I’ve been writing about and paying attention to Crenshaw District’s own Xian Bell since October 2018, though my introduction to him was initially as a rapper. Upon digging further into his discography, I got to see where his true excellence lay – the vocals. In a time where many feel singers are merely performing and not truly connecting with their content in a way that fans can feel, the “Dollar And A Promise” artist is as emotional-sounding as you can get. Don’t confuse it with soft, but rather self-aware, vulnerable, and honest.
One by one, he unleashed singles and accompanying visuals that made it pretty clear he had a lot to say to the women. The 31-minute, 10-song collection that is You Were In My Dream is a multi-faceted approach. He’s open about his desire to get freaky right from the onset in “Do You,” detailing his drinking and how no one can compare to what he does to whoever is hearing the message. He doesn’t want to hear that she doesn’t have time because he’s got the time and he’s ready to pullup whenever.
Rated TG shows up a lot over the project when it comes to production and has developed an efficient symbiotic relationship with Xian. The melodies and flows fit faultlessly with the drums, hi-hats, and synths ultimately creating an immersive listening experience that transports you to a specific place. You see the stories play out and create a visual in your head of how exactly they go upon hearing his words.
“Señorita” he shows off his bilingual abilities, expressing his desire to slide on the late night with a woman of presumably Latina descent. Kudos to him for using the word “bitch” and correcting himself mid-song. I always support kings being aware of their mistakes and making up for them. He’s a shooter, definitely sly with his words and not afraid to get very detailed in order to get his point across.
“Would You Mind” he’s clearly invested in someone and is calling for them to come back to him because their bond was too strong. He finds himself in quite a few situations where he’s pouring his heart out while intoxicated, but I admire how unfiltered and relentless he can be. He’s being polite too, asking in the chorus if she would mind him coming. A shift from the energy in “Do You” but still on a mission.
“Fall In Love (The Other Side of The Silent Treatment)” closes the album in a heartfelt way. He’s addressing a complicated relationship, full of missed calls and intentional pettiness toward one another. He sounds defeated, especially because he initially did not plan to fall in love.
Over the chorus, he says he’s gonna sit back and enjoy the ride even if it’s tough. An angry woman will put you through a lot if you toy with her heart, so I feel him. He’s firm in his stance, reminding her no one will love her like him so they might as well figure it out. Singles like “Dollar And A Promise” and “2Am” fit very well over the course of the project, and will just always hit for me. Relatable content addressing relevant themes today, especially for men will always go. We don’t always go about love the best, but we sure do try to make epic comebacks inspired by alcohol.
It’s an exciting time to be Xian, with the album out, co-signs from Rory from The Joe Budden Podcast and Lauren London via IG story screenshot, and performing with REASON at Rolling Loud. I’m impressed with You Were In My Dream and I’m interested to see how this withstands the test of time. Given how hard Bell works, it may not be long before we get a whole new set of late-night crooner anthems.
Stream You Were In My Dream below!