We have been fans of Planetarian for a LONG time. Being a Planetarian fan can be tricky at times. The guy does not always travel down the easiest path. You will not like all of his music, and that is okay. That is natural. Here is a young artist who understands the big picture. I think he has taught himself like 20 instruments. He produces his own music. He writes his own music. He writes lyrics that are thought-provoking and relevant. Like every artist should do but some do not, he makes the music he wants to hear, and he is competing against his heroes.
What first drew us to Derek Simpson was the nostalgia-ridden, sepia-toned, summer sound of his self-titled debut album. Back then, that was his only trick. Planetarian’s new album In Mind (his fourth album in two years!) is set firmly in the present and has an ever-expansive sound that traverses every genre known to man. The kid is rocking out on “Keep Your Lingerie,” flexing his rap skills on “Insecure,” and entering total ballad territory on “Mend.” He is talking to his generation of under-21, pothead burnouts who are addicted to social media and have no real sense of identity, and he is encouraging everyone to love themselves and stop being followers.
After the first listen, you will realize that this is far and away Derek’s best album yet. It is also one of the best albums of the year.