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88rising's NIKI's new album 'Nicole' is musical deep dive on what happens after the heartbreak

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Aug 15, 2022 4:51 pm

Jakarta-born, LA-based singer-songwriter NIKI has unveiled her latest album Nicole.

Released via Asian American music label 88rising, Nicole sees the brand's main female artist where she shines, returning to her singer-songwriter roots in a carefully crafted coming-of-age juncture that sees present-day NIKI meet with her teenage self. The album contains archived songs from NIKI’s past that have been re-imagined for the album, in addition to a number of brand-new tracks.

Throughout the 12 songs on the album, NIKI uses her innate and detailed storytelling abilities to explore the themes of love, heartbreak, and every emotion in between.

Although NIKI has long been known as a "wizard with words" with her hits such as lowkey, Sugarplum Elegy, and La La Lost You, her newest album sees the artist channel a Taylor Swift-esque talent through her deeply introspective views on loves lost and learned.

"During the pandemic, I did a deep dive of the archived videos from the YouTube channel I started in middle school and realized that these songs are where my heart is," NIKI shared. "We made most of the songs in my collaborators’ garages and living rooms, and the whole process felt so carefree and energizing, like being a kid at the playground."

"With this record, I learned to trust my gut and have real confidence in myself as a songwriter and producer, and it was so freeing and so much more fun."

Standouts include Oceans & Engines, a heart-wrenching ballad on surrendering to a broken relationship; the equally nostalgic Before; and the deeply warm and touching The Apartment We Won't Share, a 2-minute and 30-second ballad about the alternate life NIKI almost had.

The Apartment We Won't Share, in particular, encapsulates NIKI's simple but powerful lyrical style, as her vocals are matched with a simple acoustic guitar as she croons in retrospect: The dog we won't have is now one I would not choose / The daughter we won't raise still waits for you.

Fully written by NIKI, Nicole also features production from Jacob Ray (Alison Wonderland, Evan Giia) Tim Anderson (Halsey, BANKS), Ethan Gruska (Phoebe Bridgers, Remi Wolf), and Jacob Reske (Vince Staples, Trippie Redd). 

Listen to the entire album here: