Review Summary: the return of a bnm superstar
In one of 2022’s most controversial moments, Sputnikmusic dot com writer JesperL wrote that daine’s debut mixtape Quantum Jumping
rendered the artist “TikTok-ready” and “here to stay”. This caused major backlash: Sputnikmusic dot com user Mort. and… well, mostly Sputnikmusic dot com user Mort. did not agree with the sentiment. In a turn of events that is unfortunate for Sputnikmusic dot com user Mort., daine would end up releasing the single ‘boythots’ a few months later, and subsequently break the internet about as much as Kim Kardashian did that one time. Now, almost a year later, the brand new mixtape shapeless
proves the words that some of us may want to call prophetic: daine’s music is here to stay and very TikTok-ready.
While there is nothing as earth-shattering as ‘boythots’ on this eight-track project (nor any lyrics as groundbreaking as “treat that boy like a slut
”), it aims for consistency and sticks the landing. In spite of this, shapeless
manages to be sonically diverse: where the title track marries questionable lyrics with trance-infused textures, ‘writhe’ closes the record on the high of a necessary nu-metal breakdown. This is cool! That being said, daine are at their very best when their sadboicore-autotuned voice meets an addicting pattern or hook amidst the ethereal atmosphere. The somewhat understated ‘stay close’ and ‘smb2l’ are excellent examples of this; in delicately escaping the comfort of reverb, the tunes carve out wonderful choruses that are instantly catchy without hinging on grating zoomercore tropes.
In spite of its occasional eccentricities, shapeless
is daine’s most accessible project yet: ‘haunt’ is arguably the most developed and layered pop-capital-p song on the project, and while it’s good… it’s not quite on the level of ‘doom’s delightful it-drems-it-screms contrasts. Regardless, daine branching out into the explicitly mainstream is a net positive. Daine consistently putting out new music is a great thing. After all, they are here to stay and entirely TikTok-ready. See you next year.