transformation in certain areas of his faith, relationships and mindset in a vivid, life-affirming way in the inspirational 2021 release Neverland II.
Genre-wise he runs the gamut from trap to G-funk to pop to drill, all within a distinct hip-hop framework. By far, the highlight of each single release comes from the way his flows feel like they have no real ending. Not to mention, each collaboration feels necessary for the development of the entire album.
Lyrics are chosen with care & precision.
His mother’s monologues are full of understanding & peace.
Titles signify rebellion merging with growth.
Every verse matters in this highly personal tale building up to a much larger scope breaking down a world bigger and greater than ourselves. He knows what his life trajectory looks like and the massive success he’s destined for but also takes into consideration every single life defining moment creating the man he is today. Avid listeners will resonate with Neverland II where the whole experience ruminates the feeling of being unsure of who he is then identifying with the necessary healing he’s about to endure to then knowing he’s built for the life he’s building, starting with the retrospective ambience of “Am I…”.
Neverland II is a continuation of the 2014 original release Neverland featuring seven songs prematurely giving us what Andy Mineo is all about. Becoming a God-fearing man, experimenting with new rhythms and collaborations, taking his confidence with him everywhere he goes, sharing the Gospel, and enjoying the joys of life, yet these songs don’t portray him at his very best. They lack the depth portrayed in the newest release, clearly signaling the changes he’s gone through in growing spiritually, mentally and in his relationships in the past few years. The highlight “Paganini” shows tribute to his ultimate inspiration, who in his eyes is the most hardcore violinist to ever live, Niccolò Paganini. Paganini, referred to as the devil’s violinist, played the violin so fast and violently that his listeners believed he was possessed by the devil. Mineo applies his known talent of rapping to spit out his verses in a similar style.
“…Falling” follows the introductory song’s groove with the looping in the background giving off a hypnotic quality. It’s the formative years that feel like they’re tying everything together and helping him bloom in a world where it’s impossible to tell if he’s “fallin’ from the sky or fallin’ in your hand?”. Volume matters on the intense rumble of “Been About It (feat. Lecrae).” Not only speaking of the obvious increase in volume, this single turns up the intensity with Mineo and Lecrae taking in everything they’ve accomplished in their lives. Even the acoustic version with Joseph Solomon needs to be played at its highest volume to fully take in its magic. On “You Know the Drill (feat. Wordsplayed, Magic & Bird)” the track hits with a hard fury. Easily the highlight of the album comes from the impeccable “Working On It” where the song gets built up in a bright, boisterous way. Keeping things intimate is the hopeful dream of “Nobody’s Coming.” Guitar and beats blend together on the sun-drenched spirit of “Remind Me (feat. JVKE)” where they hold nothing back, reveling in a high level of vulnerability. Gorgeous chords of “Not Gon’ Do (feat. Joseph Solomon)” feature a playful cadence. Creative glitch effects give “Priorities” a freshness to them with a spaciousness to it that adds a sense of belonging. Sprawling “Trying” seems to waft on up into the very sky. With “Coming in Hot (feat. Lecrae)” the album ends off on a fantastically flexible note.
One thing that remains clear throughout his entire album trajectory is Mineo’s love for mixing musical beats and rhythms together that may not fit altogether without having the vision in mind first. It’s apparent when listening to his official full-length album Formerly Known from 2013 then steadily diving into the latest release. There’s a vast variety of sounds keeping his songs intact that somehow and in its own Mineo fashion works in the development of his tracks.
Neverland II shows off Andy Mineo’s uncanny storytelling through his own personal Paganini talents blessing fans with his music driven by sincere lyricism and mind-blowing creativity exploring a rich, unexpected world listeners may not have been expecting. Neverland II is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc.