Album Review: "bb u ok?" by San Holo
Ever since I heard the song “Light” by San Holo I have been a huge fan. I was so excited when he announced his new album “bb u ok?” was going to be released this past June. This album feels a lot more raw and he stated that this was post edm for him. While his first album is focused on love and a relationship “bb u ok?” is more about what happens after that relationship.
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The album starts out with “i am thinking of you” and feels like it’s preparing you for a beautiful journey. The layered strings and subtle drums create so much space around the guitar.
The third single from the album “IT HURTS!” has a synth throughout that reminds me of a theremin. Everything about this song is really well done, from the crisp beats to the thick bass you can tell all the frequencies were meticulously crafted. A few instances of the chorus are sung by a group of people, I can see a festival of people singing along in the near future.
Bipolar Sunshine’s vocals fit so well in “new one” The effects on the organ synth are unique and the main guitar riff is so catchy.
The first single and album title “bb u ok?” is one of my favorite songs on the album. I absolutely love the warbled horns and strings. There is something that resonates when I hear things that sound like they are bending ever so slightly. The chorus also has some really fun beats and the snare is on point.
While most of the album has guitar on it the balance between the guitar and synth on “black and white” stands out to me.
“i just wanna f***ing cry (feat. The Nicholas)” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The Nicholas' falsetto sounds so good with San Holo’s music. The beats on this song are infectious, every time the chorus comes in I want to jump around.
While “heal (↑%)” feels almost like an interlude at first, it quickly becomes a full fledged song and has a really fun bass and beats.The key change is a nice touch that we rarely hear in any kind of electronic music. The 2nd half of the song is really quite beautiful with all the orchestral elements.
The first half of “lonely in LA” feels more like a singer songwriter track with minimal amounts of beats and bass. By the bridge the rest of the tune fills out, giving it a really good build up effect.
My favorite song of the album is “i get lonely around people, too”. The progression on the song is so well done. All the reverse sounds at the beginning reminds me of more experimental styles of music. When the beat kicks in there is so much energy for a relatively chilled out song. The vocals during this portion of the song are detuned to perfection creating such a strange fun vibe.
The depth San Holo creates in “thoughts and chemicals (feat. American Football)” is impressive. The way he layers a bass guitar on top of a bass synth he creates a slightly funkier feeling.
The fourth single on the album was “MY FAULT”. I love the big buzzing bass throughout. The chord progression compliments the vocals so well and the simplicity of the beats allows the other elements of the track to create great build ups.
The sound design on “make this moment last” is so polished and the main hook synth reminds me of oriental bells mixed with some sort of scraping texture. This song also feels like the turning point on the album. It feels like he is expressing the beginning of things getting better.
The second single of the album is “find your way (feat. Bipolar Sunshine)”. The way the vocals are manipulated in the chorus are so interesting. It’s almost like the falsetto vocal and heavy reverb are bouncing off each other.
One of the dancier tracks on the album is “do you see me?” I really like the static effects over his vocals. The eq sweeps during the breakdowns are a nice touch. “FEELS RIGHT” continues with the trend of upbeat songs. This track even has some breakbeats for a bit.
The chorus for “wheels up (feat. Rivers Cuomo of Weezer)” is massive. I love the LFO effects on the feedback from the guitars. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to end up remixing this song in particular.
The fifth and final single from the album is “you’ve changed, i’ve changed (feat. Chet Porter)”. The yelling portions give a great rock and roll feeling to the song. I’ve always liked how much emotion is conveyed through the singer and how raw a track can feel when there is yelling.
The album concludes with “one more day (feat. Mija & Mr. Carmack)”. It has the same melody as the intro to the album which helps create more of a story when you listen to the album.
Overall I love the album and there is so much to enjoy. San Holo has grown as a songwriter and producer and it makes me look forward to what else he has for us in the future. This summer he is going on tour to support the album and will be playing a lot of shows in North America.