Now perhaps more than ever, there is a widening divide in regards to the general populations response to artists and celebrities dealing with and going through substance abuse problems. Some people are vocal in their support while others are quick to throw shade, citing that “fame” and “glory” are certainly not reasons to succumb to personal demons. Of course, this fame/glory argument fails to take into account so many other factors that go into play in a person’s life, including both internal and external elements…but that’s a different story for a different time.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s vital to remember that no matter how famous a person is or isn’t, they are human – the only difference between the person begging for change and the person on the cover of magazines and movie posters is the attention the public pays to them. No matter one’s position or title, we are all here on Earth as spirits inhabiting the physical form.
So, we are all allowed to fuck up and to make mistakes. And, quite frankly, we should be allowed to do so without people, particularly those who don’t know one’s full story, casting negative vibes out into the Universe. The key is one’s ability to persevere through the trials and tribulations, learning from the process and growing into a better version of themselves as their individual journey continues.
When Sam Lachow released Play/Pretend towards the end of August last year, he came forth with 5 tracks of raw, unfiltered self-analysis and reflection. Throughout the EP, Lachow displayed his vulnerability while also showcasing the determination and, most importantly, the love that is driving him towards self-improvement. Listeners were able to witness Lachow touch on his most personal subject matter to-date, using his lyrics to paint vivid pictures of his addiction, his partying/social life, and his life in general.
While Play/Pretend was a fun album, it primarily centered on serious subject matter backed by somber, introspection-inducing production. The music felt like it was therapeutic for Lachow, offering him an outlet to get what he’d been living through off his chest, out his head and into the open. He had seen the light, so to speak, and the EP was his story of survival and growth.
Fast forward to last April and the release of Motels & Minivans. By this point in time, Lachow was back in full swing, appearing to be in higher spirits then ever before (editor’s note: I don’t know dude, so I’m basing this all on what was observed on social media & the music he was releasing).
The 5-track Motels & Minivans was recorded while Sam was on the road, touring with his friends. Besides the actual music, that’s the highlight of the EP – the listener can so easily feel how much fun was had in the creation of this project. And this should come as no surprise, as that’s been Lachow’s style since day one – cook up pure sonic gems with his friends. On Motels & Minivans, we get to hear Sam rock with some of his classic collaborators, including Wilson Luxurious and Nacho Picasso. The EP is without question a family affair, with Lachow calling on Elan Wright, Luxurious, Jake Crocker, Eric Biddines and Saint Claire on “Seventeen Summers” alone.
It’s a beautiful thing to know at least parts of Sam’s struggles, based on his own accounts, and then to hear so much light, love and positivity radiating from the music without the dark clouds of excessive drug use/abuse hanging over head. If you’ve listened to Friends, Funk & Liquor, you’re aware it was a fun album overall but the aura of drug use is prominent throughout. On his latest effort, the music permeates with good times, reflective minds and positive vibes.
Motels & Minivans kicks off with the appropriately titled “Tour Music”. Along with B Skeez and Magik, Sam starts the record off with a catchy joint that’s riddled with a balance of serious and fun content. It’s almost as if “Tour Music” takes the vibes of Play/Pretend and blends them with the overall vibe of Motels & Minivans. The highlight of the track comes when Lachow reflects on meeting a fan who began using drugs after listening to Sam’s music but has been sober since hearing Play/Pretend. Although we are all responsible for our own decisions, and we need to take responsibility and hold ourselves accountable for our actions, the line showcases the influence – positive or negative – an artist can have on their fans.
Evident throughout the EP is Lachow’s versatility in regards to his content and delivery. If you’ve never listened to his music before, this project would serve as a fine introduction to the Seattle by way of NY-based artist’s ability to lace a track with reflective lyrics as well as his on-point party-esque flow. You also get a sense of how well Lachow is able to match his lyrics to the vibe of the production. From start to finish, every element of each track is synced to perfection, drawing just the right emotions from the listener.
Coming out on the other side of his addictions, it’s awesome to see and hear Sam having this much fun making music again. Considering this EP was just a little something put together on tour to hold fans over while Lachow works on his next album, Motels & Minivans really showcases how talented Sam and his friends are.
While we wait for Lachow to complete and release his forthcoming album, be sure to check out Motels & Minivans below. And if you’re a new listener, take solace in the fact that Sam Lachow has a pretty extensive catalogue of music spanning back to 2011 that is available now on all streaming platforms as well as YouTube.