After releasing his debut 2018 record vertigo—which went to number one on the iTunes chart in 12 countries and accumulated a jaw–dropping 200 million streams—and selling out a world tour, EDEN lives up to his success on his sophomore album. With no future, the 24–year–old Irish musician and producer manages to maintain his dedication to the art while continuing to experiment with his sound.
Through this album, EDEN (stage name of Jonathon Ng) explores a variety of themes from anxiety and social media toxicity to the climate crisis. Though it may seem that no single album can handle so many topics, Ng's skills as both a lyricist and musician make it work.
Perhaps even more important to the success of no future is that it's absolutely infused with optimism. This optimism, however, is not simply for the sake of optimism. It doesn't feel superficial or overdone. Instead, it's refreshing. The twelfth track, “isohel,” exemplifies this world view. As EDEN himself shared in a recent interview with Coup de Main Magazine, “Isohel’s are lines on a map that connect all the areas that receive equal sunlight.” Reflecting on his own obsession with light and sunshine, EDEN explains the song is about “wishing the best for the people you’ve left behind but knowing that you’re probably better off where you are now.”
It’s a song about recognizing nostalgia yet having the confidence to trust the potential embedded into the future. There's no clinically–designed chorus telling listeners not to live in the past. Rather, there's only a combination of music, lyrics, and spirit that come together to generate hope. That feeling is what makes no future so special. Music that focuses on social issues isn't unique, but no future is exceptional because Ng is able discusses those issues without sacrificing his sound.
Like the other work Ng has released as EDEN, no future was fully written, recorded, and produced in his home studio in Dublin and combines emotional hip–hop with warm R&B, creating his own sort of pop melancholia. His roots in electronic music are evident with synth lines building the ambience of the entire album and are deftly interwoven into the indie flavor of each track. As this genre of electronic indie hybrid is in the middle of its heyday, it would be easy for no future to sound generic or repetitive, and it's a testament to EDEN’s musical prowess that it's not.
Admittedly, previews of each track don't say much—they each carry virtually the same mood and time. However, a thorough listen unveils those similar snippets as motifs working together to form a set of 19 unique tracks. The foggy distortions of the thirty–second long “in” are present in the five–minute long “rushing” yet create a completely different effect. Instead of a perplexing curiosity, it creates a sort of nebulous longing that pulls the listener through the song.
There may be some moments when the 19 tracks drag and one wonders whether they are all necessary, but no future is a truly incredible example of an album able to take the trends of a popular genre and make them its own.