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EDEN’s “vertigo” Album Review

Album cover for EDEN's 'vertigo', released January 19th, 2018. Photo courtesy of Genius.com

Album cover for EDEN's 'vertigo', released January 19th, 2018. Photo courtesy of Genius.com

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Full disclosure: I am the biggest EDEN fan you could possibly find. I’ve followed this talented music producer since he was named The Eden Project and his first EP, Kairos, was released around my 8th grade year. I’ve followed him through every EP since, and now, to his debut album vertigo. The album was officially released on January 19th, 2018, and I had high expectations from my favorite artist. But this collection of 13 new songs absolutely exceeded those expectations.

 

* This song is marked as explicit, so please listen at your discretion!

 

  1. wrong

This song contains no actual music, which was interesting to hear for an introduction song to the album. However, EDEN’s acapella harmonies amazingly made up for the lack of instrumental! They blended together nicely, and buzzed in such a way that reminded me of an older song, woah, released under his previous alias. The song is only about a minute long, but EDEN packs in the hard-hitting lyrics as soon as it begins. My favorite lines from the song are the two last verses, “Have I lost sight of everything I’ve worked for? Did I get this all wrong?”. EDEN contemplating his future is a common theme in many of his songs, and wrong is no exception.

 

  1. take care

The transition from wrong to take care is so smooth, I didn’t realize I had moved on to another song the first time I listened to it. I’m a sucker for songs that include different instruments, and EDEN’s choice in strings and guitar for this one really intrigued me. The beat that comes in at the post-chorus, along with his higher notes – I don’t know how to describe how pumped those made me feel. As with a lot of his songs, this song talks about a broken relationship. My favorite line from this track is definitely “I smashed my phone, but honestly I feel relieved / You can’t reach me, now I can exhale on my own”, because it shows how desperate EDEN is to forget, and eventually stop trying to communicate, with the girl he lost. This song is definitely one of my favorite songs off vertigo.

 

  1. start//end *

This track is the first of EDEN’s ‘word//word’ songs, for lack of a better explanation. I remember hearing the leaked version of this song about a year ago, but I only listened to the first minute or so because I felt guilty. The leaked version didn’t include my favorite part of this song, which is the background voices that I feel really pull it all together. They come and go throughout the song, and often I find myself singing along to them instead of the main vocals because they’re so beautiful. The beginning of the song starts with strings, which you know I absolutely love. But then, the song morphs into a more electronic sound, and then blends the two styles together. As a long-time fan of EDEN, I’ve always loved the songs that mix both instrumental and electronic together, so this song was amazing for me. I felt moved by the lyrics throughout the song, as I realized a lot of it is about hopelessness and figuring out what’s going on in life. One lyric in particular, however, brought me to tears the first time I listened to it: “And I’ve been looking at the sky since I was like 5 years old / Been looking for the stars but it seems like they’re all gone”. Everyone has that moment where a line in a song perfectly describes something that you feel, and that was this line from me off vertigo.

 

  1. wings

Wings mixes instrumentals with electronic sound again, so I was really happy with how this one came out. I do love that the song transitions from strings, to an electronic beat, and to a softer guitar sound. I always love a good chorus you can scream your lungs out to, and wings really delivered with “So, if you loved me, how was I supposed to know? / ‘Cause now we’re fading and losing what we wanted most”. It’s definitely a song to sing along to at the top of your lungs, which I happily did at his concert back in March.

Me meeting EDEN at a VIP event at his concert in March.

5. icarus *
In his 22nd birthday video, EDEN talked about how he felt drained from all the touring he was doing, despite the fact that it was his dream. As I listed to icarus, I realized that this song was about that struggle he was having. This song is like wings, in that its lyrics are scream-able, and they have intense melodies to them that mirror the frustration EDEN must be feeling with himself. I love the line “I guess I don’t know / How to live with a good thing / And not break it into nothing”, especially in the second half of the song, not only because I can resonate with the pain EDEN is feeling, but also because of the intensity you can hear behind his voice.

