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May 27, 2020   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Collaborative album eases into chilled tunes

Chilled Classics

Universal Operations Limited

Pete Tong, HER-O and Jules Buckley’s new album “Chilled Classics” is a mixture of instrumental songs that tell stories through beautiful vocals. The 18-song album delivers consistently chill and relaxing songs in a multitude of styles.

The music in “Sweet Harmony,” the first song in the album, is upbeat. The chorus is the highlight of the song because of the feelings of resolution expressed by Nina Nesbitt, whose voice is soothing and comforting. “At The River” shares the comforting tone of “Sweet Harmony” and would be an ideal beach day song because of its relaxing instrumentals.

“With Every Heartbeat” is a calming and emotional song. The lyrics ask the listener to reflect on their life and decisions. However, “With Every Heartbeat – Full Orchestral Version” is better than the original because the orchestral elements and the vocals of Zara Larsson complement each other well.

The singers in “Chilled Classics” often rely on their lyrics, making “Offshore” an outlier. The song has suspenseful tones and is absent of lyrics. As a result, the song feels misplaced on the album. “Greece 2000,” unlike “Offshore,” effectively tells a story without lyrics. “Greece 2000” sounds like the beginning of a fight scene between gladiators, and the beats work together to create these movements and illustrate a scene.

“The Cure & The Cause” is another example of how the tracks on the album rely heavily on the lyrics more than the instrumentals. The vocals by Sinead Harnett give the song a jazzy vibe, which compensates for the lack of complexity in the beat.

Similarly, the songs “Go Crazy” and “Touch Me” both have relaxed rhythms. “Go Crazy,” sung by Todd Edwards, is a lively song with a message of being carefree. “Touch Me” shares a story of being reliant on other people yet embodies strength because of its quick tempo. 

“Darkest Days” conveys a deep message through its lyrics while maintaining a pretty sound through its music. This song’s lyrics and music can be enjoyed individually and in unison. The vocals by Shungudzo are a pleasing combination of percussive sounds and long vowel sounds.

From relaxing instrumentals to story-filled lyrics and even a surprise rap section in “Born Slippy,” “Chilled Classics” is a universal album that caters to a variety of musical interests.