The EP defining the signature sound of Onarsé, I dare say, the next decade in Music – The “Wonderer” EP
Alternative R&B singer-songwriter Onarsé returns with his boldest project to date, releasing a highly distinctive, simple, yet gracefully simple EP. Which was also released on his 19th birthday, already providing the significant symbolism behind “Wonderer”. The EP consists of 5 tracks, ranging with influences from genres like electro-pop, dance-rock, soul/r&b and indie-pop. Clearly highlighting Onarsé’s unparalleled versatility not only as a singer-songwriter, but as a producer and an emerging artist who is yet to tap into their true potential. He has a specific sounds, which as a music connoisseur for the past 15 years, can recognise to be one of which only he can create, and let me tell you, he is truly an artist I believe has the potential to dominate and lead the new sound that is to emerge in this coming decade. However, with where the global music climate sits right now, it does not seem to be that consumers are yet ready for his sound; as he is simply already ahead, although it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the market catches up.
“Alexander Wang”, the opening song for the EP is a track with dream-like synths which is backed with an expressive drumline. The song clearly speaks of Onarsé’s fondness and pride of being someone from an Asian background with lines such as “flat nose, fox eyes, bitch I came to slay” and “yellow melanin like gold, could never be replaced” marking the song as an empowerment anthem for many of those who come from an Asian heritage. Towards the end of the song, Onarsé flawlessly vocalizes within the higher 6th octave of his voice.
The next song on the EP is titled “Tears From Heaven”, an impressively written song with a very vivid lyricism (although this is not the only one, more on this later though). Lines such as “overpromised, under delivered. Tears flowing down my face like a river”, genuinely surprised me and enabled me to mentally re-live personal moments within my past where I was faced with somewhat similar situations. The song clearly draws inspiration from an indie-rock sound, emphasizing the subtle anger felt from what seems to be the regret of investing his time into someone who was never able to reciprocate what Onarsé was able to give. As the song reaches its climatic bridge and final chorus, Onarsé reaches atmospheric heights with his voice to mark the liberation he’s felt from finally being able to do what’s best for himself.
The title track of the EP, “Wonderer”, is a very melodious song; Onarsé seems to have derived his inspiration for this song from a particular artist he admires, Mariah Carey. The songbird supreme, who is applauded for her ability to vocalize in her heavenly like falsetto to her gospel belts is clearly the blueprint for the vocal structure for “Wonderer”. Within the verses of the song, Onarsé harmonizes multiple layers in his falsetto, eventually belting out in the choruses of the song. Prior to the song fading out, Onarsé shows off his vocal ability, which he often underplays in many of his songs. Expressing a very passionate growl in the final seconds of the song’s iconic ending line “You love me so good”, despite the song being about Onarsé’s confusion as to how he needs to let go of the one who hurts him most, yet continues to be drawn to the manipulation he faces. Once again highlighting Onarsé’s distinctive lyricism, one which rivals the likes of fellow Gen Z emerging artists such as Olivia Rodrigo.
“Forever”, the second last track on the EP is not a song, but a poetic masterpiece with a very teenage-like romantic feel. The part which honestly makes my stomach flutter with butterflies is the line “when you sing ‘stand by me’, every word I believe. Friends tell me I’m naive, found someone I can reach”; this is a very nostalgic line, one which reminds me of my older days, slow dancing to Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” and using certain lines of the song as a pick up line. Onarsé is an intelligent songwriter, who knows how to craft his words, execute his references in ways which can make a song accompanied with a very simple melody sound so sophisticated whilst still being able to easily digest and relate to.
The final song “Haunted” speaks of Onarsé’s internal demons he has faced, or rather, the internal demons faced by others who lack the awareness to realize. The gradual build up of the song is highly exciting, especially as the song progresses to its very electro-rock ending. “Haunted” is a song that I would like to hear live, not only to hear Onarsé sing the song, but to also see what type of daring performance he has to show to further emphasize the emotions of his songs.
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