As the term draws to a close, Gemma reviews the newest releases of the week.
fake friend – nothing, nowhere.:
nothing,nowhere., AKA Joseph Mulherin, released fake friend alongside the announcement of forthcoming album ‘TRAUMA FACTORY’, which will be released on February 19th.
Mulherin’s last full-length album ‘ruiner’ focused primarily on his emo-rap tendencies, accompanied by trap drums and hi-hats. However, some tracks such as sayer and sinker experimented with singing rather than rapping, providing hints of the potential of his singing vocals. fake friend further explores this potential, over a guitar-driven instrumental, with no trap instrumentation in sight, replaced with pop-punk inspired percussion.
“’TRAUMA FACTORY’ is an accumulation of songs written during a confusing time,” he explains. “It is about accepting the present and following your true north through the pain and suffering of human life. I wanted to make an album that was truly genre-less and inspire others to challenge themselves artistically. I believe the most inspiring art is unpredictable and unrestrictive. to me that’s what ‘TRAUMA FACTORY’ is.”
With five songs from ‘TRAUMA FACTORY’ already released (fake friend being the sixth), Mulherin has already demonstrated that he has explored and experimented with novel sounds, resulting in a collection of songs which cannot be confined to one genre – blood features higher-pitched vocals than any of his previous releases, whereas death experiments with aggressive rapping.
Mulherin has already demonstrated that he has explored and experimented with novel sounds, resulting in a collection of songs which cannot be confined to one genre
fake friend captures the emotion-fuelled, vulnerable lyrics and emo-infused alternative punk sound that Mulherin has well and truly mastered by this point in his career, with an energetic chorus that sounds much bigger than his previous work, exposing the most expressive, emotional and moving side to his voice.
Rainbow – Bladee & Mechatok:
Rainbow is the third and final single from Bladee and Mechatok’s forthcoming collaborative album ‘Good Luck’ – described as an eight-track project written amidst a sense of “impending doom” last winter, pairing meditative atmospheres with effervescent club arrangements, offering a captivating experience of pop as a spiritual form by his record label, Year0001.
Speaking of ‘effervescent club arrangements’, Rainbow has the most club-inspired production out of the three singles that have been released prior to the project, with bouncy, upbeat, dance-infused synths and drums, courtesy of producer Mechatok. With a much more upbeat and dance-pop inspired approach, these sounds are worlds away from Bladee’s renowned trap-leaning style of production seen on his previous projects such as ‘Eversince’ and ‘Red Light’.
“I like to reinvent Bladee,” he explains in an interview with The Fader. “When I get tired of something, I just want to move onto the next part of the saga.” This reinvention has occurred multiple times throughout his career, as his sound has evolved from cold, lonely and depressive cloud-rap to a happier, positive, pop-leaning sound. As he gained a notable fanbase, he realised it was unwise to dwell on depression in his lyrics, “I don’t want to make it sound cool to be depressed”, he explains. “I also love life and think it’s beautiful to be here.”
With his recent projects ‘Exeter’ and ‘333’ serving as representations of these experimentations with a more uplifting, optimistic sound, Rainbow sees Bladee further evolve these experimentations to the next level by incorporating dance elements into the production of the track. It represents the next chapter of reinvention for an artist whose sound has never remained the same for a longer time period than one album cycle.
Bloody Knees – daine:
At only 17-years old, Australian artist daine’s new single Bloody Knees is released hot on the heels of her previous A-side Ascension and its B-side Angel Numbers which dropped near the beginning of November. With only five songs officially released on streaming services, she is still very early in her career, but has wasted no time in establishing a genre-bending, futuristic, dark-pop sound, whilst harnessing the expressive emotion of emo bands such as Tigers Jaw and American Football.
This effectively blends the nostalgic tones of early 2000’s emo with a modern, futuristic approach to song-writing and production, merging the past and the future together timelessly
Initially, a ‘nitecore’ version of Bloody Knees appeared daine’s Soundcloud 3 months ago, on September 15th, sampling the experimental duo 100 Gec’s track Hand Crushed by a Mallet. This version entirely abandoned the emo-leaning tendencies seen previously in daine’s work, opting for a glittery hyperpop-infused sound (as anticipated from the Gec’s sample) including pitch-shifted vocals and increased tempo.
The version of Bloody Knees released to streaming services on December 10th returns to her typical moody emo-tones and angelically gentle, silky, smooth vocals. These elements are incorporated seamlessly with the modern hip-hop leaning, trap-inspired production and drums. This effectively blends the nostalgic tones of early 2000’s emo with a modern, futuristic approach to song-writing and production, merging the past and the future together timelessly.
Within her very short career so far, she has already established herself as a forward-thinking, innovative artist. Rather than remaining trapped in the past by recreating the sounds of her influences from decades past, she successfully pays tribute to the 2000’s emo era of music, whilst simultaneously striding forward into the future with her own unique sound.
Reminds Me Of You – Juice WRLD & The Kid LAROI:
Released on the first anniversary of Juice WRLD’s unfortunate and untimely passing, Reminds Me Of You is a flip of Kim Petras’ February 2020 track Reminds Me.
The track features previous collaborator and close friend 17-year-old The Kid LAROI, whom Juice mentored during his lifetime. He paid his respects to the late rapper, whom was like a “big brother” to him, on social media when announcing the release of the track, sharing the cover art and the message “thank u for everything bro. without you there would be no me. I love and miss u unconditionally,” on Instagram.
The track, much like Juice’s previous posthumous releases, perfectly honours the rapper’s legacy
He also gave credit and gratitude to Petras on Twitter for allowing him to honour Juice WRLD with a remake of her song. “Big thank you to @kimpetras for allowing us to remake & share our version of her song with the world,” he wrote.
Petras released a video in which she recalled the day when Juice recorded his verse for the track. “I had always, always in the back of my mind hoped it would see the light of day, because it’s so good and I was such a big fan,” she said. “And obviously it’s very tragic what happened to Juice, and I’ve always hoped there would be some kind of way that his verse can come out.”
The track, much like Juice’s previous posthumous releases, perfectly honours the rapper’s legacy. “I think he was a great artist, and the music shouldn’t stop being released, because he definitely deserves to live forever and his legacy deserves to be great,” The Kid LAROI said. “I mean yeah, hearing it you forget that he’s not here with us anymore, and so in a way, it kind of feels like normal.”
CONVERSATIONS – Aries:
CONVERSATIONS was initially teased in an Instagram live in November 2019, coined Tumble by fans. In December 2020, it was finally released officially on streaming services, an entire year after the Instagram live, as the second single for Aries’ sophomore album, following the first single FOOL’S GOLD. The track was written and produced by Aries himself.
“CONVERSATIONS is about begging for attention. Whether that be from someone in particular or more generally,” he summarises. The track sees him experiment with an indie-rock/pop-punk guitar-driven instrumental. These genres are previously unexplored territory for him, resulting in the track being a seamless fusion of slacker rock, alternative, and catchy, addictive radio-friendly pop.
Despite deviating slightly from his renowned emo-rap, hip-hop infused sound, elements of it still remain in the track – he doesn’t drift too far from his roots. However, these novel experimentations within the production of the track give his sound a new, refreshing lease of life, marking a true progression in his music.
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