By Roxann Yus | 12/09/22
“If we act like things are not spiralling out of hand, does that make them so?” “If a thought goes unspoken, does that erase it?” These questions are at the heart of each lyric, twinkling sound and echo, and every nook and cranny. EDEN doesn’t want to miss any of it, lending this motif to the album’s name ICYMI (in case you missed it).
EDEN doesn’t want to miss a warning sign or leave things unsaid. He doesn’t want the truth to be gatekept in the midst of life and death. He struggles to accept the bitter truth that “memories bend” distorts how we perceive the world and each person that roams upon it. EDEN’s cryptically beautiful poetry in A Call is both a critique and love letter to all of this, opening our minds to the whimsy, yet preciousness of human life and connection, and introducing us to how he began asking all of these questions. He makes metaphysics all the more daunting and real by stirring it with astrophysics, presenting an ever-clearer concept of the Fragility of Being when faced with the Unforgiving, like an asteroid.
Attention to every microcosmic detail is EDEN’s speciality: the seamless transition from metaphysics to anecdotes between tracks zooms into human fragility and questions where it all came from. Despite this seamlessness, EDEN marks this change by beginning Balling by repeating “Baby”, presenting a stark contrast of tone and formality from the philosophical poet we were first acquainted. This certainly confirms EDEN’s interest in love and how it’s shaped the way he now views the world. This track is a love letter to change, growth, and loneliness.
Sci-Fi builds upon all of this, but almost offers a more mature perspective, where he’s just “dancing and ghost-erasing”, yet the thought of this other human being still permeates his perception of the world. Modern Warfare then addresses the issue of technology, and how that’s now permeating human life, thus bringing us, again, along the timeline towards what we fear could one day be the end of the world, or at least the world inside our minds.
We’re then granted a breather in EDEN’s Waiting Room, whereby the world beyond life on earth becomes ever more important. “I hate losing my cool, love losing my mind”, as well as “I haven’t seen the stars in so long” show that this is the marker of the album that begins to explore the metaphysical in depth. This latter line is even repeated twice, highlighting the importance of ethereality at this stage in EDEN’s growth.
Closer 2 speeds things up a little bit and presents a very steady electronic dance rhythm central in ICYMI. It’s almost a wake-up call from waiting, and a revaluation of personal triumph and success. It’s a healthy, upbeat mentality towards life, mimicking the backdrop of some of our happiest moments partying. It’s also interesting to note that EDEN says previously that he doesn’t like dancing, and only dances with one special person. But this track acts as a liberation from that point of view, returning joy to himself which isn’t dependent on anybody else.
PS1 also has a steady, dance beat to it, and is probably my favourite track of the entire album. It’s a staple EDEN track: beautiful, ghostly vocals above gritty pop production inspired by the sounds of nature and traffic. EDEN can encapsulate memories into music, and I think PS1 will forever hold memories from the past week within it for me. There’s almost this sad siren noise in the background, like a mixture of sad memories and warnings. Despite its poppy production, I can’t help but feel it is foreboding of something else.
And that it is. “What went wrong?” Call Me Back plays with the jarring theme of technology but, unlike Modern Warfare, it mixes it with this, by now, well-acquainted theme of the cosmos and life beyond earth. “Don’t text me back in the afterlife” screams that technology destroys mental health, and perhaps, life just isn’t compatible and reachable with it. EDEN also sings that he’s “been falling through nightmares lightyears away” as if he’s intrinsically tied to the future, looking back at the present in disgrace: “How did we get lost, overgrown?” Duvidha is then another showcase of EDEN’s partiality and talent for electronic music and instrumental work. It is coldly similar to robotic, futuristic sounds you’d associate with sci-fi films, and it even incorporates twinkly noises that remind me of the cosmos.
Tenth track Elsewhere is a sad ballad that, by name, shows that EDEN and his thoughts exist somewhere else beyond the normal, day-to-day, human life. This one is all about love: “it’s clear you’d rather be elsewhere / I’d rather be in love”. He conceptualises love as a place, possibly so difficult and destructive on Earth that diving into the cosmos is the only way to comprehend it. And it seems like we’ve answered my question about where his metaphysical thinking all began as Reaching 2 opens with “I saw the northern lights at nineteen / Pathfinding in the sky”. It’s likely to me that this experience, noticing the world for its magic and triviality in the universe, coincided with his first experience with love. And when the love began to dwindle, and hurdles made this ever-desirable concept more difficult to keep, that trust in the stars, fear of the universe, and truth in the cosmos became ever more important. He doesn’t “want to feel like he’s reaching”, but he realised love was ‘reaching for the stars’ all along, whilst what really happens in life and love is that an asteroid will hit you all at once.
Edited by: Roxann Yus
Cover image courtesy of ICYMI album cover via Genius.