As I stated in my review of Oscar Scheller’s new album a couple of weeks ago, one of my favorite things is to find new music that is very unique and awesome by artists I have never heard of. In today’s music landscape, there are so many experimental artists making eclectic music that is unlike what most people have heard before; it is honestly so refreshing to see so many people trying to push all of the boundaries they can push. Growing up, it seemed like you had to fit into certain categories to have any chance of success within the music industry. If you did not fit into the general boundaries created for Pop, Hip Hop, and Rock music, it was hard to get your name out there for people to hear. Fortunately, though, over the last several years, so many musicians have broken down these barriers; in 2021, it feels like the landscape of music has become extremely fluid, and so many eclectic and unique artists have been getting bigger and better because of it. One artist that is on the rise who does not let her music get put into any sort of box is Sulene. Sulene combines elements of avant-garde Pop music, Electronic music, and various forms of Alternative music in a way that is unlike most other artists you will hear right now. She is truly creating her own sound and style; Sulene completely stands out within the Alternative Pop music scene. With that being said, here is my opinion on Sulene’s new EP he•don•ic. Please let me know in the comments below how you feel about this project, and let me know what your favorite songs on he•don•ic were as well.
he•don•ic gets off to an extremely eclectic and off the wall start with the song ‘identity crisis.’ Within the first 30 seconds of this song, so many different kinds of music and used and mixed in a very cool way. ‘identity crisis’ has just as much of an industrial feeling to it as it has an Indie Bedroom Pop feeling to it. In fact, it is almost like this song is an Alt-Grunge and Industrial remix of an Indie Synth Pop track by someone like Cuco or Clairo(before her last album which was a lot more Rock-oriented). Lyrically, this song is very interesting as well. On ‘identity crisis,’ Sulene is sort of creating a juxtaposition between being obsessed with herself and her looks and not loving the person she has become. As she strives to always look as nice and fresh as possible, she is debating with herself as to why she even cares about this stuff. ‘identity crisis’ is a very interesting song that completely draws me into this EP from the very start. Following this, we get the song ‘photo booth,’ which is another song that draws from so many different influences and sounds(it is already obvious from this song that there will probably be a dark and heavy sound mixed in with a sweet and soft sound on every track from this project). ‘photo booth’ has a bit of a New Wave undertone to it mixed with and Alternative Pop Rock feel as well. This song combines multiple sounds that were popular in the 90s, but they are combined in a way that would only make sense in 2021. On ‘photo booth,’ Sulene is singing about not being able to get over a certain significant other. Because she can not get over this person, she is giving in to the urge to be with this person even if she is not sure if she should. The next song, ‘i still think you’re so fake,’ slows down the mood a lot; it is the first song from the EP that does not make me want to dance the night away at a club. This track also has a decidedly softer sound and tone to the instrumental as well. It does have a little bit of a dark New Wave sound to the instrumental during the verses, but this sound transitions into Alternative Pop-Rock that reminds me a lot of music from the early to mid-2000s. ‘i still think you’re so fake’ has a bit of a warm and nostalgic feeling to it that is very nice and sweet. On this track, Sulene is coming to terms with why she left her ex, and she is asserting the reasons why she left this person even though members of her friend group still think highly of them.
After the slow down provided from the last track, we are thrust into a dance club mood with the track ‘whiskey.weed.sex.candy.’ This song is one of the coolest, most different sounding, and ultimately most fun songs I have heard all year. Melodically and stylistically, it sort of reminds me the pop music from the early 2010s(specifically, artists like Jessie J and Katy Perry). This song has so much distortion though that it sounds like it comes from some post-modern dimension. This song would be excellent in a game like CyberPunk 2077 or even Grand Theft Auto. This song is about partying too much to avoid your reality and your thoughts, resulting in you spiraling out of control. The sound of the song goes very well with the message it is providing because the melody and tone are fun but the distortion is daunting. he•don•icloses out with the song ‘diner coffee,’ which is probably the most “normal” sounding song on the EP. ‘diner coffee’ reminds sounds to me like a lot of Post-Grunge Alternative Rock from the late 90s. It does have a heavy amount of distortion, which once again adds to the heaviness and emotion of the track. On this track, Sulene seems to once again be trying to avoid her reality by doing things that make her nostalgic, like going to the local diner and drinking coffee. At the moment, she just needs her coffee for some clarity, and she promises that she will be better and be productive as soon as she gets it. This song gives a feeling of holding onto something that is fading away in order to try to stay grounded, which is not working because the thing you are holding on to does not have the same amount of positive effects as it used to.
Sulene’s newest EP he•don•ic is not a music project that can be put into a box; it draws from a variety of influences, and it tugs on multiple emotions. he•don•ic follows a woman who is trying to find herself and be who she wants to be while trying to navigate New York City during a pandemic. She feels very nostalgic about all of the things that made her originally love the city, such as the clubs she loves to go to and the diners she loves to hang out at. Sonically, this EP incorporates distorted Industrial sounds into Alternative Rock and Pop music in a way that is unique and unlike anything I have heard in a while. he•don•ic is such a cool and interesting project, and it makes me very excited to hear what she does next.