Rise of the Monarch by AmaLee
26 Jun 2022
Hello, this is Shion, and what you'll see is a verbatim of a review I posted on my Late Night LoneLyn-ess blog for the album Rise of the Monarch by the Vtuber and multi-talent artist, AmaLee (minus the intro made by my character)
To kick things off, the intro track metaphorically feels like the listener (or even Monarch herself) “drowning in the bluest of waters” in a good way, if that sensation even makes sense to visualize. Not only does it segue very well to the next track, but it actually makes you feel like you’re about to rise from the very deep. I love the dreamy and melancholic production, the little chimes subtly played at the back, and how AmaLee’s voice has that relaxing effect on her, the intro track actually reminds me of Nitro Fun’s Come With Me (ft. Anna Yvette), but less electronic-sounding and more grandiose.
And then we go to From The Embers. I’m just gonna say, this might be my most favorite from the track list. It has an EDM-esque production but without sounding too tacky or too generic, and while it has an anisong-like feel in its songwriting, it doesn’t feel too etched in the song’s DNA. AmaLee’s vocals have a bit of an Ariana Grande vibe to it, but I think she manages to have her own charm regardless. Usually in the music that me and my creator listen to, it’s hard to feel like you’re being enraptured in the vocalist’s sonic embrace and it feeling soothing. This is one of those rare moments. I’ve listened to it 3 times already and I’m listening to it on repeat while writing this, and her voice, back with the well-produced instrumental, makes it feel like I’m either sinking more and more into the euphoric comfort of my bed or floating on the ocean for hours, not caring where it takes me. (Sorry to go on a ramble but to summarize, this track moved me in ways I didn’t think it would.)
The next song, Metamorphosis, immediately struck me with an assumption that I wish would be answered by someone: did AmaLee take notes on Riot Games’ songwriting on their K/DA songs? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing, in fact I’m happy to hear Monarch’s songs having that kind of songwriting be incorporated in this track along with a few others. It’s why I commented about me daydreaming a K/DA x AmaLee music video, I think it would make an interesting comic even, but regardless, I like how few songs in and AmaLee has not only already displayed her candor of making catchy pop tunes that even get me bumping their head in delight at 2 am, but also established the regality of Monarch’s character in a subtle manner.
Monster U Made continues the album’s catchiness, and I actually think this track has one of the better instrumentals, and I love how Monarch manages to sound a bit more alluring and eerie in this, though one thing I’ll critique is that the chorus feels like it lacks a bit more oomph for what the song tries to present. Like I would’ve probably loved to hear Monarch get on her high notes a bit more vividly in it, or at least make it feel more foreground. Thankfully, though, it doesn’t actually take away from how groovy and catchy the song is.
The album doesn’t exactly stumble (I’m telling you, I think it’s consistently catchy and well-produced), but it picks itself back up in Villain Vibes, featuring Mori Calliope’s rapping. The duo definitely feel like what the song’s titled: they got villain vibes, boiii. I love how the chorus feels punchy, the instrumental feels energetic, and the performance from both artists feel synergistic to not just the beat but also towards each other. Monarch makes me envision a portrait of her ominously smiling with barely visible eyes when she sings in this track, and Mori feels like the badass girl friend and subordinate that would outshine Monarch herself at times but is actually just having fun on their own world at the end of the day.
I don’t exactly have much to say about MWTWB that I haven’t said towards the previous tracks, other than the fact that I never thought an artist can incorporate “ara ara” in a song and make it sound like a demoness’ nail tip is touching your back and make you feel the biggest chills you’ve ever felt. You’ve done a solid here, AmaLee.
Ok, we’re in the track Drink Your Light now, and sadly I think this is the track that’s giving me a bit of a head scratcher, which is a shame cause I actually think this is one of my favorite vocal performances from AmaLee in the entire album, but I’m struggling to feel awed by the chorus, nor am I not crazy about the production feeling a bit garish at certain points of the song. The one upside it has, though, is that it doesn’t take away from the overall sonic presentation of the album.
I also have gripes with the final track, Call Me King, but fortunately I don’t think this one is as severe as the previous track. While I don’t think the performance in this song is the best, I do like how the chorus blasts through my ears, almost like I’m in a musical kaleidoscope, despite the weird effect that I can’t unhear in Monarch’s voice during it. I also think the production is a little better in comparison to the previous track, however I do feel like it ends a little too abruptly for the album’s worth, I feel like a small final verse would’ve tied things up very nicely, esp. for something that has a lore/concept tied to it.
Overall, despite the critiques we had on a few songs, we really enjoyed this album from front to back. It’s only 8 tracks at 25 minutes so it wasn’t too time-consuming, plus there was never a point in the album where I think it stopped being catchy. S/o to AmaLee, you’ve made a good album, not just by Vtuber standards, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommend you listen to it, whoever’s reading this: https://open.spotify.com/album/3HUbOOeUBHI0IiVllK9wHD
Favorite Tracks: Intro, From The Embers, Metamorphosis, Villain Vibes, MWTWB
Honorable Mention: Monster U Made (I think it’ll grow on me and my creator in a few more listens)
Least Favorite Track: Drink Your Light
Rating: 8/10 (light to decent 8)