Chicago artist Appleby is a flower in full bloom. Well, perhaps it would be a more accurate analogy to say his latest project has borne impeccable fruit. Whatever plant-based analogy you may choose, one thing is certain, Appleby is an artist you need to be paying attention to. Emanating an effortless breezy vibe with his unique brand of bedroom R&B and soul, every track Appleby and his producer Elias Abid touch turns to pure gold.
Their latest gift to the world comes in the form of a seven-track EP, Happiness. The EP retains an overarching sense of cohesion, no matter what realm Appleby may drift towards, largely thanks to the underlying thread that ties it all together. A humble sense of beauty emanates from every strum of the guitar, from every word uttered, from every singular element that makes up Happiness. Opening on “Pages,” a slowly building piece of hazy bedroom R&B that is as smooth as molasses, it is made immediately clear that this project is something special.
That special inexpressible quality that makes Happiness such a captivating project is only further heightened a couple tracks later. Joined by his producer and fellow artist Elias Abid in “Count on You” the two craft a veritable earworm with heart. It is an endearing and mesmerizing moment that simultaneously strikes the heart and urges you to move alongside it. Yet, a track later from the effervescent affair, one will find “ER,” an atmospheric track that makes use of ambulance sirens and brilliantly mimics the beating of a heart through a reverberating backing drum.
To say there is a singular standout track on Happiness may just be impossible, as each track shines with its own exceptional quality. However, “Young Lost Love,” the EP’s closing track is a fair contender for that title. Delving into the world of spoken-word hip-hop and backed by the far-off sound of children at play, the entire experience is otherworldly. It is a perfect way to end an EP that in and of itself feels so enchanting.
Listen to Happiness below: