Introduction:

GAWVI was first introduced to me as the producer for many of the songs from Reach Records artists. When the label made the announcement that they were signing the producer as a dance artist, I was perplexed. His 2016 EPs Lost in Hue and Holding Hue didn’t impress me. Now comes his first feature album We Belong.

1. Rock N Roll (ft. ELHAE)

The critical look at Hollywood is actually really infectious with some really solid dance vocals. It has some paranoid illuminati themes in the song’s lyrics which make for an intense and interesting listen. Bringing on rapper ELHAE, the hip-hop infused dance groove is really solid. It took me by surprise and I’m intrigued to hear the rest of this project.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

2. God Speed (ft. Andy Mineo and KB)

Featuring two of Reach’s top rappers, this electronic track infused with hip-hop flavors is an absolute banger. Andy and KB murder the track and absolutely jam out. You can hear the smiles on their face. It’s a catchy track that’s super fun and infectious.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

3. Like We Belong

This track had some real Zedd vibes. With colorful pop sounds, the EDM song features GAWVI’s vocals and he has a really good voice for dance music. It’s a catchy tune that feels every exotic. It has some Earth, Wind, and Fire vibes vocally; very similarly to “September” vocally.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

4. Show Me

Utilizing Spanish guitars and brass instruments, this tune has an exotic style and soothing sensibility. The electro pop creates a really smooth and fun jam. GAWVI’s vocals are really stellar. The lyrics are solid too. GAWVI’s production is just incredible.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

5. Never Fails

Using horns and a funky bass line, this song distinguishes itself by infusing an 80s glam rock vibe into a summer pop song a la Drake or Jason Derulo. The horns and bass really elevate the song’s really funky style. It’s reminiscent of “Uptown Funk” and “Want To Want Me”.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

6. Giana

This gentler, sweeter song starts very synthy, ultilizing trap beats. The love song for his wife is where his vocals shine the best on this project. This is the best written song on the album. It’s a really pretty and sweet song that grooves.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

7. The Sickness (ft. Jordan Powers)

This poetic song about mental illness, depression, and human imperfection is a really pretty song that takes full advantage of it’s electro pop feel. The production is incredible and the vocals are stellar.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

8. Closer (ft. Robbie Lee and Julissa Leilani)

The vocals are great and the synth pop style that feels like a nice nostalgic throwback to 2012, this track sounds great. The truly jamming dance beat is infectious with wonderful vocals.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

9. Steady (ft. Zach Norman)

A slower song that’s heavily backed by synthetic piano, Zach Norman shines vocally on this track. With the exotic samples thrown in, GAWVI succeeds with another electro pop gem. Where lyrically it’s flat, GAWVI redeems the track with exuberant production.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A

10. En La Calle

Having previously dabbled in Latin Pop sounds in previous tracks of the album, GAWVI dives in fully. Infusing Latin Pop with reggae, the song features drops that remind me of the likes of Skrillex and Avicii. It’s a wonderful jam.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

11. Feel It (ft. Jocelyn Bowman)

This track is perfect for the club scene. It’s a perfect marriage of infectious beats and dance vocals that are unprecedented. This is a club song if I’ve ever heard one.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

12. Cumbia (ft. Wordsplayed)

Having already featuring one half of Magic & Bird with Andy Mineo, bringing in Wordsplayed makes sense. Bringing back the Latin Pop sound once again with the best use of it yet, it’s an infectious, rubbery Latin rap beat that is truly alive. Wordsplayed owns the track precision and a sense of fun that can be heared throughout the song. This is the best of the Latin Pop-style songs GAWVI has made.

Track Rating: 10/10

Grade: A+

13. Something Bout U (ft. Ja-Wan)

Using his synth piano skills once again, GAWVI introduces snaps into the beat mix and works really well. With some really pretty dance vocals, the track is really gentle. Overall, this might be the weakest of the album, but that’s not an insult. This song is a perfect fit into the album.

Track Rating: 8/10

14. Hold On (ft. Sydney Wilson)

The finale of the album is one that is truly breathtaking. The vocals alone are the best of this album. The production is a slow build and truly, while not being the biggest flex of GAWVI’s album, but it serves its purpose well and the true meat of the song comes from the vocals.

Track Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

Conclusion:

Where the album lacks in songwriting quality, it makes up for in exquisite production. GAWVI has handcrafted a secret masterpiece of dance music. GAWVI is the CCM equivalent of Zedd, a master producer with some vocal talent and an incredible ear for selecting features. It’s a truly masterfully produced album that deserves a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Album at the very least.

Album Rating: 9/10

Grade: A+

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