Music, it’s supposed to make you feel something, evoke emotions that are hard to describe. It also allows for calmness and the mundane.
That is exactly what artist Shallou’s music does. Shallou is the project of musician and producer Joe Boston. His music is a mix of emotions and electronic pop. I would describe it as happy music you listen to when it’s raining (figuratively and literally). His style is simple yet complex, instrumental mixed with woeful storytelling. It’s a blend of dancepop and sorrowful soul. According to Ones to Watch, Shallou’s debut in 2017 was met with popular fanfare, with All Becomes Okay recently hitting #1 on Sirius XM Chil. His album Souls (2017/2018), has what I would call an escapism sound. Not wanting to deal with life or its harsh reality. When you listen to singles, Sigh, Skin, and Lost, you get the sense that you’re leaping into another life or jumping off a plane to escape whatever you’re running from. There’s a sense of adventure and fear in each song on the album, which makes this album something to listen to when you aren’t ready to face reality or yourself.
So what’s the Nomad Series?
While letting YouTube chose what song matched my mood, I came across Shallou’s Nomad Series. Each song from Souls’ EP has a video, each song gets to shine with landscapes, sounds, movements , and beauty. The coloring of the videos are calming and takes you to an unknown place. For example, Love, we all know what love is or what it should be. In Shallou’s version of Love we take a trip, it starts with someone driving and continues until we are in a field of daisy, listening to an inaudible voice. We enter an abandoned old style castle like building. The person smiles at us and pictures are taken. There’s sun and green everywhere. It’s calming, relaxing and mundane, but beautiful. The electronic beats take over and you get transported by clicks and heartbeats. It sounds like a triangle or some echoed instrument, but then you hear birds whispering and you become lost. That is Love in Soul. That is Shallou.
There’s simple music, electic sounds, beautiful lyrics, and a feel of calmness when you hear each song, each telling their own stories. Each song relating to your every day life.
This leads to the newest addition to the Shallou collection. Older, what is Older and what type of story does it tell?
Older is the newest single by Shallou featuring artist Daya. Daya made her debut in self titled EP in 2015 with Hide Away and her full album Sit, Still, Look Pretty in 2016. Her sound is more sythnopop and electronic.
Shallou, Daya, and Storytelling
The song starts with Daya’s voice and piano, moves into a beat and slowly speeds up. Then there is an echo-like focus on her sultry voice. The beat and piano continues to pick up. It sounds like an electronic guitar and feels like a heart beat. The lyrics are beautiful and pitiful all in one. The lyrics speak of a transitional period in ones life. Daya’s voice is very hollow, it drops in the beginning and slowly rises in the middle, and then drops by the end. It sounds as if there’s been a release. Lyrics like Out of everyone I seem to be the one with doubt and And I keep losing everyone again are relateable, whether it’s about a relationship with another or wanting something so bad and it being out of reach. Older, is about hoping and wishing the pain softens when you become older, but still wishing things would go your way.
I love that Older has hints of regret and peace
Guess I’ve grown to feel nothing
And it seems nothing hurts the broken
These lyrics are wishful thinking, letting go but you feel the regrets in the singers voice and the beat, especially the guitar sounds. It makes the listener feel as if they’re also searching, knowing that the lose is inevitable.
I really enjoyed various aspects of Soul and Older.
Although I enjoyed Soul with its surreal sound, I felt more connected and in love with Older. Soul has everything from escapism, landscapes, dreams and regrets. With seven songs, you’re bound to have a favorite(s)–Find with Kasbo ft Cody Lovaas. I did, but it also felts as if the songs were all missing something. They each felt incomplete. As a storyteller, I know that not everything needs to be put into a neat box, but for this, I think we needed completeness.
Soul Album: 3.5/5
As for Older, the music, lyrics, singer’s voice, tempo, and everything in between was beautiful. It left me with lingering feelings, the good kind. It has and will continue to be on repeat. The sorrowfulness and the hollowness of Daya’s voice coupled with lyrics made this one of my favorite EPs released in January 2020.
Older EP: 5/5
You can check out more of Shallou’s music on Spotify