Nikki W – Sad Generation – EP Review
Don’t think for a single moment that I don’t appreciate just how lucky I am…I do…constantly. I’ve had the good fortune to discover some really excellent music as of late; but even I don’t know if I can pinpoint something I’ve heard that I’ve loved as much as I do the new EP Sad Generation by Nikki W. With a smooth, emotional blend of truly moving music alongside her gentle voice – Nikki W. has found herself the perfect groove to nestle into and call this her career.
From the moment that the sensational pop tones hit you in the fantastic opening song “Transparent Hands,” you might be tempted to make comparisons as bold as ABBA; but let’s not go there. I can get it; there are a ton of reasons why that might be from the synth pulse to the drumbeat, but there is an extra entire truckload’s worth of emotion here on this opener from Nikki W. The song has fantastic movement, it’s sung perfectly and you can really feel the ‘single’ in this song; this is what a hit sounds like.
It’s that extra emotional attachment she places within the music through the strength in her delivery that allows this music to reach its maximum potential. “Paper Boat” is a perfect example; her voice comes out so delicately over this song made so subtly that it comes out sounding completely wide-open and massive. Nikki W. creates gorgeous vocal-flows to go alongside this music and really knows how to write several hooks into the blankest of canvasses; “Paper Boat” would be a fairly sparse song without all that she’s put into it. With her final lines and heartbeat ending…this track easily argues against those that might have dismissed her quickly as another female pop-star from the opening song. She is certainly a star, of that I have no doubt, but again, let’s make a point of realizing she has a lot more to offer than a club-beat; there’s real heart on display here on Sad Generation.
She slips between the delicate and the confident as quickly as she breathes and with the simple change of an inflection can make you want to dance or cry. As she brings up her energy to make the beat in “Don’t Take Me Home,” Nikki W. is sounding completely convincing here on this song with a captivating performance against the pure electro-magic of a gorgeously well-put together song. Her lyrics are tough, but relatable…much of Sad Generation is defined by the title’s implication; the songs are often rooted in sadness, redemption, hope…and breaking free of it all. On “Don’t Take Me Home,” you can tell that Nikki W. has truly ‘let it go’ and realized that her time is precious on this planet…and on a song like this you can tell she’s ready to take this moment of time in her life and expand it to last the rest.
There’s a determination you can hear in this artist that I deeply appreciate. On the title-track “Sad Generation,” you can literally hear this incredible woman reaching for some ingenious word-combinations and really manages to create an incredible song against a crashing wave of drums and background vocals that come washing over her as it plays. She nearly hits a Bjork-like stride in parts of this song – and if that comparison isn’t an indication of a true-artist in the making I don’t know what would be. When I listen to a track like “Sad Generation,” I hear a song that could have been much-more simple or perhaps mellowed-out by other performers; I personally dig the extra-fire that Nikki W. seems to bring onto this EP’s title-song and overall theme.
I bet if you sat down with the creators of Superman and asked if they thought their superhero icon would become a literal metaphor for strength in our pop-culture they’d say ‘no way.’ Yet, here we are countless years later with countless artists & bands, speakers and writers referring to the man in the red-cape in comparison to our strongest moments…and our weakest as well. In “Superman,” from Nikki W., I was shocked to find that even here at this point in the EP she was able to heavily impress me and my eardrums; this is another absolute standout for her performance and delivery…she really possesses an addictive quality in her voice that really pulls you in closely to listen and hang on her every word.
Taking that point right into the final track “Darkness;” this is a track you’ll listen to each and every whisper with your ears pressed right up to your speakers. This dramatized performance feels like the curtain is falling and this production has come to a final closing…”Darkness.” At times, it hits such a dark place that you almost want to call a support hotline on behalf of Nikki W. and send the experts over to her place…it becomes that real through this intense and melancholy song…you get the actual sense that this is a personality we need to watch out for!
But perhaps…Sad Generation will eventually reflect the realities of the experiences that have brought Nikki W. to us and into the limelight, not so much her future to come. Could I blame her if she went into a purely sugary pop bliss on her next album to come? NO – and I’ll tell you why; when you make music with this much heart, passion and raw emotion on display…people are going to LOVE IT. The support that I can see could theoretically come Nikki’s way after releasing this album…the outpouring of love could be enough to fill her entire world with nothing but sunshine and rainbows.
Do I want that? No…not really! Don’t get me wrong Nikki W., I want you to be just as happy as I am here listening to your amazing music…but I hope that you truly continue to pursue this amazing combination of sound and tone and keep the incredible aspects of emotion raging throughout your work to come. Electro-pop is often accused of being hollow and having no real soul or genuine emotion. Here on Sad Generation, Nikki W. proves that accusation to be completely false with one of the most purely emotional EP’s you can possibly get your ears around.
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