RL Grime, real name Henry Steinway, has released his sophomore album NOVA. The follow-up to his debut VOID, the new album comes with some heavyweight collaborations such as Julia Michaels, Miguel, Ty Dolla Sign, Jeremih, Tory Lanez & Chief Keef.
As you might expect from RL Grime, the unofficial mating call maker of EDM festivals everywhere, the album is bombastic and filled with the relentless and powerful beats Grime has been producing for over half a decade. But this time around, with his increased stature between album one and two, comes an elevated level in the artists he is working with. That isn’t always a good thing and some feel forced.
He works best with artists like Daya on “I Wanna Know” or Miguel and Julia Michaels, however Ty Dolla Sign & TK Kravitz feel like they mailed it in. Some of the rap collabs can feel a little disposable, as his production gets lost in the mediocre verses. They feel like they could be done by anyone and not RL Grime.
This album shows an expanded palate from Steinway. He mixes in drum and bass on “Shrine” and “Era,” while also leans heavily on R&B, rap and even pop on other tracks.
Surprisingly, the album transitions pretty seamlessly between songs, notably on “Shoulda” and “Reims,” which almost feels as effortless as an actual DJ mix.
RL Grime wrote a note about how this music was written during a period he was depressed, anxious and unmotivated. This reflects in a melancholic, but hopeful way. The bombastic, but still haunting chords found in many of the songs reflect the visuals Steinway was trying to convey.
This is not an album ideal for sitting at home on laptop speakers – this is meant for festivals and big speakers. That will be the stage where RL Grime and his music shines brightest and what this sound is best suited for.
Pick up NOVA wherever you get your music here.