Uffie – Tokyo Love Hotel

RiYL: Justice, Charli XCX, Yelle
Recommended Tracks: “No Regrets”, “Papercuts”, “Sharpie”

Around 9 years after her debut album, Europop artist Uffie has released a brand-new EP, Tokyo Love Hotel. Starting off on Myspace in 2006, Uffie has made a big name for herself through her time with Ed Banger Records, as well as her hit “Pop the Glock”. After her 5- year hiatus, she is back and stronger than ever. The EP takes on a more somber tone than her previous works, which featured a more happy-go-lucky attitude. With a total of 7 tracks in 20 minutes, Tokyo Love Hotel tells a story of heartbreak, remorse, and recovery.

Released as her first single in 7 years in May 2018, the first track on the EP titled “Drugs” gives listeners a taste of Uffie’s new style. The song features a lot of different synth sounds and a catchy keyboard tune as Uffie talks to a loved one, telling them “The drugs don’t love you like I do. Don’t walk away from me tonight.” This first track gives the listener an idea of the themes of the entire EP, serving as an excellent opener.

“No Regrets” has to be my favorite track on the EP. It features a generic trap beat with warped synth sounds that go surprisingly well together. In addition, the guitar riff midway through the track complements Uffie’s vocals exceptionally well. It’s very reminiscent of her first and only album, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans with its hip-hop flare. The lyrics provide a very self-aware perspective of a celebrity that has all of the money they could ask for, but a lack of empathy and a disregard for others as a result.

Directly following “No Regrets”, “Sad Money” seems to present the aftermath of a night of partying and self-indulgence. Uffie’s melancholic lyrics accompanied by a gloomy acoustic guitar riff slows the mood of the album and explores what it’s truly like to be a celebrity. “Making sad money, take it all from me, blow it all just to feel like someone else.” It almost seems to depict the true feelings hidden beneath the surface of what “No Regrets” portrays, like an unmasking.

Tokyo Love Hotel shows a lot of growth and maturity compared to Uffie’s debut album, shown through her remarkable production and improved lyricism. Uffie seems to have left her old lyrical style of basic raps and verses for clever, meaningful lyrics that complement the instrumentals and fulfill the overall tone of the EP. One of my favorite lines from the EP is from “My Heart”, where the chorus repeats “My heart keeps beating, my heart keeps beating the sh*t out of me”. It’s the clever wordplay and immense imagery that make Uffie’s lyricism stronger than ever.

The EP’s production is also very well done and does a good job at adapting to the newer age of electronic pop. Tokyo Love Hotel is filled to the brim with trap beats and synthesizers that blend together profoundly. The way each song transitions to the next is remarkable as well. The beats and overall sounds of each song are unique, while still holding the same theme throughout.

The theme, however, also serves as part of the EP’s shortcomings. The tracks go well together, but they give the listener the same mood and tone through every song, which can start to become repetitive. Although the songs sound different, the negative and gloomy tones become redundant and predictable. This also restricts the EP from displaying the different sounds and subgenres Uffie has proven to excel in, prohibiting new listeners from experiencing everything Uffie has to offer as an artist.

In addition, one thing that Uffie hasn’t grown apart from is her heavy use of autotune. It sounds great in some tracks, including the vengeful breakup song “Sharpie”, but in others it seems out of place and distracting. It doesn’t take too much away from the EP, but it is a noticeable trait that holds it from reaching its full potential.

Overall, this EP is a refreshing return of a beloved synth-pop artist who hasn’t lost her touch one bit. Although Tokyo Love Hotel has its flaws, Uffie brings a unique listening experience that shows growth, maturity, and passion.

Uffie - Tokyo Love Hotel