070 Shake’s First Solo Album, “Modus Vivendi,” Displays Her Unique Style


070 Shake makes a strong entrance into her solo work with her debut album.

Isaac Brown, Staff Reporter

The following article discusses music containing explicit content.

In January 2020, Danielle Balbuena, better known as 070 Shake, released her first studio album, “Modus Vivendi,” two years after her work with Kanye West on his album “Ye” gained large attention.

The 23-year-old decided to come out of the gates strong, releasing an album created almost entirely by herself with the goal of showing off her style and sound to the world. 

The album art depicts Shake connected to something through a series of wires, and from what I gather, that something is the internet and the modern world. As for the name “Modus Vivendi,” a Latin phrase meaning two conflicting parties living among each other, it is an ode to her moral philosophy. 

As a confident young woman, Shake seems to feel that collaborators and technology can only cloud her vision, having a strong focus on herself and her emotions in this album. She used this album as an introduction to her mind, a way to express her style straying away from others in hopes of not being controlled and influenced in the wrong direction. 

The album was created with Mike Dean and Dave Hamlin, two very popular producers, in Los Angeles over the course of just over a month. At the time, Shake decided to take a full focus mentality, going so far as to not owning a cell phone.

This gives the album an incredible foundation, and what she builds on top of that is a superb introduction to her career.

The 14-song album has a runtime of 44 minutes and hosts four singles. The singles “Morrow,” “Guilty Conscience,” “Nice to Have,” and “Under the Moon” give the album a solid start, with “Guilty Conscience” having just under 15 million plays on Spotify

The beginning of the album starts with two introductory songs, “Don’t Break the Silence” and “Come Around.” Both songs are under two minutes long and act as a bridge into the first full song, “Morrow.” 

These initial songs show off how most of the album will be. “Don’t Break the Silence” consists of a major trend seen throughout the album: Shake singing over a synthesizer and beat. This is a unique way of expressing her true feelings, similar to West’s 2008 album “808s and Heartbreak,” where West also used heavy drums and powerful singing to create his most emotional music to date. 

“Morrow” comes in and creates a powerful presence as a full song. It starts with a lead up into the beat drop and soon after we hear Shake’s voice ramping up more and more until the chorus. 

The song brings up the idea of how we might not be here tomorrow, as the title suggests. An important idea to Shake is living life as if today is your last day. 

Next on the album, we are led into “The Pines,” her cover of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” by Lead Belly. Her cover is very different from the original song but gets the same message across through similar lyrics. 

The lyrics “Yes I’m young but I know just what I like,” refer to her sexuality and life philosophy. In a 2018 Pitchfork interview, she explains how she doesn’t like labels, but she likes girls. 

Next up is “Guilty Conscience,” the most popular song of the album. The song starts with her singing with some quiet synthesizer in the background until the beat comes in when she starts to sing with a more full and definitive voice. 

This song is a deep moment for Shake, as she opens up about finding her partner with another person and then continues to sing about how she is relieved that her partner never caught her cheating and that her guilty conscience is wiped away. 

Tame Impala made a remix to “Guilty Conscience” and is ranked at number two for the best songs from the first half of 2020 by the popular music blog Gorilla vs. Bear. 

“Divorce” is a song in which Shake explains how she doesn’t see the point in a marriage for things only to be broken up later, leading to a divorce. “Divorce” sticks largely to her style from the previous songs in the album, although it adds guitar and a long outro that is one of my favorite parts of the album, a nice clean ending to a long stretch of songs before a midpoint of the album. 

One of my favorite lyrics of the whole album is in “Divorce”: “Gemini, see both sides,” referencing her astrological sign and what it means for her. She and Kanye are both Geminis, which possibly compliments their friendship. 

Next, we hear a sample that leads into the song “Rocketship,” one of the most unique songs on the album. 

It features a lot of vocals and spacey synths, a way of creating the image of a spaceship flying through space, and is a great intro into the second half of the album. 

“Microdosing” comes next, a song where she tells more of her ideas about life. Shake explains how she will microdose on people and get her fill of them, so she doesn’t get burned out. She gives more advice like “live in the present” and “ask for forgiveness not for permission,” presumably advice she lives by and finds important. 

“Nice To Have” is the next song and is about how she wants a best friend. It follows a more traditional emo-rap style, containing a heavy beat with a rapping tone and some singing intertwined. 

“Daydreamin” follows a more toned down rap song style. She raps for most of the track with very little singing, and it uses a lower bassline and very little synthesizer use. 

Then comes “Terminal B,” the best song on the album in my opinion.

It starts slow and uses a more simple, human approach to her music. 

She focuses more on her voice and her singing than in other tracks, and uses a simple drum line, a few synthesizer tracks, and a powerful violin appearance to create a complex journey through her love. 

Shake sings about her need for her partner and how much her love means. “Terminal B” is the most raw and open track that lasts for a perfect amount of time, 5 minutes and 30 seconds, making it the longest track on the album. 

As a finisher to her first album, she uses “Flight319,” a quick track that creates complex and powerful images in the listener’s imagination. Shake speaks in great detail about many different pictures of varying people’s lives. The track closes with a couple of dark, gloomy, and deep verses of singing. The low bass and simple lyrics in a love song are the perfect closer to her debut and solo album.

Shake is admirable for her unique style. She shares her vision of music in this album, in hopes of creating a strong career ahead of her. 

With an overall incredible introduction to her career, a solo album created to show off her style while gathering the attention of the listener, Shake puts a lot of focus on herself and what she believes in. 

I would rate this album an 8/10; it’s a strong start but could use some collaborations and a stronger theme. The theme is good, but gets played out across the many tracks. In my opinion, a perfect album should have more collaboration and I have trouble thinking this is her highest potential. But the album is very strong, defined, and unique, while also being impressively well-built, produced, and organized.

With a strong foundation for her career, I cannot wait to see what more she has in store for us.