On October 2nd of this year, Jónsi released his new album titled Shiver. It is a collaboration between him and A.G. Cook, known for being Charli XCX’s producer.
The album starts out with “Exhale”, which begins the album on a light, airy note. It feels very atmospheric with all the reverb and echoes. The song gradually builds from an intro into the general vibe of the whole album: experimental upbeat pop.
As the song fades away, it picks back up again in the atmospheric feel of “Shiver”. “Shiver” is the title track, and rightfully so. It is approached as very electronic and robotic. The buildup happens ¾ of the way through the song, but it is a wild ride.
Next up is “Cannibal” featuring Elizabeth Fraser. This is the first song on the album where you can actually understand the lyrics. I think this is a notable track and one of my favorites. It starts off very somber and delicate and picks up about halfway through with Elizabeth Fraser on the harmony and more vibrant drums. This song is great for a night drive and just hanging out.
“Wildeye” comes in next with a hard and industrial felt entrance. It is a very wild song with a weird time signature, but it is worthy of a listen. The lyrics are all about losing control of love and have a deep meaning. Halfway through the song you start to get an EDM vibe with the vibrant kick drum.
There is a big mood change from “Wildeye” into “Sumarið sem aldrei kom”. This is a very harmonic based song, with not a lot going on except the Icelandic lyrics. It is a very atmospheric and light song. After a slight buildup and descent again, it feels like a very sad and emotional song, as the meaning of the song is about a broken heart.
Fading out and into “Kórall”, we get a slightly faster, upbeat song. The song is strongly built around this bright, pretty piano melody and really nice drum sections. It has a very moody undertone as a whole. This is a top song choice for me, as well. I like the very freeing openness throughout the whole song.
“Salt Licorice” featuring Robyn is a breath of fresh air from the darkness in the album so far. It is a very upbeat pop song, contrasting with a majority of the album. This is my favorite song on the album. It has a modern pop take, with more electronic drums, and vocal editing. This is a good song for any drive or walk, leaving you with a happy after taste.
“Hold” starts off strong with some nice chord progressions with light, airy vocals on top of them. This song reminds me of some lighter, experimental Dua Lipa.
“Swill” comes in with some hard-hitting drums in the beginning. I get a real indie feel from this song, and it is really catchy. I found this melody stuck in my head for a while after listening. It really is just an anthem for all the people who second guess themselves constantly, and how everything will be okay in the end.
“Grenade” is a slower song, all about staying with someone until the end. This is a sadder song on the album and really gets me in my feelings, but it’s a very good song. I get the vibe of some of Sam Smith’s songs with this one.
“Beautiful Boy” is the closer of the album, bringing all the emotions felt throughout it together again. Very atmospheric and gentle, leaving the listener with something to think about. It fades into a distortion of the melody and then fades out with some scrapes and nature sounds.
Overall, this album was an emotional journey. We started with an abstract view of “Exhale” and went through a sad and gentle love story. The love was all about acceptance and not worrying about the future because it will all be okay, as presented in “Swill” and “Grenade”. I would add “Cannibal”, “Wildeye”, “Salt Licorice”, and “Swill” to any driving playlist with a cool, upbeat vibe. I give this album an 8.5/10 because a lot of the album is atmospheric, and not really up my alley, but the heavy-hitters I mentioned are great!
Listen to the album here.