gnash’s new EP if is a short and emotional listen worth your time

gnash%27s+new+EP+if+is+a+short+and+emotional+listen+worth+your+time

Lasting only fourteen minutes, gnash’s new seven-song ep if is not memorable for its duration, though its shortest song is only 54 seconds long. Rather, it stands out a lighthouse of originality that draws listeners in as they feel his words resonate somewhere deep within their sea of carefully repressed thoughts and emotions. 

Known for his collaborations on hits like “Lights Down Low”  by MAX and “i hate u, i love u” by Olivia O’Brien, gnash released his first album last year, establishing his unique style and himself as an artist. While his genre is undoubtedly alternative, I can’t quite define gnash as a singer or rapper; he talks through his songs in a musical yet conversational way — an intimate way. 

The ep opens with “lonely again,” with intense and calming nothingness. It is emptiness and desolation and resignation, yet his words are coated in zeal and inner fire. gnash’s melancholy misery washes over you during his musings and confrontation, his voice growing stronger and louder and then fading out, thick with emotion. His use of dynamics along with the abrupt cut off of the alluring beat ends the song with a punch to the gut, his last words being “Will you come hold me again?”

The following song “i’m so sad” starts with music like a lullaby until gnash and the captivating beat comes in, though it retains its structural integrity, staying serene in essence. It had some strong Quinn XCII vibes, one of my favorite artists, but as the song progressed, it remained uniquely gnash. His thoughts — every whim, every tangent — pour straight from his sorrowful soul to your eager ears. 

“It’s okay to be sad sometimes. It’s okay to be sad sometimes.”

Acceptance and reassurance. 

While his lyrics may not be eloquent or elegant, they are raw and authentic. They need to be heard. “i’m so sad” is a validation of the inexplicable sadness that plagues my generation. Mental illness isn’t a choice, and it isn’t easily fixed. And gnash is acutely aware of that.

The third song takes a sharp turn away from the tear-worthy first two songs. Unlike the previous songs, “superlit” (a collaboration between gnash and Imad Royal) is much more upbeat and jaunty. The acapella adds a fun bounce to the song and makes it feel like a party. Additionally, it’s a ‘moving on, forget you’ kind of song, something that had yet to make an appearance.

“stargazing” (feat. Vancouver Sleep Clinic) throws you yet another way with the woozy singing and music. If it is supposed to feel dreamy, it certainly did not succeed. Something about Vancouver Sleep Clinic’s harmonizing seems off and clashes unappealingly. Moreover, gnash’s part was out of place, despite it being the bearable part of the song. 

The lovely and aforementioned 54-second song is the fifth track titled “alright.” This short and soft composition is a melodic breakup speech. It’s a healthy and complete ending to a long-distance relationship; gnash’s closure leaves you feeling oddly satisfied. I just wish it was longer, though I’m sure it would diminish the impact of the song.

The final two songs on if are my two favorites because of their impacts. In “belong (feat. DENM),” DENM’s smooth voice and the gently crashing music soothes and slowly lulls into gnash’s unadulterated thoughts. 

gnash made me feel known.

“belong (feat. DENM)” made me feel seen when all he did was offer commentary on being invisible, an outsider. His message is one of kindness and love in the least cliche sense.

As his words pick up speed, gnash’s voice becomes impassioned. His timing is somehow impeccable and awkward all together — it’s different and enthralling. It’s as though he jumped into this conversation before he was ready. All the words are bubbling out, and he can’t stop them. It’s a confrontation and a retreat. All I want to do is sit down and learn these beautifully flowing words that resonated so deeply with me. 

And then sky cracks open as the song peaks. 

Everything is honey-coated. Golden thread weaves through your mind and surroundings. The chorus of voices produces a sunlit aura that envelops you, spreading that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling. The feeling of not being alone. The feeling of being understood. 

But “sunset” has a completely different mood and feel. Opening with a charming ukulele, this love song is the only one of its kind, both on the ep and in the industry too. “sunset” is cheery in a delightfully delicate way that I didn’t know gnash was capable of. The placid melody sways perfectly, accompanied by his off-kilter and earnest voice in this exquisite little ditty. 

“The sunset reminds me of you. Does it make you think of me, too?”

Altogether a short listen, if did not lack emotion in its wide range of songs. gnash created an enchanting compilation of coffee shop tunes that can fit any mood — an enchanting compilation of coffee shop tunes that can take you through every emotion all in under fifteen minutes.