Sunny, optimistic vibes roll through the heart of Strivfe’s joyful “Retro Pop Future”. Everything about the album has a lightness to it. Production really ties the whole thing together in a way that feels outright perfect.
Like melted tapes from the 80s, Strivfe mines the chillwave-vaporwave aesthetic flawlessly. His vocals have a silky smoothness to all of it, hitting a perfect balance between RnB, hip-hop, and soul. Ornate arrangements have a tremendous cleverness to them while Strivfe straddles both old-school and new-school styles. By keeping the whole of the thing so unpredictable the album is a true statement, one that feels so lush.
References abound over the course of the album. Clear ones come from Neon Indian’s last album, “Washed Out”’s early blissed out approach, and Toro Y Moi’s intimate crooning. Layer upon layer of sound is applied in a patient, painterly fashion. Nothing feels rushed for Strivfe focuses heavily on the atmospherics. Melodies waft about with the greatest of care. In fact, these melodies are the very heart of it all, helping to give the pieces such radiant light. Lyrics further add to the hazy, dazed quality of the whole experience.
A nod to its own psychedelic musings starts up with the far-off “Modern Era Intro”, nicely dissipating into nothingness, the piece has a realness about it. Going for a shimmering arrangement is the luxurious grooves of “Coastal Highway”. “Yeah Yeah Yeah” has a playful quality to it for the percussive elements add to the loose, almost jazz-like style. Tropical “Summer Serenade” feat. Ken Rosa goes for a soothing gorgeous flavor, with hints of reggae thrown in for good measure. Such swagger dominates “Highs & Lows” feat. Rico Tang. With its gentle approach, “She’s Myyy” feat. Sap has a lovely intimate quality. Neon hued fluorescence comes to the forefront on the Com Truise daydream funk of “Let’s Go!” feat. Shizz Nitty. By far the highlight of the album comes from the incredible trip of “The Hourglass” feat. SnakEza, which has a timeless classic sound to it. With a nod to Prefuse 73’s warped hip-hop is the laid back “3oh2snd” feat. Zel.
Embodying pop music at its most perfect, Strivfe incorporates a tremendous degree of color on his multifaceted album “Retro Pop Future”.