Have you ever had a time of your life when you had a lot of optimism towards the upcoming future, but many of the things turned out differently than you envisioned it? If we’re honest, we all have, and Reflection Music Group member Deraj figured that you would be able to relate to this concept.
This led him to create his most recent EP, Goodish – a 6-track collection of songs that cross the gamut of a topsy-turvy season of life. In this review, we’re going to see just how the listener can connect to Deraj’s artistry.
The meaning of ‘Goodish’
While the title is more or less a made up word, the sentiments of its meaning are as true as the air we breathe. Everyone who has lived more than a few years on this Earth have come face to face with some type of disappointment, or misjudgment of an outcome they desired. Some of us have faced this more than others. But the frequency of these opccurences don’t take away from our collective ability to understand what this feels like.
Deraj hit the nail on the head from the title track (“Goodish” feat. Eris Ford), where the line in the hook says:
“We all go through the same things…
….we try to be happy, cant figure it out,
cause we keep lying to ourselves and everyone else…”
These seasons of our lives aren’t “Instagram worthy”, so we like to put on the facade that everything is ok, or fake it to look good for our newest post. And Deraj is using this song to urge us to be real and transparent. It’s like a friend reaching out to another friend, asking them are they truly alright because they can see that there might be some underlying pain that is not being spoken about. Thus, insert the word Goodish. Life is going alright – it’s not the best, but it’s not the worst – so you’re forced to admit that it’s good …ish.
From Deraj’s point of view, there seems to be a specific factor that contributed to the particular season of goodish-ness that he is speaking of, and that is a relationship he dealt with. It’s a combination of his desires to grow in the Lord, wrestle with his flesh, and be real about his feelings, and even his failures in the relationship. Like most relationships, it’s flowers and candy at the beginning. But once life and the humanity of the people involved start to roll in, the facade of perfection rolls away and truth of imperfect humans begin to roll in.
You can hear in “Unperfect” how he admits the flaws in his actions towards this woman. He desired it to be one way, but his messups are the reasons why things didn’t happen exactly the way he wanted it to. It takes two to tango, but as a man, he recognizes how much of the blame of the direction of the relationship it is his to take. Like the times that he was facing sexual temptation in the early mornings in “Lose It All” (featuring Serge), but he was the one who was willingly there at 3 am to begin with.
All of this is going down while he is striving to live the life of a God-honoring Christian man. Whether man or woman, we can all connect with the duplicity of our flesh vs spirit battle. And ultimately, with Jesus we win. This is why ‘Goodish’ is only a season, not a forever. Things do get better, as they do in life, and we get to start celebrating the new season with “Hold You Down” (featuring GNRA) and ride out with “Go Off”, which features Fern of Social Club Misfits.
The title of this EP does not match the production on this project. The tracks on this EP are crazy. I struggle to find words to describe them overall besides being “radio ready”. What I mean by this is that if I didn’t research to see that Mashell Leroy had his hand on every track, who we’re familiar with because of collaborations with Serge early on, I would’ve believed that major record label producers were working with Deraj.
The tracks sound clean, up to date, mixed incredibly well, and they vibe so well also. When I took a first listen, I was already sold on the EP by the music alone, before I learned any of the words or the meaning of the EP. There is an overarching EDM/Dance vibe that flows through the project, but not as cookie cutter, copy and repeat as normal pop music.
Mashell mixes influences from the genres of dance, EDM, hip hop, afrobeat, and even some trance and trip-hop. It’s hard for me to narrow down my favorite musical track off of this project, as none of them fall short. It ultimately comes down to putting them in order of Like-The-Best to Like. And when I do that, the caribbean-vibe-laden song “Hold You Down” comes out on top for me. The lyrics are uplifting, and the melody, mixed with the drums and bass line, gets you dancing RIGHT when the beat drops! If it doesn’t, you have no pulse.
After a year without a release, this is a great project from Deraj. From concept to music, the creativity from this brother have grown to a level that I personally desire to applaud him for. Plus, for it to only be 6 songs, it has a high replay value. Which goes to show that these weren’t just throw away songs that he had to hold us over until a full album drops.
There is always room for transparent music because life isn’t always perfect. We go through trials and tough times in life everyday, but that kind of music is best when there is a capitulation of reconcilitiation with the Lord. It is there to show that He has the victory in every situation we face. To have transparent music that leaves us in the valley without ever showing us the mountaintop, is a misrepresentation of this life in Jesus.
I recommend this EP for everyone who has ever been through a rough season of life, those who are going through a rough season of life right now, and those who think they never will again. Because you never know when you’ll need a reminder of how to press forward when life gets a little Good…ish.