Ever since I first heard Ekoh’s remix of the hard-hitting Fort Minor track, “Where’d You Go,” on Instagram, I’ve been obsessed with each new release. This obsession is no surprise if you read my review of the up-and-coming artist’s single, “21ST CENTURY MELTDOWN,” back in May. With the release of a few more singles since then, Ekoh has unleashed his studio album, LOOK WHAT YOU MADE. A collection of eleven tracks that tells the stories of addiction, depression, loss of love, and a fragile heart beating along the broken path.
But, is Ekoh’s LOOK WHAT YOU MADE a lightning strike in the dark void of the desert sun? Or does this mark Ekoh’s musical takeover, a journey filled with ups and down along the horizon? Let’s find out.
“FENTANYL,” aside from “Where’d You Go,” was my first taste of the raw tension that came with an Ekoh track. No bullshitting, no false hopes, just the plain ugly truth. Funnily enough, a reality that came as a breath of fresh air. Artists nowadays love to tip-toe around the problems plaguing the world and the heavy atmosphere we live in today. But, Ekoh’s “FENTANYL” shines a light on the inner struggles of drug use and being around those also trying to escape their demons.
“I don’t get involved/Hard to judge if you let ’em fall.” Lyrics that have never stoked the flames harder. Ekoh’s electrifying and dark writing style hooks listeners within seconds, which keeps them hitting replay for months at a time. I still have “I don’t wanna play this game/I’ll just stay in my room” hooked to the inner workings of my brain like surging life support.
“FENTANYL” tells a mind-bending story in the short span of 2 minutes and 50 seconds, all with a slow jam beat pushing Ekoh’s powerhouse lyrics to a grand overture finale that takes the album’s single to new heights cementing the rapper’s place in the fucked up spotlight that is the entertainment industry. Ekoh’s music isn’t here to save everyone. But, it’s the track’s naked personality that’ll get through to most that give it a listen.
“21ST CENTURY MELTDOWN.” Where it all began, for the most part, on my journey down the rabbit hole that is Ekoh’s tough-to-read yet highly relatable mindscape. Instrumentally one of the more calm and soothing affairs for the ears, “21ST CENTURY MELTDOWN” is a relatable track exposing today’s go-with-the-flow attitude while completely dying inside.
Equipped with hum-ready melodies, “21ST CENTURY MELTDOWN” might no longer be my favorite release from Ekoh’s album cycle. Still, the track’s raw dog nature and lyrical complexity beneath the surface keep me returning to hit play. I’ll still find myself casually singing, “just passing the time/locked in a screen/look at the likes/I’m living the dream,” while going through aisles at the supermarket.
Ekoh’s look at our modern society is the secret backbone of LOOK WHAT YOU MADE.
It’s pretty funny that a song about not relating to the horrors of the rich and powerful would be highly reliable. “I CAN’T RELATE” is hands down the album’s sleeper hit as more listeners worldwide come face to face with the horrifying truth presented within the track’s broken bones. “No one cares about your life when you’re goin’ in debt,” isn’t that the depressing reality we live in?
Lyrically, “I CAN’T RELATE” is my favorite track holding down the fort on Ekoh’s in-your-face album. The track’s no holds barred mentality is a godsend among the onslaught of songs that only serve to glorify material goods. Seriously, I’m sick and tired of hearing songs about shopping and how much money you have at this point that find their way onto the airwaves. Like crap, take your gold pair of pants and shove them somewhere, why don’t you?
Instrumentally, “I CAN’T RELATE” continues Ekoh’s use of subtle beats and string plucks to help convey his message while building up to a powerful explosion of sound that ensures his tracks will glue themselves to your auditory cortex for an unlimited amount of time. It’s truly a great experience.
“Blah, blah, blah, when they talking, it’s so fake.” Probably my favorite string of lyrics present on LOOK WHAT YOU MADE. A song that’s about fake feelings and caring for the clout? Shit, where has Ekoh been for my whole existence? “MISANTHROPE” singly handily the realist track on Ekoh’s latest release, giving off “fuck you” vibes with a crooked smile.
