Electronic music, at least for me these days, tends to be a mixed bag – either the music sounds “soulless” or “generic,” or there’s a lot of repetition that has me asking, “So, when’s the beat going to drop?” for minutes on end.
This past decade has seen many ups and downs when it comes to the genre and its numerous sub-genres, but one album manages to go above and beyond to deliver good music that gets you thinking deeply about life.
VALENTINE’s “Introspection,” the second self-produced masterpiece from the Portland, Oregon-based electronic artist, is a journey into her mind and how it operates. Each track is an emotional trip into the producer’s thoughts, allowing the listener to follow her on a journey of self-realization and bouts of guilt and anxiety.
The opening song, “Learn to Fly,” is a soft, gentle opening that pulls the listener in, with comforting vocals and production that almost feels dreamlike, in a way.
“This song’s lyrics were written by my mom after I told her in a single breath that I had ended a long-term relationship and that I was coming out as [a] transgender female,” wrote VALENTINE in a Feb. 14 Facebook post.
“Run So Fast” is a hard-hitting, funky bop that acts as the perfect follow-up to “Learn to Fly,” with a fantastic breakdown section that’s reminiscent of something you can pop-and-lock to.
Following that comes the best song on the album, “Disorganization,” which is a track I could probably write an entire essay on alone. It has so much going for it, from the opening notes and the rapid-fire wordplay, to the percussion in the middle parts, and the vocal sections at the end.
“Papers flyin’ all around I do not chase them / Doctors gave me Adderall I did not take them / I’m missing messages, whole passages / How am I so bad at this? / I cannot believe I fell so far behind,” VALENTINE raps in a panicked, yet convincing manner.
Songs such as, “Learn to Fly” and “Disorganization” showcase how truly great VALENTINE’s singing efforts are – even when they are put under effects, she still sounds like a dream. It also helps that her lyrical content flows quite nicely when it matters.
However, this is not a one-woman show – VALENTINE invited a bevy of guests to appear on her album – individuals such as summet, patches, and underscores provide raps and additional vocals to make what is already a fantastic album even sweeter.
One of the songs that benefits from having a guest is the sixth track, “Gold Tooth Grin,” in which VALENTINE and Travis Bickle describe the process of pickpocketing from a store for survival purposes.
VALENTINE and Bickle repeat a mantra-like statement in the closing seconds, “Ain’t no faceless corporation / Gon’ need our cooperation / No money in my account / Gotta bounce / Gotta bounce.”
“Introspection” is not a long project, but it doesn’t have to be. With only 19 minutes of poetic content throughout 10 songs, it’s the longest 19 minutes I’ve ever experienced with an album. But, unlike the negative connotations that statement carries, this is a good thing.
I wanted more after it was all said and done.
Next time you go on a short drive, or a walk around your neighborhood, step into the mind of VALENTINE, if only for a little while.
I cannot recommend it enough.
If you want to learn more about VALENTINE, visit her website at whoisvalentine.com. Her music is available on most streaming services.
You can definitely say this album…comes FROMTHEHEART in every way.