There is a cadence in 070 Shake’s voice, which brings her emotions and lyrics to life while never exasperating the sound with wrought modulations. It’s a prominent aspect of Shake’s craft, as it gets used so she can ride the vibe wave on an exponential high. It has shown that Shake’s range in vocal styles never highlights an inherent weakness, so whether she is performing over more hip-hop-centric production or smooth psychedelic R&B notes, she comes at it with full strength. It continues to be the case as 070 Shake on You Can’t Kill Me as she delivers these enthralling and melancholic performances, shifting from her debut Modus Vivendi. The production gets slightly broken down, weaving these blooming synths while Shake encapsulates us with her radiant vocals. But it isn’t perfect since it doesn’t pick up steam until the second track.
You Can’t Kill Me isn’t like 070 Shake’s previous album, specifically in the construct of the production. It isn’t devoid of complex layering with the sounds, but it doesn’t deter you by taking a distinct direction that never lands, though some tracks fly past the radar because of uninteresting production. There is a frequency to it, and 070 Shake comes at it with full force and develops a sense of emotional gravitas. It doesn’t hook you with the intro, but it finally gets you with the second track, “Invited,” which has this remarkable percussion pattern that reels you in with gusto. Its percussion and synth-heavy production create an everlasting motif we hear through most tracks, adding value to its essence. Mike Dean’s mastering skills make it audibly smooth, allowing us to listen to everything 070 Shake sings.
“Web” opens the album with little effect, but as “Invited” takes a heel turn, the consistency begins to shine. It’s a steady consistency that slightly veers out of the double lines until it lines back up with the closer, “Se Fue La Luz.” Unlike “Web,” “Se Fue La Luz” is a strong closer that sees 070 Shake lamenting a break up with a past lover and invoking a Spanish language chorus that adds brevity to the verses. Hearing 070 Shake sing in her heritage tongue adds dimensions to the performance, allowing us to hear her emotions at peak vulnerability. There is depth in 070 Shake’s vocal performance, even when the tracks have a more elevated presence. Her songwriting is reflective of her remarkable melodies, weaving colorful strings on a blank slate. You Can’t Kill Me tackles various aspects of a relationship, taking us through engaging stories, situations, and analogies reflective of the tone from its darkly moody sonic motif.
There isn’t one song that truly grasps the spices of pop flavor, and instead, it asks to sit and pay attention. The percussion kicks up consistently, adding some internal sense of dance with the bleak synths, but it reels you with these effectively atmospheric harmonies and melodies. They create atmospheric textures that thread grooves into your ears, which enables its effectiveness. The production has heavy energy, and 070 Shake gives enough that tracks like “History,” Skin and Bones,” and “Body” offer captivating moments that stay with you. It has this vibrancy that isn’t as profound with tracks like “Come Back Home” and “Purple Walls,” which feel empty and tempered. That vibrancy comes from tweaking aspects of the production, like playing with the levels of the synths dependent on chorus or verse.
“Come Back Home” and “Purple Walls” are examples of when minimalism isn’t as impactful because they don’t offer anything interesting through more simple drum beats. “Purple Walls” has this great emotional core, but it feels stunted by a less captivating production. Unlike it, “Wine & Spirits” is 070 Shake’s acoustic-driven ballad that sees her singing about how their celebrity can bring manipulative speculations from the media and cause a riff. There is depth and smooth transitions, but these bumps along the journey are slight blips on a great album. Though it can cause a detriment for the front-to-back listeners, sometimes these blips become forgettable compared to the dynamic instrument patterns of other tracks.
You Can’t Kill Me excels in more ways than 070 Shake’s last album Modus Vivendi, while still retaining qualities that made her craft appealing. It’s atmospheric without fault, and it develops proper sensibilities with the synths where we can hear her words. There is depth, and the production has this great raw consistency that you can’t help but get swept away. 070 Shake is a diamond in the rough for GOOD Music/Def Jam, and her career will grow.
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