6. lost//found

This song has a completely different sound than the others before it on the album. It carries itself with EDEN’s weary voice and quiet guitar strums, with a sound that doesn’t sound recorded from a studio, but instead a recording on a phone or computer. It feels nostalgic, like you’re longing for something that’s gone and in the past. It has the type of sound where you can close your eyes and take a deep breath, while slowly absorbing the words through you. EDEN really plays with raw emotion on this track, another trait of his music that I love. One line in particular caught my attention: “‘Cause I found God / And he said ‘Plans change a lot’”. In one of his older songs, Man Down, he mentions that he had found God, and He had told him he was lost. What’s interesting is that his encounters with God, both on this track and an older one, both tie in with the song title of lost//found.

7. crash *

I cried the first time I listened to this song. Although it does start out with just a guitar and his voice, it directly counters lost//found’s raw tone because it does sound like it was recorded professionally. Like other songs, this song does add in more of the electronic sound, and I noticed a common theme of ‘glitchy’ notes, not just in this song, but others as well. I personally interpreted this song to be a goodbye letter to a past version of yourself, one that you weren’t proud of or just want to leave behind for other reasons. I loved the line “And I can bend your words / So they say exactly what hurts the most” because it accurately describes the paranoia and anxiety you feel when talking to someone you care about, and in this case, also bending the memories you have so they hurt more than they intended.

 

8. gold *

This song, gold, is definitely the most upbeat song on the album. It’s one of those songs that you can comfortably dance and sing along to on a long car ride, or just to yourself in your room. I like having a more melancholy track on the album, especially after an emotional song like crash. The lyrics talk about letting go of what’s affecting you and leaving it behind you. My favorite line from this song is “But it’s alright if these are your worst times / You know you’re good” because it reminds you that it’s okay to have a bad day, it only reminds you that good times happen too.

 

9. forever//over *

I don’t know how to explain it otherwise, but this song feels like a warm hug. It doesn’t intensify like icarus, but also doesn’t stay mellow like lost//found. It’s the perfect medium of soft sound and louder tones. The song reminisces about a past relationship, how good it was, and how it slowly fizzled out. My favorite part of the song, although not a specific lyric, is when the music slowly builds to an electronic instrumental before blending into the interlude. That part feels like everything is being let go at once, before slowing down into the mellow sound again. This song is definitely one of my favorites off of vertigo.

10. float

The concept at the beginning of this song caught me off guard the first time I listened to it. I like how it suddenly brought you into the words through the sound of crashing glass. EDEN always does a good job of sampling day-to-day sounds into his music, and float is the perfect example of this. The song describes the aching feeling of giving parts of yourself up just to have a past relationship return to you. I can’t pick a particular line that I like, not because I don’t like the song, but because the song in its entirety tells a story that can’t be described in a single line.

 

11. wonder

I think I cried listening to this song for the first time. Kind of like forever//over, it feels like a warm hug, like the last couple tears you shed before you take a deep breath and remember who you are. When I listen to wonder, it feels like I’m floating through the outside world, looking up at the sky. The way EDEN sings in it is so soft, and mixed with the strumming of his guitar, it just feels so calming.I used to wonder what love is / But ever since you’ve been around / I finally think I have it figured out” is my favorite line, not because I relate to it, but because it’s nice to see that EDEN’s struggle with relationships in the previous songs were resolved on these last couple of lines.

 

12. love; not wrong (brave) *

This song is definitely a favorite among fans, and a favorite on my list as well. The song feels nostalgic to EDEN’s original sound while continuing to blend in his new style. Like float, I can’t pick out a particular line that I like the most because all of them were perfect to me. They’re the perfect mix of yell-able lyrics and ones you could use in an art project (which I did). This song is good for a late night car ride with friends.

 

13. falling in reverse

Falling in reverse has a mysterious vibe to it that makes me want to close my eyes and daydream. EDEN samples a movie scene in which a character says “come on, what’s the big deal? Nobody’s that heartless!” several times throughout the song, which adds to the chilling concept of the song. The words themselves are directed at the listener – reassuring them that he, the voice in their head, “will be there for [them] when no one else cares” and that everything will be okay. This song was different in that it was a direct message to the audience for them, rather than a story about EDEN himself.  

 

The album was a perfect mix of all of EDEN’s different styles, and had a medley of different stories and emotions throughout it. I have a lot of EDEN favorites after knowing him for so long, but vertigo has a special place in my heart now. This was definitely one of the best collections that EDEN has released.

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