Alongside “FENTANYL,” “MISANTHROPE” isn’t afraid to have listeners come face to face with the fake social media world we live in today. We only care for the likes, right? Genuine human compassion seems to have gone the way of the dinosaurs in favor of fake Instagram follows and smiles that only exist behind a screen. “Hey/here’s a quote/fuck you and everybody else too.” Realism at its best.
“MISANTHROPE” also fulfills my love for palm mutes and eargasmic sing-along breakdowns. This track has it all to ignite the flame behind listeners’ broken and beaten hearts. A mall anthem for a more fucked up time.
“LIFE IS EASY” hit me personally in the feels. It was a wonderfully broken experience that had me constantly hitting replay and blasting it through my portable speaker while in the shower. The track’s verses and chorus mirror each other in perfect unison to get Ekoh’s point across, but it’s the track’s pre-chorus that helps the somber and lowlight experience flourish; “And I don’t need the whole fuckin’ world with advice for me/Don’t nobody really know what it’s like to be/In another bad day when everyone says the same shit.” A string of lyrical poetry that will most happily stay with me for the remainder of the year.
The 5th track off LOOK WHAT YOU MADE manages to be a top five track overall for me. A depressing view of the world that is like welcoming an old friend back into your life. “LIFE IS EASY” is a beautifully broken piece of art that’ll only get better as Ekoh continues to release new tracks. This is the one that’ll surprise listeners with its pull of reality.
With “I TOLD YOU,” Ekoh turns his energy and angst up to eleven. A stark contrast against the previous five tracks. But, it’s with “I TOLD YOU” that many will fall in love with the passion and emotions Ekoh has present throughout LOOK WHAT YOU MADE if they haven’t fallen yet. “I TOLD YOU” is my favorite track off Ekoh’s heart-hitting album, and I’ll happily admit I’ve had this track on repeat for days leading up to this review. Replaying “I TOLD YOU” has become second nature to me, right behind breathing.
As a huge pop-punk fan, “I TOLD YOU” checks all the boxes for a fantastic pop-punk experience. The energy displayed throughout the track’s almost 3-minute runtime is immense and will have listeners jumping around their rooms screaming, “I told you/I don’t wanna spend another night up talking about the things you hate about me.”
The passion and energy truly explode with “I TOLD YOU” as Ekoh lets go and loses himself in the blur of sound and words spiraling around the room. A track I hope finds its way onto Ekoh’s setlist for his upcoming 21ST CENTURY MELTDOWN headline tour, as I can already hear the sea of fans screeching the chorus right back at him.
Are you ready to have “moved to LA, but I’m still depressed” stuck in your head for the remainder of the day? Because, oh boy, is it going to happen. “FAMOUS ON THE INTERNET” is singly handily one of the catchier tracks on LOOK WHAT YOU MADE. But, while catchy as all heck, Ekoh doesn’t lose his truth-teller charm as the track continues to unravel our fame-obsessed society and the breakdowns that many experience when they should just fake “happy.”
“At least my friends think I’m famous on the internet.” Many who experience even minor popularity will relate to these lyrics as clear as the sunlight shining during the day. “FAMOUS ON THE INTERNET” brings the fast-paced tone displayed in “I TOLD YOU” back down a few notches to match up tonely with the rest of the album’s other 10 tracks to continue to fuel the thought-provoking nature of Ekoh’s melodies and subtle heart punches.
A beautiful track in its own right, the album’s seventh track continues to pave the way for heartbreak, melancholy attitudes, and the feeling that it’s also just okay not to be okay sometimes.
Saying I was heartbroken while listening to “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” would be an understatement. “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” is soul-crushing, honest, and will have tears running down your face before the track concludes. What Ekoh manages to achieve in a little over 2-minutes is pure perfection. “All I know is that we save that hurt/And it takes so much strength just to say those words.” Out of everything Ekoh has written for this release, it doesn’t compare to the truth between the lines of these few lyrics. It’s easy to hold in pain but never easy to express.
