Review: NIKI releases her long-awaited debut, ‘Moonchild’

NIKI Twitter | Photo Courtesy
The LP’s concept furthers the world she’s building about her path in the universe

The album delivers what her fans already love and much more

With music being released from hundreds of big names every month, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to break into the mainstream audience. Artists are all trying to make it big at the same time, lessening the chance for everyone all around, as we stick to the names we already know and love. Rather than replicating a bigger artist’s sound, NIKI has chosen originality in her art while she patiently waits for her turn.

NIKI began creating music nearly a decade ago, although she’s been surrounded by a musical family and culture for the majority of her life. Her first “break” into the mainstream was opening for Taylor Swift in 2014, then opening for Halsey nearly four years later in 2018. It wasn’t until she signed to and joined musical group 88rising that she began to form a true fanbase.

88rising is an ever-expanding mass media label that has their fingers in just about every form of entertainment. They are best known as a musical/rap collective featuring some of the biggest Asian and Asian American artists including Joji, Rich Brian and now NIKI. The 21-year-old Indonesian pop star is featured on many tracks across both of the collective’s albums.

The album’s concept explores NIKI as a person who feels much more comfortable in her skin at night. Creating some of her greatest music and truly feeling herself, she’s a “Moonchild” in her own words.

Split into three “discs” with three tracks each, as well as a foreword, NIKI goes through phases, just as the moon does. Free of guest artists and features, NIKI shines in the spotlight, or moonlight, for the entirety of her project.

At only 34 minutes long, the project is quick and concise, but it doesn’t go by without packing a punch. On the emotional climax of the album, “Lose,” NIKI looks to the moon for love and begs for connection.

She sings, “I don’t need a reason to keep on dreamin’, that I can win this stupid thing called love.” It’s a perfect relationship in her eyes – one without material connection and can be pure feeling.

Other standout tracks include the alt-pop “Tide” that takes a strong hint from the success of Billie Eilish’s “bury a friend.” as well as the upbeat, soulful track “Selene.” As she pleaded to her fans in an Instagram post published the night before release, the album is best listened to from start to finish, as it was intended.

“Moonchild” sees NIKI continuing to pave her way to standing alongside big-time artists in her fields such as Lorde and Billie Eilish. She’s original and she knows it, and it seems that she’s using that quality to set herself apart from others on her way to the top.

Although she’s already gone through multiple phases within herself on the album, NIKI’s career is only beginning to take off in everyone else’s eyes.

Review: 4.5/5

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