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Reviewing Nublu’s new single “Kastehein” (“Morning Dew”)

Since his first release in 2018, the Estonian pop-rap artist nublu (who opts to use lowercase spelling for his stage name) rightfully earned his place in the hearts of Estonians across the world as a beloved icon in the local music industry.

Listening to his music in the present day brings back memories of my teenage years, when I would spend my summers at various Estonian camps with my friends in the community whom I grew up with. During these years at camp, I was not aware of the vast plethora of Estonian music available to listen to, but the one artist that my friends and I were all familiar with was nublu.

I remember us belting out nublu’s 2018 singles “Mina ka” (Me Too), “Rulli rulli rulli” (Roll Roll Roll), and “Tmt” together at these camps, requesting them at the weekly dances, and (admittedly) being a bit obnoxious about it all the while. nublu was our Estonian icon, whether we knew other Estonian artists or not. In my case, his exclusive status as the only relatable Estonian artist to me (at the time) meant that he was someone I could celebrate both in and outside of the community as a token of my Estonian identity.

This is not to say that his massive hype was derived from the fact that he was all that my friends or I knew in regards to the music world. I’ll give credit where it’s due. He is, without a doubt, very talented; his songs resonated with us so heavily for a reason. The reason for this is simple: his catchy and upbeat lyrics meshed perfectly with polished productions, resulting in songs that could be replayed without fear of repetitiveness.

On August 5th, 2022, nublu released his single “Kastehein” (morning dew.) The song was produced by nublu, Gevin Niglas, and Joosep Järvesaar, (otherwise known as Jozels). It was mixed and mastered by Vallo Kikas, and features vocals by young Ita-Riin.

Though “Kastehein’s” preference for shorter melodious vocals and catchy rhythms situates itself closer on the pop side of the pop-rap spectrum, it doesn’t sacrifice intensity or depth. In fact, its lyrics are sorrowful; they amplify the feeling of isolation while simultaneously instilling a feeling of hope for a better future in its listeners. Translated from Estonian, the outro of the song reads “They don’t care about you/Upside down in the dew meadow/My senses sprouted/The white ship never came/But hope remains for me.”

Perhaps these crestfallen lyrics are a product of their environment. “I actually started making the song in Finland in 2021,” says nublu, “when I was in quarantine due to Covid-19.”

Regardless of the source of nublu’s lyrics, they offer a darker edge to balance out the song’s danceable, upbeat rhythm. The result is something whole, like two pieces of a puzzle fitting together. Or in an artistic sense, nublu has painted a picture using every colour available to him on the palette.

“Kastehein” is available to listen on YouTube!

This article was written by Natalie Jenkins as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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