070 Shake’s tormented, cathartic mix of rap and R&B was an exciting anomaly in 2020, when a pair of star-turn visitor options on GOOD Music albums led to her putting debut, Modus Vivendi. Two years later, Shake’s despairing, rafters-reaching voice nonetheless holds the identical weight, nevertheless it’s accrued a extra delicate context. On You Can’t Kill Me, her second album, the New Jersey singer-songwriter retains her fashion whereas additionally reining it in, recentering the push-and-pull of romantic anguish that lives on the coronary heart of her music by way of a extra muted supply. Right here, her sound is filled with keening synths, electrical guitars, and heavy drum beats, furnished by co-executive producer and common collaborator Dave Hamelin. Even Shake’s supply is extra measured on You Can’t Kill Me, as she reaches for mumbled melodies slightly than shout-along choruses, however her woozy, plaintive songwriting doesn’t lose its intoxicating contact.
You Can’t Kill Me is at its finest when it presents stunning, welcome wrinkles to Shake’s sound. “Vibrations” opens with over a minute of echoing, ambient vocal experimentation earlier than pivoting into triumphant, head-nodding rap-pop; “Blue Velvet” coasts on breezy, bossa nova strings and hand percussion, a deviation in fashion that Shake makes use of for a tormented ballad a couple of lover’s gown. On the sultry “Physique,” a co-production between Dave Sitek and Mike Dean, Héloïse Letissier of Christine and the Queens presents a punchy counterbalance, matching her low-key vocals with Shake’s to evoke the pangs of bodily attraction. But she not often stays in a contented state of mind for lengthy earlier than the eventual spiral. “I wished your physique,” Shake insists in a frayed, last-ditch plea, “nevertheless it got here together with your soul.”
Like Modus Vivendi, many of the lyrics on You Can’t Kill Me concentrate on troublesome heartache and self-reflection, however right here she involves sharper realizations about changing into one other supply of her personal ache. “I wanna drink all night time and keep inside/I believe I been the issue,” she croons on early standout “Invited,” the phrases sparse towards a billowing, delicately plucked melody. The album traces a free arc towards transferring on from a previous flame. By “Vibrations,” a assured Shake is able to wager on herself and attain the opposite facet: “You’ll by no means lead me to the place you need me.”
The contemplation and development takes You Can’t Kill Me just a little deeper than her previous work, however typically the softened vocal supply underscores her weaker songwriting. Songs vacillate between affecting ruminations on romantic confusion and mushy philosophical musings. On the frictionless “Wine and Spirits,” a dirgey ballad about how fame has deteriorated a relationship, she fumbles over repeated clumsy phrasing. “Yin and the yang is greater than only a image,” she trills beneath melodramatic peals of guitar. “Life is ’bout stability, battle and concord.” The koan-like setups frustratingly hinder the album’s extra gripping moments of self-examination.