Before Elley Duhé made her way to bigger venues, she began her music career performing at coffee shops and cafes, and her discography reflects that evolution.
Her 2018 album Dragon Mentality is a compelling example of how to use storytelling and instrumentals to drive the listener in new directions. The album has six songs that range in style but collaborate to build a great album as a whole.
Starting off with “Lost My Mind,” the song progresses from slow to upbeat rhythms, which provides adept transition to the tracks that follow. The lyrics tell a simple story that works with the beat to outline the album.
“Fever” follows, and, like its predecessor, starts smooth and transitions into faster, rhythmic beats. The background melody emphasizes the song’s simple lyrics. The big beats of the bridge are a nice constant theme throughout the album.
“Way Down Low” starts on a high note and is the most lyrical of the album so far. It tells a story of a relationship between two individuals that has its pros and cons and moves the listener to feel the emotion. Duhé keeps up the beat and tempo of the song and then skillfully transitions from verse into chorus.
You get hints of her style as a story teller as well as an instrumental enthusiast, but this becomes clear in her next song, “Counterfeit.”
When an unhappy Duhé tells of her “fake” and “counterfeit” partner, the listener gets an intimate look into the emotion that drives the song — guided by several moans and synonyms of the word “fake” throughout.
The fifth song, “$$$$,” stands out — and not just for the title, but for how different it is compared to the rest. A soft string instrument establishes the tempo and then is followed by her piercing vocals.
After about a minute, the song takes a turn and incorporates big bass accompanied by several sound effects, which help the lyrics thrive. It’s an interesting twist in the album and shows Duhé’s ability to stand out.
Duhé rounds out the album with a romantic tune called “Starz.” This song transitions from a long intro of drums and bass — but really makes it work. Her talent to build up the verse and shift gears in the chorus makes for a great album outro.
Overall, whether you’re a fan of Duhé or a general listener of music, I’m sure you’ll appreciate Dragon Mentality as much as I did.
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