gnash • us (EP) • :): • Release Date: 3.25.16
Sometimes the coolest musicians and artists are those that are up and coming or under the radar. That’s the case with alternative (or simply hard to categorize) artist/producer gnash. Gnash is by no means a household name, but the Californian is definitely one to watch. EP Us marks the 23-year old’s introduction to the world and ultimately, it’s a worthwhile one.
“Do you miss me like I Miss you? / F*cked around and got attached to you / friends can break your heart too, and / I’m always tired but never of you”
– gnash, “i hate u, i love u”
No need to delay the inevitable. The crowning achievement of Us is undoubtedly “i hate u, i love u,” gnash’s single featuring Olivia O’Brien that has been gaining steam on the Billboard Hot 100. The approach to “i hate u, i love u” ends up being as oxymoronic as its title, with gnash delivering assertive, sometimes profane lyrics in a cool, calmed, and collected manner. Though gnash never seems to be melodramatic or overexcited – f-bombs and all – “i hate u, i love u” is extremely effective, chocked full of swag. Face it – gnash is cool AF.
Now that the centerpiece of us has been adequately acknowledged and lauded, what about the rest of the EP? Gnash (and Mark Johns) drop the bomb on “rumours” literally:
“I don’t f*ck with no rumours / Girl I know you’re the truth / so f*ck whatever it’s you heard / cause I ain’t me without you.”
What more can really be said about the theme and lyrical content? Gnash hates when people talk $hit. So let’s focus more on the sound and overall vibe. It’s perfect. Why? “Rumours” has a minimalistic, alternative R&B vibe that’s part Drake, part singer/songwriter, and part alternative.
“I want you right next to em, so we can rest in peace/ We rest in peace, we rest in peace, we rest in peace”
– gnash, “rip”
“RIP,” featuring Buddy and Quiñ is another highlight. While “rip” can’t overcome juggernaut “i hate u, i love u,” it at least gives it a run for its money. “RIP” is set up as a hip-hop record (Quiñ sings, Buddy raps, Gnash sings), but again, it’s more chill with a more off-beat vibe. Gnash and company in other words aren’t conformist in regards to their approach, even if familiar cues and themes are firmly in place.
On “get well soon” (featuring Liphemra), gnash’s cool approach continues to pack more of a punch than it should. Nonchalantly gnash asks:
“Will you be my little quick fix? / Cause I just dealt with sick sh*t / my last thing ended quick, quick / So I’ve got no one to sit with.”
Even if there’s a stoicism about gnash, the listener gets where he’s going and what’s he’s going for. “I’m assuming we’re wounded together forever / I want you to get better / I’ll be your band aid.”
Going back to the beginning, Us opens with a respectable Bright Eyes cover, “First Day of My Life,” which originally appeared on 2005 album I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning. Goody Grace guests. On “Fragile” gnash and WRENN showcase superb vocal chemistry and tenderness. That tenderness comes from love’s ups and down, a prevalent theme throughout us. On closer “You Just Can’t Be Replaced,” gnash admits he can’t get over her:
“I tried to fill the space… / I can’t forget your face / come home, don’t fade away / You just can’t be replaced.”
All in all, gnash showcases exceptional potential on us. Artistically, gnash has a lot to offer. One of his best attributes? He’s NOT like everybody else – he offers a different look. Don’t sleep on gnash or us.
Favorites: “Rumours,” “RIP” and “I Hate U, I Love U”