After a long hiatus, eAeon fully returns to music with his sophomore solo album, Fragile, almost a decade after Guilt-Free in 2012. Although he used to deconstruct and make music out of the odd sounds he would find, eAeon chooses a simpler route for this new opus, leaving behind the need to not be labeled in favor of raw genuineness and bittersweet melodies.
Undoubtedly the most well-known track of the album, “Don’t (ft. RM)” opens up with the central theme of the album, the fragility of the human soul and its biggest weakness: love. The singer tries desperately to hold on to a doomed relationship, begging his partner to not destroy what they have.
“Don’t” shines by its melancholy and utter despair, brilliantly wrapped by the haunting synth work and breathy vocals, a similar feeling found in “badbye,” the first collaboration of eAeon and RM on the rapper’s mixtape Mono (2018). The song finishes with a sour taste left in our mouths, as if the melody isn’t the only thing left unfinished. Furthermore, it’s this broken relationship that we follow throughout the entire album.
“I Just” exists in this odd musical realm created for Fragile, a mixed DNA that has touches of this and that. With the use of a distorted voice at times, somber electric guitar, and an R&B beat, eAeon expresses his avid thirst to know more about the object of his fascination, “I want to live inside your heart / I want to see your worst.” This type of surprising production is recurring throughout the album, notably in “Mad Tea Party (ft. Swervy)” which sounds at times voluntarily somber and odd with dissonance and out-of-sync instruments, or “Let’s Get Lost.”
“Bye Bye” has traces of autotune, expertly used to express the loss of someone and the distance now residing between them. eAeon says goodbye, admitting that things will never be the same anymore: “Bye bye my child, take what’s left of my heart with you / Bye bye you, my child, your silhouette is fading away.”
The solitude spreads to the following song “Null (ft. Jclef),” which explores depression (“I may have already died a long time ago / Am I a sad ghost that always hovers around the same place?”) and lost love (“I’m gradually withering like a dry flowerpot / I only bloomed in front of you once”) through a bizarre instrumental and repetitive sound effects made to make our skin crawl. The addition of Jclef works well, her voice leaving a haunting trace on the song.
As you can see, the theme of love is central in this album, and “Nights Gone By” is not spared from it. Perhaps less tonally somber than the previous songs, this bittersweet synth-ballad borrows from the current bedroom pop genre and allows the singer to question the past lover he doesn’t recognize anymore, “That love is over for us / You’ve become a hateful person / Should I hate you too?” However in “Maybe,” eAeon questions himself this time, wondering about his true nature, reality, and his ability to move on.
The intricacies of the human soul are explored in “Btfl Mind,” a personal favorite. The song production is daring, opting to play with the structure and constantly adding new elements at the risk of confusing listeners. But it’s this odd quality that makes “Btfl Mind” fascinating, beyond its lyrics, “If one day my heart is broken / And I’m caught up in the fear I created / It would be nice if you hold me tight.”
Although different, “I Wonder” follows a similar path to its predecessor lyrically but the production is more oppressive, heavier to match the seriousness of the questions eAeon doesn’t find an answer to: “Do I have days to live or to live for the days? / Is regret a temporary burden or a force that can change me?”
The album closes with “Evermore” and something we had yet to hear: hope and comfort. After exploring so deeply the fragility of the human soul, eAeon promises to always be there no matter what. It’s undoubtedly the only positive song of the album and it feels earned. As if this journey wasn’t just about eAeon but the listeners as well, and although we don’t have all the answers, what we need to remember is that we’re never truly alone.
Fragile was born from the desire of eAeon to examine weaknesses, in particular love, how a soul can be destroyed by it and still manage to recover. The fear of never finding again who you once were and having to rebuild yourself is captivating and gripping through the artist’s production and lyrics.
Although different from his first album, eAeon keeps his unique brand of music thanks to multi-layered and innovative beats inspired by synth-pop. Fragile shines by its humanity and puzzling honesty, making it one of the most unforgettable pieces of work in 2021.