I’m sure there’s a real reason why “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” has over two million plays on Spotify alone. That number will continue to climb as more explore the Ekoh rabbit hole, as it’s a fun depressing time filled with self-reflection, pain-suppression, and simply being okay to be around for the little we are around.
My depressed-filled mind quickly grasps to every lyric sung throughout “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” as I make my way through the darkness singing, “I don’t know how long this story goes,” while humming along to the track’s beautifully put-together acoustic arrangement that is the best instrumentation present within LOOK WHAT YOU MADE. Overall, “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” is the album’s keystone, a living, beating heart that many will resonate with.
“WAYSIDE” coming up after “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” is pure bliss. These two tracks go together like PB&J. The acoustic nature of “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” sliding into the deep beats and rhythmic melodies of “WAYSIDE” helps the heartbreak quickly transform into anger and scorn. Featuring Loveless also seems like a no-brainer as the high-pitched vocalist is quickly making a name for himself in his own right, so a collab between these two powerhouses is phenomenal to see and I’m already hoping we get another feature between the two down the road.
“WAYSIDE,” like “FAMOUS ON THE INTERNET,” is a masterclass of catchy vocal notes and easy-to-remember lyrics, as listeners should suspect to have the track’s limelight chorus on repeat while they sleep constantly. I wasn’t joking when I said the second half of LOOK WHAT YOU MADE is the bread and butter of the album, and having tracks like “WAYSIDE” usher listeners towards the end is a genius move.
This track is its own juggernaut and can go toe-to-toe with some of the best new-generation pop-punk tracks floating around the airwaves.
“GOODBYE HAPPINESS” has been making the rounds on Instagram and TikTok, which is always a welcome surprise when I hear the subtle guitar strums come in with Ekoh singing the track’s infectious and heavy chorus; “goodbye happiness/hello loneliness.” The saddening track is also one of the album’s top five. An explosive experience wrapped in a sad flowing bow will have many reliving their sadness and how they just learned to co-exist as that darkness comes back home every so often.
Its tracks like “GOODBYE HAPPINESS” and “I’M NOT ALRIGHT” that will stand the test of time as the years go by as Ekoh’s melodic vocal melodies pair amazingly with the acoustics featured in both songs. I wouldn’t be opposed to a full-blown acoustic EP down the road to hit us all in the feels all over again, as Ekoh has proven with this album that he’s a master at pulling heartstrings with acoustics and deep-tinged lyrics.
A lonesome anthem that’ll be featured on “Best of EMO” playlists for years to come.
The album’s title track, “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE,” had much to live up to, following in the footsteps of ten other unique musical experiences. But, in the case of Ekoh’s latest release, this is one title track that lives up to the legacy and weight that comes with being a title track. Something I’m usually very hard on. Ekoh and his team hit this one out of the park and came to a complete bookend circle connecting with the subtle and overarching themes that started with “FENTANYL.”
Lyrically, “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE” follows the same realist attitude Ekoh has made sure was present throughout the entire album, creating a one-of-a-kind experience, almost as if letting us into his private journals, getting a small taste of the staircases in his mind.
Leaving listeners wanting more of these dark alleyways was the perfect way to bring LOOK WHAT YOU MADE to an end, and I’m already looking forward to his next release.
Ekoh breaks open the mind to let the darkness out with LOOK WHAT YOU MADE, and it’s the album’s realism that takes on the dark corners of the mind and life’s experiences that genuinely help this release shine even in the dark moments. I left feeling free, open, and vulnerable in the best ways possible after giving Ekoh’s latest release a few listens, and it’s quickly become my Album of the Year, which is crazy since we’re barely in September.
So, if you’re open to exploring the self-made walls of your mind, you won’t find a better album than LOOK WHAT YOU MADE.
If you’d like to experience tracks from LOOK WHAT YOU MADE and some of Ekoh’s other releases live, his 21ST CENTURY MELTDOWN tour kicks off on September 14 in Toronto, ON, and you can pick up your tickets now. If you’re heading out to the show on October 7 in Los Angeles, I’ll see you there!
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Stream LOOK WHAT YOU MADE on Spotify