Review Summary: While lackluster in some regards, Soldier is a fantastic sophomore effort from Yoe Mase.
Yoe Mase’a sophomore record ‘Soldier’ is one I’ve had on repeat for a couple days. It encapsulates so well the feelings of trying to follow your passion, connecting with or losing the people closest to you, and longing for something bigger than yourself. I know it sounds cheesy and generic as all hell, but hey, read and listen before you judge.
‘Soldier Pt. 1’ is a fantastic introduction that really sets the tone for the album. Slowly blossoming from a simple piano and voice track into something with many different strings, electronic elements and vocal effects, you gain an understanding of the bittersweet vibe this record has to offer. This follows suit on other tracks such as ‘Take Cover’, which sounds like a pretty vibing, dance-worthy track until you pay attention to the lyrics and realize it’s a bit darker than you think.
There’s plenty of standout songs on this record for me. ‘I’ve Been a Liar’ starts off with a child talking over a happy, pleasant instrumental. However, the words very quickly begin to get dark and depressing while vocal effects destroy the child’s voice and the instrumental keeps building up, filling you with a feeling that something isn’t quite right. 'Homeless' has one of the more interesting instrumentals on this record, but unfortunately falls flat during the “drop”, as you could switch it out with really any other future bass song and you wouldn’t really notice a difference.
The latter half of the record is a bit more underwhelming. The songs ‘Forest Fire’ and ‘Oh Lord’ give off an almost M83 vibe, which is NOT what I would expect or want from Mase. The instrumentals are fine to vibe to, but are fairly drab in contrast with songs like ‘Homeless’ and ‘Soldier Pt. 2’. ‘Soldier Pt. 2’ as a whole is a pretty generic and tired way to finish off a concept album like this, with booming instrumentation and massive percussion, but it still does a good job capping the album off and giving the story a fitting end.
Overall, I’m very happy with this album and I’m happy I gave it my time. Life in Boxes (Mase’s debut) was pretty underwhelming for me as a whole, and Soldier came through and just blew it out of the water. Rest assured it’s not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the darker, more passionate productions by artists such as EDEN and Crywolf, I guarantee this album is an emotional roller coaster you’ll want to ride.