NF released his highly anticipated fourth studio album, The Search, on July 26th after having an extraordinary amount of success from his previous chart-topping 2017 album, Perception. The rapper released three singles with accompanying music videos prior to the release of this new record to gain excitement including “The Search,” “When I Grow Up,” “Time,” and “WHY” accompanying the album which was a single released in 2018.
Nathan Feuerstein is no stranger to creative word-play, an amazing production (thanks to Tommee Profitt) and use of his past and present to make music that is in one word, REAL, which happens to be his slogan. A lot of today’s society relate to his lyrics and are interested in the portrayal of his life with mention of mental health, questioning/searching for faith, and the stress that comes with being famous.
The Search begins with the stand-out title track “The Search,” which is a conversation that Nate is having about his journey over the last year. Talking about the reality that comes with seeing a therapist, being diagnosed with a mental illness, and how being at the top of the industry and having a lot of success doesn’t mean that his head is always in a safe space. This was the first song that was released from the album on May 30th to announce and promote the album.
“Leave Me Alone” dives deeper into mental health and mental illness, explaining Nate’s recent diagnosis with OCD disorder. With reference to “NO NAME” and his call to fame with the lyrics saying:
“Remember back in “NO NAME,” I said fame called?
Told you I hung up, it kinda felt wrong
Finally called him back, we didn’t talk long (No)
He asked me how I’d been, I sent him this song
Yeah, think he took offense, he kinda seemed off
I texted him that night to ask what he thought
It took a couple days to get a response
But once I finally did, he said this song sucks”
The music video for “Leave Me Alone” was released on July 26th, the same day as The Search.
“Change” hits the ground running with an up-beat tempo fluctuating around his tone singing and rapping throughout the song. Nate fights with change that’s invulnerable around him and struggles with his faith with the lyric: “Last year, I felt suicidal. This year, I might do somethin’ different like talkin’ to God more.”
“My Stress” talks about Nate’s stress and makes a reference to “Outro” by questioning his life,
“These stress levels are not healthy
I’m waitin’ for that call sayin’ records are not selling
I wonder when this all disappears and they forget me
Will I feel like I found who I was or be more empty?
I wonder was I was wrong thinkin’ this is where God led me
Or did I get involved with somethin’ that was too heavy?
I drive until I’m lost and just sit in my car yelling
My inner critic talks, I’m just hopin’ that God helps me to stop stressin’”
“Nate” is a song filled with advice to his younger self, throwing life lessons like curve balls and spilling his emotions out for fans to hear and learn about. Bringing up topics such as his parents divorce, abandonment issues and his past around intoxicated people, and how it has affected him over time and how it all led to creating music but it’s not making him as happy as he thought it would.
“Time (Extended)” was released as a single just a few weeks before the album release, a song showcasing Nate’s singing vocals, a soon to be chart-topping radio single talking about the struggles throughout a relationship while working on the inner-self. “Time” also completes the album taking away some of the violin intro for a more mysterious intro and shortening the song briefly.
“Returns” comes in with an up-beat, high-pitch background vocals serving lyrical bars. Making reference to his song “Oh Lord” off his album, Therapy Session, and in the last line making reference to his popular hit “Outcast” off his last album, Perception.
“When I Grow Up” was the third single off of this new record. The song is about Nate wishing to be a rapper when he grows up, not work a 9-5 job or go to college and get in debt. The music video for the song depicts NF playing roles of janitor, trash-man, fast food worker, and a rapidly growing crowd at shows with a massive sold out crowd concert scene at the end of the video which was planned and filmed in Nashville when NF invited fans via social media to be apart of the music video.
“Only” is the one song that has a feature, Sasha Sloan who is a popular Los Angeles based singer-songwriter and her vocals perfectly blend with the song during the chorus. “Let Me Go” talks about NF’s struggle with his faith and finding hope, a common theme which is present throughout the album. The song continues into the Interlude, which is a short clip of NF talking about being at the top of the industry and feeling suicidal.
“My most considered, like, “successful” moment of my life was the worst. The most depressed I’ve ever been. Literally feeling like I’d probably be happier if I was just dead. I got a number one on Billboard, my song is massive right now—like, I may never have a song this big again. My tour, I think every date sold out except one date. So I literally had everything that I had always dreamed of happening (Yeah), and I felt… I didn’t feel happy at all.”
“Hate Myself” lets Nate release all his inner thoughts about himself. Mixing singing in the chorus with rapid fire rap verses, you really feel the emotion released within the song. “I Miss The Days” is about NF reminiscing his childhood, exposing more of himself than we’ve seen in previous music from the rapper. He misses when he wasn’t being criticized by everyone and was actually happy.
“No Excuses” is one of the most high-energy tracks off of the album, where NF is saying excuses wouldn’t have gotten him to where he is today. The chorus references people trying to figure out how he made it in the industry but his talent shines. “Like This” reflects on the changes NF has been going through that are causing him to feel lost and mentions struggling in relationships with people.
“Options” features a drum and vocal beat, with a line NF shared on social media as a teaser, “Take my thoughts into hyper-speed, when it’s all gone and I hit my peak at least I’ll know that I took that leap” prior to the album release.
Another standout track on the record is “WHY”, which talks about Nate questioning himself and his thoughts being against him, explaining how nothing ever feels good enough to him despite how much he’s worked on it. This can be seen in the lyrics:
“Nothin’ to me’s ever good enough
I could be workin’ for 24 hours a day and think I never did enough
My life is a movie, but there ain’t no tellin’ what you’re gonna see in my cinema
I wanna be great, but I get in the way of myself and I think about everything that I could never be”
“Thinking” is about NF thinking back on his life, how his mental health was straining him in 2018 making life on the road difficult enough to lead to him spiraling. From hating himself, to dealing with the trauma and feelings of being alone.
“Trauma” is the only song that is solely singing, a surprising yet beautiful finish to compliment the album as a whole which we really enjoyed. The song features a piano and string compilation which perfectly matches his singing about longing for a connection with someone when you need them the most. Overall, NF has brought together his past and present emotions to create an album that is sure to be a hit on the charts and is a beautiful piece of music art, and is already No. 1 on the iTunes. This an album you could play front to back on repeat and not get tired of it, as every song is unique to itself and has lyrics most of us, if not everyone can relate to.
Pick up the album now, HERE.