070 Shake – Modus Vivendi (Review)

Modus Vivendi:

An arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached.
“the two states have with difficulty reached a modus vivendi, though hardly friendship”
a way of living.
“the Christian faith and its implications for a modus vivendi”

No, I didn’t get paid to do an amateur review of this album. Would’ve been nice though lol I’m doing this because I loved listening to it and would like to share my personal thoughts.

I had never really followed much of 070’s work before this point but I’m glad I got introduced to her.

Modus Vivendi is her debut album (14 songs) with Mike Dean as the composer.

<I really like the cover art>

The entire project feels like a journey and a series of attempts to capture different vibes. The instrumental palette hovers around synth pop and new age dystopia. But let’s not linger on the preliminaries. Let’s get into it:

Don’t break the silence, without reading too much into it feels like an initiation or rather a stage setter. If you weren’t aware of what you’re getting into well… you’ll know after listening to it. The ambience ties in well with the recurring theme of harmony, love and bonds (or the lack thereof)

Come Around, one of my personal favorites. It’s laced with distorted synths that couple well with the portrayed character’s unregulated obsessive compulsive need to be with her lover. The modern dating scene would call it being “needy” — yeah, let’s go with that.

Morrow is upbeat and at the same time misleading in it’s depiction of what’s going on. Two lovers, trapped with their misunderstandings and growing frustrations. There are hints of pride and paranoia being involved (In the end I think the point is to form your own interpretation and this is the one that spoke to me) But this track definitely signals the disintegration of the relationship between 070’s character and her lover i.e. the story is about to get really interesting.

The Pines (my favorite) I just absolutely love this track! It could be argued that this track was the sole reason I even decided to do this whole pseudo-review in the first place. 

I like to think of The Pines as the turning/boiling point of this “relationship”.  The synths that permeate the album can be found here, but there is a heavy bass that layers itself through the entire song. Like a heavy banging on a hypothetical door — vibing with a sense of anxiety or restlessness. 070 Shake’s androgynous delivery just adds to the quality here; I somehow feel like only she could pull this kind of unique vibe from the instrumentals. Definitely can’t under-state the vibe that comes with the hook:

“The Pines! The Pines! The Pines!”

Don’t believe me? Listen to the song and for the love of all that is holy use earphones! Please! lol

Guilty conscience synth pop and the culmination of lies and deceit. I’m not really a big fan of synth pop but I like how the story here is weaved together. It’s a fair assumption that the character 070 Shake is embodying is not a really good person. Turns out all the paranoia and blame shifting that’s been happening is because she was actually cheating on her partner. lol the refrain gives it away: 

“5AM When I walked in,

Could not believe what I saw, yeah

You on another one’s body

Ghosts of the past came to haunt me

I caught you but you never caught me

I was sitting here waiting for karma

There goes my guilty conscience”

Lol Genius! Yeah, yeah toxic relationship etcetera etcetera

Divorce carries an odd zen quality as 070’s character owns up to her own mistakes in the relationship. Talking about “trading her ring” for some “peace”. The title gives the track away. Listening to it gives more context. The guitar solo near the end is pretty neat; transitioning into ambience.

I like the interlude from 70’s music group The Ebonys with the song “It’s forever” that plays in stark contrast to Divorce. Perhaps signifying how 070’s character sees the concept of marriage and love as a cruel joke? The warped ending of the interlude brought me to that conclusion — it also segues nicely into Rocketship.

Microdosing is a nice track but it doesn’t add much to the narrative or themes of the project. At least not in the way other tracks do. A little redundant but still a decent listen; so is Nice to Have, Under The Moon and Daydreamin. Thematically inconsistent, but that might actually be a deliberate move; considering the tracks emphasize the character getting high, having meaningless sex, ruminating over genuine bonds and a lover they can wake up next to.

Feels like a fever dream. And perhaps that’s the intention.

Terminal B seems to re-center everything again as an unsure romance blossoms from yet another drug and alcohol bender. The character questions whether THIS relationship will last, whether who they are sleeping with will finally be “the one”. It’s all compounded by self-doubt and rationalizations, as she wants the relationship but doesn’t want it at the same time. This is accentuated by lines like:

“Maybe she’s a lockdown lover”,

“We’re all going to die, so nobody’s safe here”,

“I’ve felt this before”

“Why can’t I feel this with another?”

Flight319 (The Final Track) Another upbeat track, I would’ve completely written this track off as generic if not for the latter half. Most of titles in the project hint to how all of this is a journey. Rocketship, Terminal B and Flight319 e.t.c. Flight 319 would naturally signal the end of the journey, or rather, the beginning of one, depending on your interpretation of it. The part that kinda blew my mind is how Flight319 ends. 

There are chimes of 070’s character feeling safe with a new lover with lines like “Feeling safe with your love song” but this supposedly feel good moment is drowned by the distorted synths we find in the earlier track Come Around.

It’s a leitmotif that literally turns the entire narrative around. Highlighting the cyclical nature of things perhaps. A Groundhog Day of heart-break if you will. This is how it all started, with her being obsessed over someone, later being paranoid, constantly fighting with her lover and then the Divorce .

The foreboding nature of this leitmotif hints at this new love ending in very much the same way as the last. Dark Ending lol but I like it.

My final impressions: I’m personally in love with the first half of the project. Its so tightly knit I couldn’t stop listening to it.

However, Microdosing all the way to Terminal B almost lost me. I was wondering where it’s all going (in fact, I stopped listening for a couple of days then later decided to come back). I like to call this part of the project the drug, alcohol and sex bender because it’s kinda all over the place lol

Flight319’s ending was what saved the album for me. After listening to that, most parts of the project began making more sense. However, I wish the bender could have been one song less. To the casual listener, these parts of the project might not be as engaging. But what do I know… this is just my personal take. Love this album and I can’t wait to see what else 070 Shake has in store.

– O.D. ©2021

3 Replies to “070 Shake – Modus Vivendi (Review)”

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