(Photo Credit - Jeffrey LaTour)
Advance Review - Rituals of Mine: HYPE NOSTALGIA (September 25, 2020)
I wish I could tell you I have the same format before writing a review, but the truth is I do not. Sometimes I listen to an album once, and it captures my attention and I want to write about that. Other times, I have to go through it more than once to try to understand what is going on. There are those where I do a lot of research, and others where I go in blindly. For Rituals of Mine, I did research and listened to the album many times.
After receiving the email link to the Hype Nostalgia album, I read through the details.
“HYPE NOSTALGIA reckons with the emotional rollercoaster Lopez has been riding the past few years, and reimagines it. In 2015, Lopez lost her father to suicide and six months later her best friend passed away in a water accident. ‘Those two events within that six month-period, forever changed me, and I'm only now starting to feel like I've processed it after all these years,’ Lopez says.”
However, what caught my attention was, “Art had always been her outlet, but it was no longer a coping mechanism that worked. Trauma had taken away her voice, leaving Lopez unable to sing for a year.” As a creative individual, I know not being able to write for an extended period of time would drive me into a dark depression. Therefore, I listened to Hype Nostalgia with sympathetic ears.
Right off, I am drawn to the lyrics of “Tether.” They are pensive and with complicated drum rhythms and dark synths, Terra Lopez invites me into her psyche. Followed by “Come Around Me,” “Exceptions,” and “Heights,” I am listening to a woman explore the depths of loneliness since the passing of her dad, the death of her best friend, and her former bandmate leaving the project.
Starting with “Trauma,” the honesty turns to fight. This is reflected both in the lyrics and the music. The edge created is sharp, but Lopez dances on it with the confidence of a woman who faced the darkness and came out stronger.
With “Reflex,” the narrator meets feeling again. She hates it, but likes it at the same time because she knows what’s to come. “65th St,” “Omen,” and “222.” It’s that dip again. That depression. She is falling. But after being overcome by true loss earlier in her life, “Hope U Feel” shows that she is ready to overcome her self-inflicted wounds. “Make no mistakes/I let go of this pain/Off of the table/You have no say over me.”
By “The Last Wave,” Lopez is ready to accept the grief that life and her father’s decision brought. She stands up, faces her dark thoughts and declares, “And I still think of you sometimes.”
Final Thought: Hype Nostalgia is not the album the press release tried to sell me. Instead, it tells the story of a woman who tries not to think about the losses in her life but cannot get away from them. They impacted her life, her thoughts, and her psyche for the worst and for the better. They season her decisions, and I can hear it in her lyrics and her voice. However, “The Last Wave” is that moment where she realizes, “And I still think of you sometimes.”
Additional Final Thought: This is a beautiful album. Although I am making it out to be heavy, which it is, it does not always sound that way. It is not club music, but some of the songs can pepper a playlist for a gathering (of not more than ten people [Covid joke]) and no one would miss a beat.
Favorite Songs: “Come Around Me,” “Free Throw (feat. KRIS),” and “The Last Wave”
Rating: 5 out of 5 (Yes. I think Hype Nostalgia has a timeless feel.)