Taking a so-honest-it-hurts approach to music, British rapper/singer/songwriter Ren is having a busy year. Releasing two EP’s, as well as music with his band The Big Push, and collaborating with Sam Tompkins, there’s a wealth of new music to explore. His latest release, the EP Demos [Do Not Share] Vol. ll continues the artist’s trend of being both emotionally intelligent and confrontational.
The first three songs, “Ready For You”, “Diazepam” and “Heretic” all deal with themes of depression and isolation. Sounding soft one second and harsh the next, they feature expressive vocals, eclectic sounds, and haunting lyrics. Although strong independently, together they form an interesting and intense trilogy.
After three songs musing on mental health it’s almost jarring to move onto “Crucify Your Culture”, an angry political indictment. Provocative, if not controversial, the song manages to critique greed, capitalism and democracy in just under three minutes. In the same vein “Money Game Part 2”, released earlier this year, explains economics better than my year eleven business class ever could.
The EP’s finale song, “Everybody Drops”, is my personal favourite. Probably the most intimate and specific song, it details the artist’s struggle with Lyme disease. Capturing feelings of frustration and desperation, it’s worth googling the lyrics.
Almost functioning like a diary, Ren’s music is as poetic as it is personal, as expressive as it is explicit, with this latest EP working well as an entrance into the artist’s impressive discography. At least someone is having a productive year.