Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

THEY. are not reaching up to the Nü Moon

"Nü Moon"

Release date: 07 April 2023
THEY. – Nü Moon – Artwork
07 April 2023, 14:00 Written by Marc Corrales

While R&B is experiencing a renaissance in the last year, there are some who are struggling to leave an impression – let alone a legacy.

THEY., made up of Dante Jokes and Andrew “Drew Love” Neely, is among the handful of artists who came out of the 2010s’ explosion of alternative names like Solange or SZA. Having a significant breakthrough with a collaboration single featuring Zhu and Skrillex, the band has garnered a decent following thanks to their clearer rock and hip hop influences. The duo however never seemed to stand out as critical darlings despite having released two albums in 2017 and 2020.

Thus, Nü Moon had the potential to put THEY. on the map as the serious artist in the genre as evidenced by the thoughtful, futuristic-sounding intro that dives into motivational speech. They invite numerous artists to fill in some of the tracks which leads to some highlights. The folksy tune on “Wait for Me”, with a feature from country icon Kacey Musgraves shows that there are ambitions to be found. This is also found through the ethereal, spacey reverberations in “In The Mood,” featuring iconic rapper Yung Bleu or the catchy, rock-tinged “Lonely” with Bino Rideaux. You can give props to the hybrid instrumentations within the confines of contemporary R&B.

Yet, much of the executions in the album leave much to be desired. However ‘modern’ the production is, a lot of the lyrics happen to be questionable and at times even cringe-inducing. “Riptide” tries to come off as seductive yet you would not feel “Comfortable” when you have lines like “strokin’ places you ain’t know I could reach”. In the same manner, “Moonlight” feels like decadent satire when you have choruses about having “sex in the moonlight until the sunrise.”

Melodramatic ballads, no matter how popular it can get, always find ways to divide how most listeners feel about them with how shallow it can feel. “You Don’t Deserve This” tries to play up to reconciling a relationship but the outro is an admission of guilt that no boundary or even understanding has been reached in the couple. Meanwhile, “Twenty One” encapsulates the vapid flexing of numerous success stories with its lack of storytelling, cliched hits on the haters, and vague allusions to hood life. Aside from the self-confessional “Set Me Free”, there is nothing “Brutally Honest” about the album’s emotive impact.

Nü Moon is by far one of the albums that offers little underneath its clean mixing and nice use of the studio as an instrument. It fails to strike a balance between luxury flaunting and relationship introspection, the lyrics work as unintentional comedy at best, and there’s not much uniqueness in the songs. THEY.’s successful featured artists show that they have the ears to push themselves towards new artistic frontier. Unfortunately, their latest album suggests that they’re happy with being complacent.

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