Heartbreak is an inspiration for many artists, but the experience is incisively unpacked on Love Games (DELUXE), the ultimate breakup record by VÏKÆ.
An expansive project in both emotions and genre, the nine-track release spans the reaches of VÏKÆ’s pop sensibilities to navigate the lovelorn complexities that come in the wake of a bygone relationship.
VÏKÆ — who hails from New Zealand — begins her journey with the alt-pop revelry of record opener I’m Better, which is carried by the singer’s punchy vocals and jittery percussive flairs.
Pulsating synths and echoey harmonies form the backdrop for VÏKÆ’s searing takedown of a former flame, which sees her lamenting the misery they caused while rejoicing in the newfound purpose left in their wake.
There’s a dark-pop energy that courses throughout the track, helped along by vocal distortion and VÏKÆ’s acrobatic delivery.
Here, shimmery electro-pop gets its time in the sun, with xylophonic effects and thunderous basslines. Indie flairs are littered throughout the track, as punctuated by VÏKÆ’s more airy timbre.
Dissecting the faux image she had of a past paramore, Final Breakdown finds VÏKÆ saying her a final goodbye (a good riddance) to toxicity.
Showcasing a knack of evocative imagery, the singer details the empty streets and late nights that she ran off into post-breakup, with a clear flair for poetic storytelling.
Elsewhere, on the title track, VÏKÆ flexes her skill for pop songwriting structures, with catchy refrains and a distinct 70s disco-pop feel.
Reminiscent of a Dua Lipa cut, Love Games is the kind of sonic euphoria you might hear blasting within in a neon-lit nightclub, with a chorus so earwormy it’s destined for infinite replays.
Later, on Lonely Doll, VÏKÆ adopts a powerhouse vocal range, as accompanied by soaring electronic moments and a reflection on the vulnerability one experiences after being dumped.
“How can you say you love her?” the singer pines alongside anthemic choral harmonies, “when you leave her lonely, like a lonely doll.”
Piano takes centre stage on Destination Nowhere, which stands as the record’s clearest example of pop balladry.
Here, VÏKÆ’s vocals are instruments all unto themselves, with sparse and blissfully simplistic production rightfully forefronting her tender and delicate range.
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It’s a welcome change of pace for the tracklist, signalling the comedown catharsis after a period of post-breakup melodrama.
VÏKÆ switches lanes yet again on penultimate track S.M.S, a rich and textured display of the musician’s affinity for country-pop.
Effortlessly inhabiting the staples of the genre, VÏKÆ sings atop a waltzy, swinging rhythm, with vocal twangs seemingly pulled from Gretta Ray album.
VÏKÆ’s efforts culminate on final track Cold – Demo, another dark-pop entry that showcases the singer’s most captivating performance yet, flitting between guttural moments and angelic moments with finesse.
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With a tracklist that doesn’t extend beyond the 30-minute mark, Love Games is an exercise in restraint, never overstaying its welcome and delivering only the essential moments needed to spotlight VÏKÆ’s range.
“I just think it’s important for the soundscape to be uniform and match throughout,” VÏKÆ explained in a press statement. “But you can still have fun and play with genres to solidify the storyline better.”
Get wrapped up in VÏKÆ’s story with her stellar new record Love Games (DELUXE) below.