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Single Review: ‘Clouds’ by JVKE is Meant to Stay on TikTok

2.5 Stars

JVKE released "Clouds" on March 21.
JVKE released "Clouds" on March 21. By Courtesy of JVKE / JVKE Music LLC
By Claire C. Swadling, Contributing Writer

The word is out: JVKE doesn’t just write sad love songs. The “Golden Hour” and “Ghost Town” singer’s latest single “Clouds,” released on March 21, takes a stab at building out his range — but fails to bring his music off of social media.

From the first few seconds of “Clouds,” it’s clear that JVKE is chasing something sunnier. As the beat builds, listeners are greeted with chirpy whistles over light vocalizations — already a stark departure from JVKE’s repertoire of belting his heart out over somber piano progressions. What follows is a chorus that speaks to JVKE’s newfound optimism: “You got my head above the clouds / my feet up off the ground / And I'm not coming down, down, down, down.”

While the chorus is catchy, the rest of the single fails to make an impact; We know JVKE is having a good day “popping tag, tags” and “living fast, fast” with a lover, but these lyrics reveal nothing about him. The emotional complexity of his previous singles seems absent. While “Golden Hour” conveyed astonishment about another’s beauty by telling a love story over delicate chord progressions, it’s difficult to pinpoint what “Clouds” is looking to accomplish with its simple beat and vague statements about happy feelings.

Although JVKE employs a repetitive rhyme scheme to keep listeners of “Clouds” tuned in, both his beat and lyrics fail to charm. Without intricate melodies to support his words, “Clouds” fails to pull at heartstrings the way his previous hits did.

Instead, it appears that JVKE is attempting to bottle a feeling of contented bliss without diving deeper. With “Clouds,” JVKE describes but does not evaluate, leaving his audience unsure of what message they should receive. To that end, the song’s saving strength is its ability to capture 10 to 15 seconds of a listener’s attention in a specific mood without prying further — but that’s all JVKE needed anyway.

Like Lil Nas X and Olivia Rodridgo, JVKE has TikTok to thank for popularizing his music. Accordingly, he’s not incentivized to pour more energy into verses when he already has an intro and chorus that will probably be used for 10-second clips of puppies playing in puddles.

Moving forward, JVKE will have to focus on developing his soundbites out into more complex singles in order to have a shot outside of social media. But in that sense, JVKE has already accomplished what he set out to do: captivate audiences for as long as their TikTok attention spans allow them to.

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