Review: wayside, Koi

Oli Gent | Sports Editor

Koi is back after a short hiatus with another sumptuous record, wayside.

The Los Angeles-based musician had been teasing the new album for the past couple of months on his social media, but with live shows opening again following COVID related halts, the project’s completion was pushed back further towards the end of the calendar year.

But finally, it’s here, comprising of seven new tracks alongside the five incredible singles he had released throughout the year: make it up, 110%, rushing, security, and do you agree?.

All self-produced with the occasional help of Polearm, each track aptly displays the 20-year old’s ability across all realms of music, from production to musicality and lyricism.

The record starts off with boring, where Koi reveals his desire for more in his life, flexing on those who doubted him in the meantime.

The next track, cold feet,hones in on Koi’s shortcomings – a regular theme throughout the project. A fast-paced beat reflects the thoughts rushing through the artist’s head as he looks back on previous memoirs with a past companion.

The single security, accompanied by an exceptional library-based video shot by Overcast, sees Koi showing off his ‘Hollywood address’ to a girl he’s trying to impress.

110%, with its boujee backing track, brings, as Koi aptly puts it, ‘the f***ing vibes, every time…’ as he explains his unwillingness to commit to a proper relationship, claiming that he has no time for such a commitment in his luxurious lifestyle. 

The latest single do you agree? brings more of a wintery vibe with the delicate, tinkly piano instrumental which is complemented incredibly by the soft yet powerful bass and drum combination. Lyrically, Koi finally admits his will to ‘make [her] a priority…’, but acts cool, playing it off, stating: ‘I’m down for it if you agree… and if it don’t work out, it’s whatever, you can do whoever…’ as he tries to distance himself from emotional attachment.

In the verse, he plays out a one-way argument with the song’s subject, ‘…I apologise, that was rude of me, I ain’t know better, it was new to me, I deserve all the scrutiny, I understand absolutely…’. Koi ‘apologises’ to the girl for his lack of faithfulness, but later in the lyrics, he tells her she ‘ain’t gotta worry… I ain’t in a hurry…’, as he seeks out other options in the delaying period before romantic commitment.

But he rounds off the song stating his feelings, claiming ‘but I put time and effort, I think we right together, do you agree?’, admitting that he ‘can’t get mad if you find someone that gon’ treat you better.’

In the next three tracks throw you off, sedatives and minimal, Koi opens up more about his own mental state and his rocky relationship with his mother at home in Alabama, who thinks he’s ‘a fool’ who ‘talks different’. In sedatives, we see Koi in the desert in the accompanying music video discussing his ‘paranoia’, ‘ignoring all… messages’ as he tries, but fails, to ‘keep his s*** in line.’

Slowing the pace of the record down with the dreamy rushing instrumental, he tries to rid himself of ‘assumptions’ a previous partner holds about him, reminiscing on the times they spent together whilst trying to reignite the flame in the near future, promising ‘everything you want, I’ll do it all.’

In the final three songs, georgia, make it up and fluent, the penultimate track is the most pertinent, with its solo piano instrumental throughout pointing to a poignant part of the project. Koi returns at the end, looking to ‘make it up’ to the girl he’s upset, blaming his misbehaviour on his dependence on marijuana and his celebrity lifestyle, claiming that he’s ‘got problems you attribute to, I should’ve been attentive to it…’, and doing his utmost to rid his mind of the troubles the past has caused him.

Rounding off the album’s emotional rollercoaster, Koi pleas with the song’s subject, saying that he’d be ‘better suited’ than her current boyfriend, but he needs ‘time and patience’ to work on his self-improvement. He pledges to ‘be there however long it takes it,’ but the same problems crop up again for him as his previous misdemeanours come back to haunt both figures.

In all, I don’t think I could name a single bad song that this young artist has released, and this album follows suit perfectly. It’s a musical masterpiece that encapsulates not just Koi’s musical ability across all areas, but also proves his potential to keep making hit after hit as his popularity gathers further traction.   

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