iann dior’s been making music for years now, and he’s steadily pumping out work that deserves more recognition than it’s getting. dior belongs to a niche group of artists who toe the line between singer and rapper, switch between and meld hip-hop and pop punk, and spill their hearts out with their lyrics. 

With a number one song under his belt, iann dior used his new album, onto better things, as an opportunity to prove he’s a talented musician with more hits inside him. Whether he’s lamenting a broken relationship, dissecting the cold realities of being an artist, or examining his own flaws, his music is honest, haunting, and catchy as hell. His latest release, onto better things, is all of those things, too.

dior begins his album with the lyrics “Who am I? // Who are you?” which serves as a foreboding motif for the rest of the album. He spends the rest of this mellow track replaying a broken relationship and wondering what’s next. It’s a common theme for a breakup song, and not the strongest opening track, but it sets the tone for the album and introduces the introspection he frequently revisits. 

dior’s ability to sing thoughtful lyrics to enticing melodies is one of the reasons his music resonates with so many. He puts this ability on full display with tracks like “heavy” and “thought it was.” The latter, featuring Machine Gun Kelly and Travis Barker, served as a single for the album, and examines the loneliness of fame and methods all three have copped up to using to cope. 

“thought it was” also show’s dior’s genre range, as does “obvious,” which he also teamed up with Barker to write and produce. dior’s explored his affinity for pop punk before releasing these two tracks, often with MGK and Barker, who are leading the charge to usher in a new wave of the seemingly bygone genre, one that incorporates rap music. This has been an underground movement for some time now, but it’s slowly becoming more mainstream thanks to these three artists. 

Some of dior’s best songs historically are his mid-tempo tracks with simple melodies that become instant earworms. Think “gone girl” off Industry Plant and “Sick and Tired” from I’m Gone. This is another underground movement dior has capitalized on, and he peppers plenty of these tracks throughout the record, including “complicate it,” “regret,” and “let you,” one of the album’s standout songs. 

Throughout the entire album, dior touches on themes of relationships, mental health, and self-reflection, all giving us a greater idea of who he is as a person, as he’s credited as a co-writer on every song on the album. He’s as much a songwriter as he is a rapper and singer, and he flexed his abilities throughout the record. 

dior is also part of a much wider group of young artists who are releasing deeply authentic pieces of work. Artists who are meeting the moment and expressing themselves through their music, giving fans of their age relatable music to listen to. Are they brilliant, earth-shattering pieces of work that’ll be discussed for decades to come? No, but they’re good pieces of work that need to be discussed now. 

onto better things isn’t a brilliant, earth-shattering record. It has some cheesy lyrics and interludes that are too long to be interludes, but it’s a good album that I’ll be listening to for months to come, and you should listen, too.

If you want to read more album reviews from Top 5 Records, check out our review of Eminem’s Music To Be Murdered By.