Throughout my four years at KJHK one of the most popular and widely-accepted albums among members of the station was Sneaks’ 2019 project, Highway Hypnosis. The Washington D.C. artist Eva Moolchan mixed elements of electronic and hip-hop production alongside spoken-word style lyricism that was instantly infectious. While the album was a little more on the experimental side, it still contained some indisputable hits, including one of my favorite songs of all time, “The Way It Goes.” Returning in 2020 with their fourth album, Sneaks solidifies their sound while also exploring new territories with Happy Birthday. This album feels both more fresh and more accessible than it’s 2019 counterpart.
The longest song, “Sanity,” has arguably the best production on the album. The blasting synths of the chorus alongside the speedy cymbals and catchy bass beat make for an undeniable hit. Plus, who can’t relate to the often-repeated lyric, “I need some time with my vanity” ? The second track, “Faith,” has an extremely catchy house beat and groovy baseline. Overall, Happy Birthday has a much more electronic sound in comparison to Highway Hypnosis. The production of the album is great, but we cannot ignore the lyricism. Both poetic and simplistic, Eva easily gets her points across in this project. She declares that she is neither overrated nor underrated, but just slightly sophisticated in the track “Slightly Sophisticated.” The songs “Mars in Virgo” and “Scorpio” both have obvious astrological themes. Eva has a beautiful voice, but doesn’t feel the need to overuse it. Both the singing and the spoken-word deliveries provide highly enjoyable lyrics that will make you think. The production and the lyrics work hand in hand to make this album incredible.
This album is testimony to Sneaks’ improvement over the last year and to why they attracted attention in the first place. You will find yourself dancing while listening to this project. All in all, the appeal of Happy Birthday is in the name—it’s an unexpected surprise that will leave you smiling like it’s your birthday.
Recommended If You Like: M.I.A., Tirzah, Pylon
Recommended Tracks: 4 (Sanity), 2 (Faith), 5 (Scorpio), 6 (Slightly Sophisticated)
Do Not Play: 8 (Winter Weather)
Written by Griffin Lowry on 08/21/2020