Review: TOKiMONSTA – Desiderium
This past September EDM contributor TOKiMONSTA gave us her junior release
Desiderium. In this effort, TOKiMONSTA manages to do a lot with just 7 tracks. She has
several bangers worth mentioning, which showcase her distinctive sound. Having completed
3 albums and 5 Eps since 2008, TOKiMONSTA is a girl on the run that continues to produce
quality music. Desiderium is another solid release to add to her growing portfolio as a musician.
The album’s lead single “Steal My Attention” starts slow but builds into something pretty
entrancing. Using a chipmunk-like set of female vocals against a cycling bass, TOKiMONSTA
puts you back in the club for a hot second. Even if the majority of the cuts off Desiderium aren’t
exactly danceable, this one certainly is. “Steal My Attention” was a clear choice to push for the
album, it has great appeal and grows on you. Expect it to be the main feature in the set list of her
Standout track “Realla” is my personal favorite, where TOKiMONSTA teams up with
her Young Artists label mate Anderson Paak. Signed this year by TOKiMONSTA, Paak’s voice
has a refreshing Caribbean flare. TOKiMONSTA mixes Paak’s abilities against a mesmerizing
loop, creating a song that I swear just surfs. The lyrics to “Realla” are also sexual and therefore-
interesting, “My new fire, you oughtta come to light me, Around this time I only want you here.”
The music video was just released too, but doesn’t really do the song justice. Similar in my mind
to Major Lazer’s “Playground” from his Free the Universe (2013), with the exception that
Diplo’s sound is definitely more sped up, “Realla” will be on repeat for me.
Other tracks “Drive” and “Open Air” are very relaxed. Together they prove that
Desiderium is a cool listen on those off days. This is what TOKiMONSTA does better than
anyone else in EDM. She strikes a balance between dance and chill rap, which stay’s true to
EDM’s roots in hip-hop. Citing Dj Shadow as one of her biggest influences, TOKiMONSTA is
keeping EDM real with music that’s way above the radio.
Desiderium is a nice departure from the current trend in electronic music. It looked
almost too difficult for TOKiMONSTA to top herself after the industry’s approval of her 2013
album Half Shadows. Endless YouTube remixes of her material, etched her name in. Through
Desiderium, TOKiMONSTA has shown consistency in an otherwise vague genre. Expect her
self-started label Young Artists to take off too later on down the year, as Anderson Paak shows
potential with his involvement on Desiderium.
Listen to the album for free here.
Christian Westermann | News Cult