MURA MASA – R.Y.C. REVIEW

Mura Masa is an artist that I have always been super intrigued by. He has had quite a few singles in the past that have perked my attention and made me excited for whatever he has coming up next, but I have never really been that into what was “next.” I especially feel this way about his self titled record that came out in 2017. I really loved a couple of the singles leading up to that project; I can specifically remember ‘Love$ick’ featuring A$AP Rocky and ‘I Night’ featuring Charli XCX being two of my favorite songs of 2017 before that album came out. Unfortunately, though, in my opinion, Mura Masa was just disorganized and did not flow well at all There are still some other very quality songs on that album besides the aforementioned singles, but as a whole, it just does not sound very cohesive, and there is not enough experimentation on the record to get away with it having no general theme. The build-up to R.Y.C. has to lead me to believe that the past theme of disorganization is not the case for this new record, though. All of the singles that have been released in anticipation for R.Y.C. have not only had a similar lyrical theme but they have also had a similar sonic theme. I love the style of Electronic music that embraces retro rock, punk, and funk sounds and incorporates them into modern house music. I actually enjoy this sound so much that two of the singles from this album were on my list for the best songs of the second half of 2019. With that being said. here is how I feel about the new Mura Masa record! Comment down below about whether you agree with me or not and let me know which song from R.Y.C. is your favorite.

R.Y.C. gets kicked off with the track ‘Raw Youth Collage,’ which based on the title of the record must basically be the title track. It has that sort of dreamy and buzzy punk feeling that all of the singles from this album had, which I really love. In fact, the instrumental reminds me a lot of the one for ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again,’ which was the first of the two tracks that I mentioned previously were on my list of favorite tracks from the second half of last year. Because of this, from a melodic standpoint, I think ‘Raw Youth Collage’ is pretty cool. There is something about the song that sort of bores me, though. I do not know if it is the vocals or the fact that the beat feels like it is going to build up a lot more than it does(the climax of the song is sort of a let down), but for some reason, I am not 100% drawn into this song. It definitely is not a bad song by any means, though, and it does get the album kicked off in a good direction sonically, so maybe I am just being too picky. The next song, ‘No Hope Generation,’ is the only single from this album that did not have a feature. Compared to this first song, which also does not have a feature, I like the vocal performance from Mura Masa a lot more. He sings with a lot more emotion on this song, I think that the auto-tuned portions and super well placed and sound really cool. I dig the riff from ‘No Hope Generation’ a lot as well. It sort of reminds me of something that would be a post-punk New Wave song from the early 80s. I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to hear an old song from The Romantics that had a similar riff to this one. Following this we get the aforementioned smash hit ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do This Again,’ which features Clairo. As I stated before, I freaken love this song, and it is one of the things that made me so excited to hear this new record. Everything about this song is awesome; from the funky punk riff to the distortion to the lyrics and vocals. Clairo’s performance is so perfect; it is calm and reflective yet emotional, and it captures the sentiment of the lyrics so well. It is just such a great bop. Go read my article about the best songs from the second half of 2019 if you want to hear more of my opinion about it. ‘a meeting at an oak tree,’ which features Ned Green, is a break or skit of sorts. It is basically 1:30 of Ned Green just telling a story of a sweet folk riff. I do not really understand what the purpose of this little piece is. I would like to know the context because it just seems random and unnecessary. I am sure that there is some deep and important reason for why it is on this album, but to me, it breaks up the good roll that Mura Masa was on with this record up to this point.

