ESAE is an artist near and dear to my heart. I found her music on this blog, actually, and ever since I’ve been hooked. All of us fans have been waiting with bated breath for new releases, and earlier this month we finally got an EP — and first off, I’m extremely proud. Second off, I’m enjoying the hell out of it.
ESAE’s lyrics have always been personally enjoyable to me, and when she posted her teasers for midnight kid incorporating them I was already pretty hyped up. The EP starts out with “i want to be more than i want to be,” which instrumentally is a bit reminiscent of ESAE’s previous work with Elyon (“21”). It starts with a slightly filtered piano beat with a bit of reverb, giving it a vintage feel; the beat comes in more slowly, distorted and bordering on ambient noise akin to rainfall.
Overall, the atmosphere is quite relaxing until the beat drops about half a minute in, giving way to synth keyboards. The style shifts to EDM, with ESAE alternately rapping and singing about her dreams and the struggles she’s faced. It’s a song about confidence and being unapologetic in the pursuit of what you want — short and to the point.
The next track, “we’ll walk to the moon,” again features a filtered and reverbed piano. However, ESAE’s vocals come in sooner and also feature a heavy reverb, giving the song an immediate dreamy feeling. Then comes the snare and drums, and ESAE shifts back into a bit more speak-singing for a while to match the R&B stylings. The song is again about overcoming, though this time ESAE speaks not only of her own struggles but those around her,
when i walk up the stairs to the top of the moon
i’m watching all the stars as they cry for you
for injustice, for the pain
waiting for the day
that maybe, that maybe we’ll be okay…
“the villains in my stories think they’re heroes” starts with piano audio manipulated to sound like it’s coming from an old record player, just a little grainy, but gets joined quickly by a modern synth drum beat and ESAE’s crisp vocals. Speaking of vocals, I think ESAE shows her most growth and improvement in this track — her control and technique are better, and she shows off her range with layered vocals.
Although the lyrics are a bit sad, ESAE’s voice is confident and pretty. The instrumental lingers, letting you stew in ESAE’s message about the difficulty of forgiving (or forgetting) toxicity for a little longer.
Finally, we get to “pretty lies from pretty lips,” with a distorted and reverbed synth keyboard that reminds me, a bit specifically, of Yubin’s “Silent Movie” in terms of tone. The drumbeat is slower, keeping the overall rhythm that way, making the song almost like a ballad. There’s a break in which we’re treated to a little saxophone solo, and then we’re met with Jayme Fortune’s rapping in response to ESAE’s line,
pretty lies from pretty lips
tell me why you do it
break my heart along with all your promises?
By the final chorus the two are singing together, with ESAE reaching new vocal highs by the end of it all.
The EP is everything I could have wanted from ESAE and more. Her lyrical game is as strong as ever, poignant, personal, and poetic in the best ways. She and Elyon have already proven themselves to be a great team, and I can only hope I’ll be seeing more of both of them soon as they continue to grow in their craft and confidence.