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Review

De Royce & Alex(Tok) Have Some “NRG”

Beat-driven music doesn’t have to feature a lone sharp hook; in fact, it can be multilayered and more melodic than the status quo would normally call for, much as it is in the fantastic new summer jam “NRG” from the minds of De Royce, Alex(TOK), and Moca Generation. Although De Royce is probably the most well-known name on this bill, it doesn’t feel like a solo project at all – on the contrary, this is a very collaborative work that highlights the pop sensibilities of all three players, which initially came as a bit of a surprise to me.

The synth parts in this track are blushing from the get-go, and their startling warmth contributes a lot to the melodic underpinning of the lead vocal during the chorus. It’s almost like these guys are trying to mix “NRG” like an old school boy band track while at the same time paying homage to the physicality of funk during its peak era, which is quite the curious cocktail in my opinion. In any case, it results in some very dreamy harmonies, all of which, mind you, are a lot more imposing in tone and depth in comparison to what the mainstream beat is dropping at the moment.

While it’s tasked with creating some parameters for the other instruments, the drums are almost melodic in their presentation here, lending so much more texture to the mix than what I would normally anticipate getting out of any percussive element in a pop song. This is easily one of the more colorful arrangements I’ve had the great pleasure of reviewing this season, and when coupled with the energy we’re getting at the microphone I think it’s pretty easy to see where a lot of listeners who normally wouldn’t listen to a crossover R&B single might get into “NRG.”

I could definitely dig an entire album of content on the caliber of this song, and if we’re lucky this won’t be the last time that De Royce, Alex(TOK), and Moca Generation share a recording space. They’ve got a lot of heat they bring into the studio together, and although it’s going to take as much to break the mainstream barriers that are keeping ace players like them on the sidelines, they don’t sound particularly enthusiastic about remaining in the indie shadows for long. They’re too ambitious, and with De Royce at the helm of a project, I can see all three really doing some incredible work together.

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