By Sasha Goldblatt
“Modus Vivendi” is a Latin phrase that translates to “mode of living” or “way of life.” 070 Shake’s first official album expresses a way of life that revolves around recovering from heartbreak and introspection. It tells the story of her journey with her lover and the many stages of their relationship and when it ends.
Danielle Balbuena’s sound is creative and sought after. With features on Kanye West’s records, Danielle has demonstrated a desirable timbre. This album represents a different side to hip-hop. Each track is distinguishable, and the story that the album tells takes you to another place full of creative melodies, beats, and instrumentation.
The album starts with “Don’t Break the Silence” and “Come Around,” using heavy instrumentals and droning sounds to create an introspective and calm sound, which is featured throughout the other tracks. She expresses her love for someone and how difficult it is to get the timing right when it comes to love, begging her lover to come back around.
“Morrow,” although catchy with a great beat, expresses the saddening idea of not knowing if you will be there tomorrow to your partner. This is one of the more hip-hop styled tracks on the album.
“The Pines,” goes back to the droning sounds featured at the beginning of the album, setting the scene of pines where she is hidden. This is less melodic and more dramatic.
Next is “Guilty Conscience,” the best track featured on the album and one of my all-time favorite songs. The vocals are incredible with totally danceable instrumentals, yet the song is about walking in on her partner cheating after she had cheated herself. Totally ironic but you can feel the emotion in the track.
The next portion of the album is very intriguing as it begins a transition. “Divorce,” goes back to the droning style, telling the partner that it is time to separate. It is more mellowed out with heavy harmonies and electric guitar in the background, creating a peaceful sound.
“It’s Forever,” is sung by The Ebonys, setting a clear separation to the next section of the album as the next tracks are more self-focused. “Rocketship,” and “Microdosing,” both have super cool beats and are about moving on and self-focus. They are just ridiculously vibey.
The album goes to a more somber sound with “Nice To Have,” where she expresses missing her partner with a deep, slower beat and mellowed out vocals.
The last four tracks are a bit less memorable than others, but end the album with Danielle leaving town and wondering if she will ever love the same again. “Flight319” is the honorable mention in this final section as it has higher vocals which changes the sound from the more droning sound, and features a transition midway which brings us back to the sounds featured in “Come Around.” It ends with the lyrics, “Girl, I’m in love, hope you feelin’ in love, too,” showing that she has moved on.
The use of creative beats, guitar, and random synth thrown in creates a super vibey, abstract, varied journey. The story that follows the album is super relatable and honest. Everyone should listen to this album because there is something to fit every taste. I would gladly continue listening to this on repeat as it’s one of the best albums of 2020 thus far.
Best songs: Morrow, Guilty Conscience, Nice To Have
Best lyrics: “And I tried telling her that everything was meant to be / It’s hard to believe a vision you can’t see / But tell me, have you looked at the air that you breathe?” – Flight319