Review | 070 Shake — Modus Vivendi
Modus Vivendi displays a thoughtful artist in 070 Shake.
Most will know 070 Shake not from her early singles or SoundCloud recordings, but instead from her features on “Santeria” off of Pusha-T’s universally acclaimed Daytona or “Ghost Town” from Kanye West’s highly anticipated Ye. Even these fleeting glimpses as what the young artist’s potential were heart-wrenching, dripping in heavy emotion and sincerity. Though she has been in the presence of powerful industry figures and public consciousness for the past two years, she has opted not to rush into releasing a full-length project until now. A wise choice as Modus Vivendi brims with the promise and feeling these early previews had suggested.
Though heavily filtered and vocoded — as an effect, not a crutch, an important point to note — Shake’s voice suggests and expresses a lifetime of troubles. It’s the kind of tangibility that many artists spend entire careers trying to capture. That Shake has done so at the age of 22, without a shred of pretentiousness or overcooked production, makes the anguish heard throughout Modus Vivendi all the more impressive. It’s best moments feel all too authentic, a cathartic undertaking from a performer who needs to express herself more than she needs to be heard.
“Come Around”, a key track, is where the minimal approach is most obvious; allowing Shake’s hopelessness and yearning to battle it out to a near-breaking point. Shake opts for a simplistic lyrical approach. What they lack in wordplay or metaphor, they more than make up for indirectness and confidence. On “Morrow”, she sings “This fire, yeah / I know it burns inside / It’s your decision / But you still make it mine”. Her words carry weight, and she means every single one.
The attention to sonic detail on Modus Vivendi is meticulous. Each track blends seamlessly into the next, and the production values work in perfect unison with her lyrics and gorgeous croon - for the most part at least. At times, her intestinal tenacity appears missing from tracks and Shake seems to buckle under the weight of production and lyrical content alike. “Guilty Conscience”, a jilted lover’s lament, sees her voice overshadowed by the song’s beat and soundscape. This is, however, a rare occurrence on the album.
Modus Vivendi displays a thoughtful artist in 070 Shake. Rather than cash in on the clout garnered on her early outings (the album had been in the works for a year and a half with the release date postponed while she and her production team refined it). Instead, Shake made ample use of her time in the studio and worked to create an album that showcases everything she has learned from the minds at her disposal.
Best tracks: “Come Around”, “Nice to Have”, “Morrow”