Prepare for flight
So, 070 Shake’s long-distance relationship may not be working, but I’ve never been more grateful for someone else’s romantic trials than when I first heard “You Can’t Kill Me,” expecting to fall asleep to it on the beach and instead ascending to the heights of sonic euphoria. Piercingly honest, highly textured and heavily infused with the tensions of distance and desire, the rising GOOD Music artist’s sophomore album solidifies her place on the genre-bending stage of R&B synth, Spanish pop and supremely fist-pumpable heartache music with the power to make even the frat gods shake hands with human emotion.
You may not know it, but you actually already love 070 Shake from her standout performances on Kanye West’s “Ghost Town” and “Violent Crimes.” There’s no argument against the fact that the “Ye” album climaxes at the end of “Ghost Town” as Shake’s voice bellows lyrics about releasing herself from the pressure to earn another’s affection and the torment that stems from a deep love lost, contained in the lyrics, “I put my hand on a stove to see if I still bleed, yeah nothing hurts anymore I feel kind of free.” To think that 070 Shake, a lesser known, queer, Latina singer and rapper is responsible for one of the top five moments on Kanye’s entire discography is impressive, yet completely believable after listening to “You Can’t Kill Me.”
The sentiments contained in “You Can’t Kill Me” are well suited to a greater artistic cultural movement that addresses emotional concepts without the shackles of societal categorization. Shake herself refuses to label her sexuality, and her music mirrors her resistance to being placed into a box. The album is queer, as she sings to a female lover, but the ideas she conveys through her lyrics have nothing to do with making a point about gender or gayness, simply her desire to close the physical and emotional divides that block her from true intimacy with her lover, as well as her nostalgia over the good times they shared. While she sings, she has freedom to be who she is and feel what she feels with no questions or qualms. “I bought it, stole it/loved it, lost it, that’s what I get yeah/I don't know where to start/oh, from the bottom of my heart, I want you,” she sings on “History,” offering no frivolous details about her sexuality, simply showcasing the album’s characteristic raw emotion and directed honesty.
Despite such plainspoken lyrics about her web of complex emotion, the album’s ultra-synthesised and layered production is a direct counterpoint of grandeur. From the very beginning, “Web” builds from a simple vocal, “One thing is for certain/This thing isn’t working,” which introduces the album’s main throughline of a broken relationship and soon incorporates hypnotic instrumentation and an omniscient-sounding bass backdrop against budding harmonies. At the end of the opening track, everything blurs into a desperate and inconclusive peak as she proclaims, “I think we should start here.” Songs that follow, like “Cocoon,” “Vibrations,” and “Se Fue la Luz,” share in this intoxicating, heavy production, while songs like “Body,” and “Wine and Spirits” have a more muted and intimate sentimentality, still consistent with the album’s overarching sound of synthesized heartache. Of course, I have my favorite tracks that I’ll keep to myself, but this is one of those rare albums where every song hits lyrically, musically, or both. “You Can’t Kill Me” is a sexy smash hit, and not just for me, for everybody.
Brave of me to go here, but if “Harry’s House” and “Mr. Moral and the Big Steppers” weren’t in the mix, I think we’d have an Album of the Year contender on our hands. No matter your opinion on who should receive the AOTY, 070 Shake, at the very least, has boldly created an album with “You Can’t Kill Me,” which removes her from Kanye’s spotlight and transitions her into one of her very own. I can’t lie, I’m jealous of anyone who still has yet to hear it during their next late-night drive, or who might also accidentally find themselves having a levitation experience on the beach with this album playing in their ears.
Madi Cordle is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. She can typically be found multitasking between snuggling her golden retriever, reading too many books at once, and plotting her next trip to anywhere with good music, cheap hostels, and gluten-free food options. You can reach her on Instagram @madicordle_