Walking back through my old estate, I see my mates that ain’t my mates and they don’t want to stay safe. They say “You’ve changed.” Fucking Deal with it! Deal with it…

‘Deal Wiv It,’ which features the rising superstar rapper slowthai, is probably my favorite song on this record. This track is the other single from this album that I included in my list of my favorite songs of 2019; in fact, this song was near the bottom of that list and was probably in my top 10 favorite songs from 2019 as a whole. The riff for this song is just so punk rock and so in your face; the vibe of ‘Deal Wiv It’ reminds me a lot of The Ramones or The Stooges. slowthai’s performance on this song is excellent; his rebellious energy is just so palpable and it makes me want to go to a rager and break shit. Anyone who needs a new song to work out to, especially if your work out consists of lifting or punching or kicking, should definitely add ‘Deal Wiv It’ to their playlist. ‘vicarious living anthem’ reminds me of a lot of ‘No Hope Generation’ sonically and stylistically. They have pretty similar riffs and vocal styles, and they both contain that weird buzzing distortion that I love. I honestly feel like ‘vicarious living anthem’ should have actually followed ‘No Hope Generation’ because the transition would have been so smooth and cool. I am really into that distorted punk rock mixed with house sound that Mura Masa is embracing on these songs; I could easily listen to a whole album of songs just like these two and be thoroughly pleased. After ‘vicarious living anthem,’ ‘In My Mind’ switches the vibe up 1000%; it is literally like the album does a 180-degree turn. I am not going to lie, I am not into this one that much. I appreciate the sentiment of the lyrics and I think some of the sound effects are cool, but ultimately this song feels so out of place. I could see a song like this being placed at the end of the album to wrap everything up, but it’s placement in the record right now just sounds weird and unnatural to me, and it totally messes up the flow of the record. Maybe this song and its placement in the record will grow on me, but as of now, I am just not feeling it. I guess if ‘In My Mind’ was not going to mess with the continuity of the album, ‘Today,’ which features Tirzah, would have. This track has a folk-rock vibe that is not very unlike the music from Harry Styles’s new record. You probably would not even be able to tell that this is a Mura Masa song until the buzzing synths and vocal effects pop in towards the end of the song. Once again, this is not a bad song by any means, I just do not see how it fits in with the rest of the music from this record all.

Cause it’s you, honey. I wanna feel like I felt it when you hold me. I wanna live like we’re dancing, honey. We should love like we mean it, so hold me…

Another one of my favorite songs from this record in ‘Live Like We’re Dancing,’ featuring Georgia. This song sort of gives me Calvin Harris vibes; I love the funk-wave house music sound that this track has. The only knock that I have against ‘Live Like We’re Dancing’ is that it does not fit the theme of the album that well. It is almost as if Mura Masa made the song randomly and knew it was awesome so he just threw it on the album even though it did not really fit the theme. ‘Teenage Headache Dreams,’ featuring Wolf Alice and Ellie Roswell, brings us back on track with the new wave/punk 80s vibes that the rest of the record possesses. The difference between the rest of the songs on the record with that theme and this one, though, is the fact that ‘Teenage Headache Dreams’ has a sort of indie and goth feeling to it. Normally, I really enjoy indie music and goth music. I mean, The Cure is literally one of my favorite bands. For some reason ‘Teenage Headache Dreams is a bit too tame and non-exciting for me. I think that the elements of the song that were replaced by the indie and gothic feeling were the distorted punk sounds that have been giving the record attitude. ‘Teenage Headache Dreams’ sounds great and perfectly placed when listening to the album as a whole, but I do not think I would listen to it if I was not listening to the whole record. The album ends on a pretty weird note, in my opinion. The final “song” on the album is called (nocturne for strings and conversation). It is just a sweet and calm two minute jazzy piece of music that would honestly be perfect as the background to a deep and meaningful conversation with someone you are close to. It does close out the craziness of the album pretty well and brings the emotions down to a simmer, so I suppose it serves its purpose. (nocturne for strings and conversation) is the weirdest but probably the most perfect way to end this very unique album.

As I stated before, as much as I have really liked a lot of Mura Masa’s singles in the past, I have never really been able to get into a full album of his. I am happy to say that R.Y.C. is an album that I am definitely into as a whole. As you can tell from what I have said throughout this album, I do not think it is perfect. But for the most part, I would definitely say that I enjoy this record. R.Y.C. does contain two of my favorite songs from the last year, so there is no way I could dislike this album. If you are into retro-sounding and 80s themed EDM and house music, I know that you will enjoy R.Y.C. Stream it below and let me know what you think!

7.2/10

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