Sorry // Future
Future is an enormously prolific artist with a grind matched by few of his peers. Still, in 2017, he released FUTURE and HNDRXX within a week of each other, which is insanely quick even for his own standards. The two albums served as complimentary portraits of Future’s dual personas, cleverly titled after his main stage name and alter ego, “Future Hendrix.” As such, FUTURE was mostly stock Future music and featured few surprises and many bangers. HNDRXX, however, was a step outside his comfort zone both sonically and expressively, featuring more wistful, colorful production and introspective lyricism.
Though I feel HNDRXX as a whole went mostly underappreciated, I’ve singled out “Sorry,” the seven-and-a-half (!) minute finale track (excluding the bonus streaming content). The confessional honesty Future exhibits on “Sorry” makes it a rare, touching moment in his discography.
Produced by Metro Boomin and Cubeatz, the beat is minimal and efficient in its instrumentation. Its plaintive, sedated feel, fostered by a drifting piano melody and dreamy flourishes, compliments Future’s style and subject matter well. For an instrumental with no beat switches or B sections, it fills the long 7:30 runtime without exhausting its interest, providing a perfect background over which Future spills his troubles.
With a title like “Sorry,” it’s not hard to predict the theme, but you never really know with Future. He’s known to head-fake these things, like on “31 DAYS,” with the opening lyric, “This is a moment of clarity,” hinting at some epiphany before revealing that he’s actually talking about his VVS diamonds. “Sorry,” however, follows through on this promise, with the chorus of “Ain’t really mean to hurt you / Sorry it’s gotta be this way.”
It’s particularly interesting to note that Future’s first connection with his ex Ciara — which ended in a messy, public breakup — was on the remix of a song of hers also titled “Sorry.” This sympathetic, remorseful side of Future is rare, but his warbling autotune yelps are undeniably pained and genuine.
Future uses “Sorry” as a canvas to unload his troubles onto, and at 7:30, it’s clear he has a lot of them. With the line, “If I open up my eyes it turn black for real,” cleverly inverting what usually happens when one closes their eyes, he suggests a more metaphorical eye-opening — as if seeing his situation clearly would reveal nothing but darkness.
There’s an irony to Future’s more honest music, which I call the Swimming Pools Effect. It’s named after Kendrick’s hit song of the same name, which ingeniously condemned drowning one’s problems in partying while providing millions with a banging soundtrack to do exactly that to. Future is the king of this morbid irony. Listening closely will reveal that he is unhappy and lost with his lifestyle, but who listens closely to lyrics when they’re dancing, drunk, and drugged-out?
Future has since pivoted back to his wheelhouse of club bangers despite the accomplishment that was HNDRXX, highlighted by songs like “Sorry.” Still, he’s recently mentioned “needing to make another HNDRXX,” which could mean there’s more of this side of Future to come.
I, for one, certainly hope this is the case.