By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[Young Art; 2017]
Key Tracks: “I Wish I Could”, “Don’t Call Me”, “Rose’s Thorn”
After being diagnosed with Moyamoya and having two separate brain surgeries to treat it, TOKiMONSTA lost her ability to speak and even listen to her own music. After a long recovery process, she was able to create the beats behind Lune Rouge, an album that has helped her return to her passion for making music. Many of the tracks from this album are collaborations, creating cohesive tracks that you would never expect came from someone who has lost their ability to make music in the first place.
The album opens with “Lune” and is followed with “Rouge”, two tracks that seem to track her recovery. “Lune” opens with metallic notes and steady strings that create the beat for this section of the song, and it all rises together as synth gently pounds under the strings. Even though the beautiful strings and synths are there, the metallic shimmering underneath doesn’t go away. “Rouge” becomes more synth beat driven and uses effects like a piece of metal being hit, water being poured into a glass and the repeating lyric of “show me where the light stays.”
“Thief” brings a heavier beat and quickly becomes an electronic-pop track that is almost danceable. This is followed by “I Wish I Could”. which is the first track that TOKiMONSTA made after her surgeries. The classical piano with the beats on top and the repeated lyric “I wish I could be better” seem to call back to what she used to be and a longing to return to her passion. This is followed by the bubbly “We Love”, which easily moves between spacey themes to almost pop-danceable choruses.
“Bibimbap” opens with drumming and what sounds like some sort of string instrument. This is joined by high pitched singing swirling over the drumming and car-horn like synth bursts. This is followed by “NO WAY”, the most hip-hop based on the album, and features rappers Isaiah Rashad, Joey Purp and Ambré. “Don’t Call Me” has some of the best instrumentals on the album, which are somehow hard-hitting and soft at the same time without feeling like it’s missing something.
“Rose’s Thorn” opens with the crashing of an ocean and the twittering of birds before moving into a thematic combination of beats, strings and piano. It easily transitions between melodies and styles, which makes it seems like she is just jamming, and it’s amazing. The album closes with “Early to Dawn” and “Estrange”, which give the feeling of flying, especially in “Early to Dawn”. The vocals seem to float over the soft instrumentals. “Estrange” closes the album with Asian-inspired instrumentals and smooth vocals. It’s heavy and encompasses all the other tracks and what they felt like before fading away.
Even though there are so many collabs on this album, make no mistake, this album is all TOKiMONSTA. Her style can be heard in every track, all of which are unique and can stand alone.