By Robert Johnson Jr., Arts & Features Editor
Almost a year ago, I reviewed VALENTINE’s sophomore EP, “Introspection,” after having a life-changing experience from listening to it in the backseat of a 2013 Ford Taurus.
At the end of that review, there was a reference to VALENTINE’s budding – at the time – project that goes by the name of FROMTHEHEART, seeing how the project’s first body of work was in the process of being finished.
Today, it would only make sense that I cover exactly that. I am a man who likes to follow up on his cliffhanger endings, after all.
“things happen, it’s okay!” – and yes, it is stylized like that – is an 8-track long album with tons of character throughout the 18-minute runtime. Speaking of characters, the usual suspects are here: VALENTINE, Chuck Sutton, and underscores are present, as well as others such as fraxiom, jedwill1999, emotegi, and Knapsack.
The album begins with the somber and melodic “dust,” featuring VALENTINE. As the soothing melody builds up in the background, one reminiscent of a starry night in an open field, the melody reaches its apex as VALENTINE croons along with it, asking the question, “Do you feel strength in me?” as she does so.
Following that smooth opening, is “BURNING TIRES,” which was previously released as a “single” – in quotation marks, seeing how the associated video came out prior to the album, much like “dust.” While it is the shortest song on the project, clocking in at a minute, exactly, the track is jam-packed with lyricism and hard beats from the duo of Knapsack and VALENTINE.
“It could be for the best, yeah / To throw this in the fire / I don’t want a confession / I’m just bored of burning tires,” sing the duo in the two chorus sections, showcasing their respective vocal talents with electronic sounds.
“5T4YTRU,” featuring fraxiom, is probably my favorite song on the project – and, if my presentations of the track on Discord calls are any indication, it is probably a favorite of my friends, too, serving as a testament to how good it is.
This two-minute, 35-second bop oozes in PC Music-esque energy, reminiscent of modern day Charli XCX. Electronically enhanced vocals, bouncy beats, and a catchy chorus always bring me back to this tune when I need a boost in mood or energy.
It is just that good.
“So if I get on stage and forget all my words / Could you, like, sing ‘em back / But don’t rewrite my verse / I’m tryna stay true / Stay true / Stay true / Stay true / Stay true / Stay true.”
Reading that in text form does not do that chorus justice – you really need to listen to it for the full effect.
Another standout track comes in the form of “BiG KIDS,” featuring jedwill1999 and RILEY THE MUSICIAN – a poppy, rambunctious ode to growing up that sounds the way eating 10 Reese’s peanut butter cups on Halloween night feels.
The tone isn’t even the most surprising part of the ditty. Rather, a clever use of interpolating Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” in RILEY THE MUSICIAN’s verse: “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts / She’s from Manhattan, and I’ve got a feature.”
Finally, to close this inaugural project out, VALENTINE and Chuck Sutton team up on “idontfeelitanymore,” a rather introspective, emotional banger that can really get one in their feelings.
“Remember when everything was simple? / When all we wanted was more? / All the times that we shared / Remember cryin’ on the floor?” sings VALENTINE on the last verse of the song.
For the group’s first project, it is the perfect blend of frantic, pop vibes, and so much more. With charming lyricism, mesmerizing vocal and melodic effects, and great variety in song styles, “things happen, it’s ok!” is a stellar first for the FROMTHEHEART project. Here’s to many more from VALENTINE and her gang of talented super friends.
This project knows how to “5T4YTRU” to itself.