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“NRG” by De Royce, Alex(TOK), and Moca Generation

Summer music is its own genre, and in their new collaborative single “NRG,” De Royce, Alex(TOK), and Moca Generation are giving us the first real taste of the seasonal sounds in what amounts to one of the sleeker new pop singles I’ve heard lately. The R&B vibes are strong in the melodies of this track, and yet the urgency of the beat implies more of a pop element than some might be expecting. The vocals collectively make some of these harmonies feel instantly timeless, and while the video isn’t fronting a lot of depth, it’s undeniably inviting and filled with the mood of the music.

To me, the video for “NRG” is more than a statement – it’s an affirmation of this song’s identity, encapsulated inside all the familiar looks of a hot summer in Los Angeles. We’re not dividing our attention between the imagery and the soundtrack; truth be told, it feels like they’re one and the same by the time we reach the halfway mark in the music video. De Royce has always had a penchant for ambitious works in this medium, but I like that he’s taking more of a relaxed role in this collaborative effort than he typically would.

These harmonies are sensuous, and they’re certainly some of the most surreal pop accents you’re going to find in “NRG.” Moca Generation has an especially smooth hand with this arrangement, and I think the groove benefits all three of these players as to what they’re able to produce at the climax of the song. It would be fun to hear them break this down live or, better yet, return to the studio to make a proper follow-up to this piece in the form of new music, new beats, and a subsequent dose of their chemistry.

The percussion hits us pretty hard around the midsection of the song, but I don’t think I would deem it overindulgent in the grander scheme of things. There’s a lot of decadence to the melodicism in “NRG” that goes relatively unchecked, as if the producers are giving a nod to 1970s funk at its most excessive, but the focused attack of these three players remains the main attention-getter in the track and the video the same.

You can’t beat their connection with the medium, nor the mood that it’s cultivating inside of a mere three and a half minutes of music. “NRG” is a sublime start to the summer season and one of the smartest collaborations I’ve heard out of the underground pop scene this year, and if you’re familiar at all with De Royce, Alex(TOK), or Moca Generation, you are likely to find this a most exceptional demonstration of their individual talents. It’s easy to be a picky listener when it comes to R&B crossovers nowadays simply because of all the incredible variety that exists in the subgenre contemporarily, but as far as songs I think everyone can get into, this is a rare treat for pop aficionados especially.

Mindy McCall

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