by: Kim Regala and Kitty Cheung
ALIVE! By N’RTH
SFU Stephen Kloppenburg is the man behind the artist, N’RTH, and his album ALIVE! blends all of his musical influences to create a unique style fit for any fan of music — whether they be a hip-hop fan, an EDM enthusiast, or maybe even an indie rock fanatic.
Undoubtedly the best in the album, his title track “Alive!” showcases this musical diversity quite well. Not only does he sing, but he also lays down some pretty impressive rap verses. However, it’s the guitar that steals the spotlight for me, from the way he layers different rhythms in the beginning to that enjoyable solo at the end. “Tongue Tied” comes in as a close second to best, as it is a definite head-banger that could easily get a crowd pumped.
While most musicians spend their whole career aiming to perfect a sound that fits a particular genre, N’RTH steps outside of this norm and produces something that is beyond a single category. – KR
BALLADS 1 by Joji
As Joji’s debut album, BALLADS 1 infuses trip-hop and R&B with major sadboi vibes.
Following a successful and meme-worthy YouTube comedy career as Filthy Frank, Joji transitioned into a more pensive and nuanced artist with the release of his melancholic EP In Tongues. As a producer and lyricist, he continues to deal with lost love and loneliness in BALLADS 1, a sentimental collection of romantic songs.
While Joji does create chill beats with simple piano melodies to suit the subject matter of his songs, such as that of “ATTENTION”, he is also a master of juxtaposition. For example, the contrast of upbeat bops with darker lyricism can be heard in “NO FUN”, a track about losing friends and being content with solitude. Clams Casino also joins in for the playful and buoyant production of “CAN’T GET OVER YOU,” a darker exploration of infatuation.
Heartbreaking and introspective, “SLOW DANCING IN THE DARK” is something you could imagine playing at a sadboi-themed prom, except no one would ask each other to dance because everyone would either be despondently sitting on the bleachers or staying home swaying by themselves.
The entire album is tinged with tender sadness, closing with the bittersweet ukulele melody of “I’LL SEE YOU IN 40”. So the next time you feeling like wallowing in sadboi despair, give BALLADS 1 a listen. – KC