If you’ve yet to hear of the groovilicious vibes of Emotional Oranges, then The Juice Vol II is the perfect introductory album, after which you should immediately listen to Vol I.
Published exclusively for The Urban Scrapbook
Just exactly who are Emotional Oranges and where did they come from?
It’s said that Drake’s engineer and Adele’s vocal coach met at a Bat Mitzvah in 2017 where Judaism and music collided and Emotional Oranges were born. The R’n’B moiety known individually as “A” (male vocalist) and “V” (female vocalist) – if such a duo could be distilled into a male and female abstraction – debuted a number of singles across 2018 before releasing their first album, the unsurprisingly titled The Juice Vol. I.
Inspired by formerly anonymous identity The Weeknd (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye), Emotional Oranges use their enigma to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. The result is both over-explicit and appropriate.
At one point in April 2019, Emotional Oranges held notoriety as Kanye’s favourite band. And while Kanye’s needle spreads across a broad spectrum, depending on what’s happening within the complete space-time continuum, it’s quite the achievement. As the months go on, the mystification and charm of Emotional Oranges is maturing nicely, as evidenced by the satisfying presence of Vol. II.
Riding the wave of their critically acclaimed The Juice Vol I (released earlier in 2019), Vol II is an exercise in refinement and increasing appeal. And while it’s arguably over-produced, there’s no mistaking it’s a damn good vibe.
Catering perhaps to that crowd who’s looking for that subliminal kick in the morning, Don’t Be Lazy is a soulful entree into the album:
Don’t be lazy, I’m impatientDon’t Be Lazy, The Juice Vol. II, Emotional Oranges
Tired of waitin’, go hit my line (My line)
Don’t be lazy, what’s your favorite? (What’s your favorite?)
Let me lick and taste it (Lick and taste it)
Just one more time
Don’t be lazy
Don’t be lazy
Much of The Juice Vol. II drips with groove. In West Coast Love, the vibe is sultry and nostalgic, feeding familiarity with A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” pulling in the hook. It’s Emotional Oranges’ way of letting you know of their Californian roots and the inspirations that brought them here. It’s cosy and familiar in the way that baked beans on toast feels right.
Not Worth It calls on Sonny and Cher in a strange call-back to the baroque pop era of 1965, reiterating this idea of over-production but in ways that are suitably welcomed:
You know I got you, babe, got you, babe (I got you, got you, babe)Not Worth It, The Juice Vol. II, Emotional Oranges
I know it’s hard on you to play this game (Play this game)
And Iconic paces and bumps in an infectious groove, reminiscent of something born out of the minds of Majid Jordan:
We’ve been stallin’ for so longIconic, The Juice Vol. II, Emotional Oranges
And now we don’t know what to call it
But ironic, you’re ironic
The way you movin’ back and forth
No, I don’t know what I should call it
But iconic, you’re iconic
Lyrically, The Juice Vol. II isn’t winning any Pulitzer prizes. But hey, neither is yours truly. The album is less to do with lyrical genius as it is about carving out an aural space of wavy motion, perfect for extra-curricular activities.
With their latest album, it’s difficult to really say whether Emotional Oranges is pushing sonic boundaries. It’s crisp and delicious, but holds less in common with the fresh. What’s clear is that the duo have successfully tapped into an R’n’B nostalgia and enhanced it with just the right dose of electro-funk and groove.
Are Emotional Oranges as iconic and influential as Big Sean and Jhene Aiko were and are with their pioneering collab TWENTY88? Not quite yet, but time will tell.
For now, enjoy the creamy vibe.
Feature image courtesy Universal