softCORE by Fousheé | Album Review
reviewing the sophomore album from the Jersey artist
Growing in waves as a result of TikTok and single “deep end”, eventually remixed by rapper Sleepy Hallow, Fousheé is hitting the scene, hard and fast. Additionally, a feature on Steve Lacy’s, Gemini Rights, helps create an image for the artist in her sophomore album, softCORE. However, whatever you were expecting from her soft-spoken features and debut album, time machine, this album will completely defy those expectations. Though the album title may hint at what’s to come.
softCORE opens with a surprising punk rock element that will go on to define the album in “simmer down”. It’s not often we see black women take on this element of music, whether that be a result of gatekeeping or some other institutional structure. I wouldn’t normally be interested in this type of music but there exists a certain flair in Fousheé that we see throughout the album as she combines those elements of punk rock — ear-smashing drums and electric guitar solos — with a soft indie-pop and crooning elements of traditional R&B from the black perspective.
The erratic nature of some of the songs, especially with the likes of “i’m fine”, rely on a sudden heavy metal lurch as Fousheé exacerbates her vulnerability with the brash announcement of “I’m fine” like a scorned teenager. These little charming moments reign throughout and make for a truly modern adaptation of a genre that doesn’t always relate to the young, black experience.
As often as the structure and genre of the songs change, so does the mind of the artist as she grapples with infatuation. “supernova” deals with a sort of hip-pop with pitched vocals, reminiscent of, as we’ll see in the very next track, influences like Uzi and Carti. The closest match I can think of would be an artist like FKA Twigs who deals in what some call “noise-pop”. Fousheé similarly abuses electronic supplements and synths while counteracting them with the classic punk rock guitars and raging drums.
This all comes together best on the track with Lil’ Uzi Vert in “spend the money” which keeps the more subtle and addicting elements of punk rock, adding an electric synthesizer straight from outer space. This song is comfortably the best song on the album because it takes all the elements and culminates them into a modern sense that complements the “softer” nature of the artist.
An interlude like “simulation” adds to the odd experimentalism of the album as the artist boldly states that life is nothing more than a simulation. From a seemingly human moment in a concert that staunchly converts to a robotic repetition of “this is a simulation, we have a situation” causing the audience to gasp. Fousheé’s ability to switch genres at a moments notice can give the listener whiplash. From the staunch nihilism of “simulation” we are thrown into a full dive of that R&B element I mentioned earlier with “unexplainable”. This conversion is indeed unexplainable as she tries to convince a lover that there’s still a connection.
softCORE truly feels like DaftPunk got in the booth with Green Day and Fall Out Boy and gave an angsty Fousheé the mic. I’m oddly attracted to this album even though it’s not a frequented genre in experimental pop and/or grunge/punk rock. This feels like a more successful version of Willow’s, “lately I feel EVERYTHING” which largely captures the same themes in love, loneliness, and the apathy of both.
The complaints I have for this album aren’t particularly pressing — I just wish it was longer and better combined those elements of genre fusion in each track. It seems to sway between the different influences rather than combine them in the entirety of the album. We may not see another album like this from Fousheé but this was a bold attempt and succeeded at times.
Favorite Tracks: spend the money, simmer down, unexplainable
Plugging my Substack here — subscribe to get these kinds of stories directly to your email along with exclusive access to my other creative works including snippets of the novel I’m working on!