Last month, French singer Marylou Mayniel, professionally known as Oklou came out with a new album titled “Galore,” made up of 11 groovy songs.
Oklou's “Galore” artwork
After gaining popularity in March 2018 following the release of her debut EP, “The Rite of May.” Working with computers, drum machines, synthesizers, and found sounds, Pitchfork describes her music as “hazy R&B” which couldn’t be more fitting.
I had this album on repeat for three days, and I didn’t get bored of it for one second. Granted, some songs I would skip, but the overall musical journey was quite nice as is.
The album starts off with a 48-second introduction called “Little,” engrossing you in a forest, immersed in the sound of crickets where one can hear a distant operatic voice in the background—as if someone were finishing off a concert set. People were clapping at the end, as if the operatic voice was opening for Oklou.
“Little” is followed by “Fall,” where the sound of cricket continues on for the first couple of seconds, before letting an uplifting melody take the lead. Oklou’s voice leads—soft, coaxing, and relaxing paired so beautiful with a sweet, catchy melody. She is singing about the ever-changing seasons—how one feels when submerged in the forest, connected with the wilderness, as she claims she needs to fall, not in a negative nor positive way, just as natural a feeling as breathing.
“Unearth me” is next, where the singer takes on a deeper tone of voice, when singing about a burning house. The poetic metaphor could be alluding to a finished relationship, waiting for a phoenix-like rebirth—a fresh start.
“God’s Chariots:” in spite of the serious sounding name relating to God, this track felt more light, and fun from the previous ones. I found myself bobbing my head up-and-down, truly recognizing the “hazy R&B” feel of her music—transportive, and fun.
Onto the album-titled track “Galore,” a fast song of 2:30 mins. The use of keyboard, and synthesizers was evident in this song, with a nice lighthearted feel to it, which is fitting given the lyrics. Oklou is singing about an online correspondence, or rather a relationship that started online where everything was light, and love-filled. The song reminded me of the first moments when you’re talking to someone, and you’re getting to know them, their name eliciting butterflies in your stomach. The beginning of something beautiful, where one connects through words online—another possible interpretation could be Oklou asking to go back to the online beginning, as distance separates her, and her partner. Either way, I found it to be a lovely ballad.
Lullaby-like “Night time” is an interesting track. Oklou’s voice is barely high enough, calm enough to lull you into a trans. However, at the verse, the beat picks up as she sings about waiting for someone to come home, her father perhaps, as she addresses him more than once, claiming she is riddled with nightmares when he isn’t home. A beautifully written metaphor about her being a shepherd losing her sheep alludes to the common idea that a person counts sheep to help with their lack of sleep—highlighting her insomnia.
“Night time” is followed by the second shortest track in the album, “Asturias,” a song featuring artist Zero Castigo. Fleeting voices for a fleeting song, it feels like a farewell ballad, ending with Sega Bodega and Oklou talking about Rosebud, the song ending with Bodega aggressively saying “it’s whatever took me to get the fuck out of here.”
Perfectly introducing the next track, actually titled “Rosebud.” To be quite honest with you, this song felt like a filler track. The music was interesting to listen to but the over-all feel of the song just wasn’t a positive one. I found myself skipping the track more than once, not really interested in listening to it more than I had to.
The redeeming song comes right after it, however, and is quite possibly my favourite. “Girl on my throne” ft. Casey MQ is fun, groovy, and always an appreciated tune in the music industry, where masculine and feminine voices come together to bounce off each other in an artistic way. The beat picks up as the song goes on, and you’ll suddenly find yourself dancing in your chair, unable to keep still.
The penultimate track, “Another night,” will make you want to pack a small bag in the middle of the night and hitch a ride with one of your closest friends to go on a road trip with no destination in particular—just to feel the wind on your face, and taste freedom on your tongue. For almost four minutes, I closed my eyes, and imagined myself doing just that. I rested my head on the back of my chair, enjoyed the synthetic beats, and pictured myself in the front seat of a car with the top off, chasing a sunset into the night.
And finally, it goes full circle with the final track. “I didn’t give up on you,” the longest and most “sound-filled” track lasting 8 minutes. Oklou includes forest sounds once more, with almost a four-minute interlude of cricket sounds fading into the light chirping of birds, as if she wanted to finish the album the way she started it. As if she took us on a journey through the night, right into the dawn of day. Artistic in its own way, this song gave me a lot of Bon Iver vibes, as if it were a mix of his famous tracks “Holocene” and “Woods” — and I mean this in a very good way.