The average member of Generation Z society – whether they’d like to admit it or not – most likely had a Musical.ly account in 2014. Publicly lip-syncing to Halsey and Fetty Wap as a tween was a rite of passage for those of us in college today, with the unlucky ones among us forgetting the passwords needed to wipe the internet clean of such humiliation.
If you were (un)lucky enough to have participated in Musical.ly before the app’s acquisition by the now beloved TikTok, then you undoubtedly have heard the name Jacob Sartorious. A tween himself, Sartorius became one of the app’s most popular content creators, skyrocketing to a realm of lip-sync-induced internet fame that one would’ve thought to be impossible just a few years prior.
Flash forward over seven years since Sartorius’ peak Musical.ly fame and his release of an “alternative-inspired” EP, Lost But Found, was bound to catch the attention of much of his now-adult fan base. With five tracks and a runtime of 13 minutes, the listen is thankfully short. It’s a terrible work that makes listeners wish that Sartorius had just stuck to lip-syncing.
Kicking off the EP is “For Real,” a song that blends milquetoast production with lyrics that feel as though they were written by an emo sixth-grader. Backed by a painfully simple beat and a disappointing guitar riff, Sartorius sings, “Yeah, I lie, lie, lie, lie/ Tell everybody that I’m fine, fine, fine, fine/ Even though I’m dead inside/ I don’t feel alright.” Gratingly repetitive, the quality of the track would be disappointing coming from Sartorius himself but is made more concerning considering the eight songwriters (yes, eight) who assisted in assembling the dumpster fire of a song.
“Hey, Hello, Goodbye,” featuring Seattle-based songwriter Dempsey Hope, is equally, if not more disappointing than its predecessor. Sartorius’ extremely limited vocal range is put onto full display as he attempts to sing in a register that would be risky even for those with actual vocal talent. With a cringeworthy lighter-flick intro, a piano backing reminiscent of Charlie Puth (not a compliment) and lyrics such as, “Hey, hello, goodbye/ Runaway, get high/ Talking to a bunch of people, I don’t even really like,” the song plays as a disingenuous departure from Sartorius’ childish beginnings — it’s essentially a lyrical essay trying to prove to you that he smokes weed.
Another track that gets lost in the jumble of heartless, faux-emotional mush is “Trapped in the Car,” a song about how all the “pretty girls” surrounding Sartorius are evil — unabashedly playing into the tiresome “players have hearts too” trope. An out-of-place orchestral intro builds into an incredibly bland guitar backing, starting the song off on the wrong foot within a matter of seconds. As he sings, “Got all these pretty girls/ And they tryna rule my world/ Call me a young Casanova it ain’t true,” listeners are forced to bear with the question: Who on earth is calling Jacob Sartorius a “young Cassanova” to begin with?
Lost But Found is annoying, to say the least, making dedicated listeners wonder what else they could’ve done with the 13 minutes directly stolen from them by the hands of Sartorius himself. In a desperate attempt to distance himself from his childhood Musical.ly fame, Sartorius unintentionally appears even more childish than he did before the EP’s release. Underwhelming all-around, the EP is only listenable through an ironic lens, and even then one should avoid listening to the work in its entirety.
Ian Fredrickson covers music. Contact him at [email protected].