Toronto artist Nixxon’s new EP For No Good Reason is an exhibition of where he is in his career after a professional hiatus following his 2014 release, 1990. It showcases Nixxon’s bullying lyrics coupled with a deceptively sensitive sound.
At this point, Nixxon’s biggest claim to fame is previously working with The Weeknd back when Abel was still kicking it in the 6. Although he has changed his stage name from JesseRay to Nixxon to avoid piggybacking off the success of his childhood friend, he consistently cites The Weeknd as inspiration and a motivation to continue pursuing his musical career after limited success and a recess from the industry.
For No Good Reason, with its monotonous sound, features heavily autotuned, feathery vocals over pop-y beats and is a deviation from Nixxon’s previous style which favored a starker sound and more structure variation within the songs. This transition is an imitation of the style popularized by other Toronto artists and Nixxon achieves it in a thinly veiled formulaic effort.
The first song on the EP, “Reason,” was entirely freestyled, but it doesn’t seem it. Nixxon explains his return to the industry and concludes that it is for “No good reason,” setting the thematic tone for the EP. The track is methodical, maintaining the same tempo throughout. But it’s never boring. The wordplay and fluid transitions between verses and refrains impress Nixxon’s technical control, and create a narrative of his current reality. But this does not compensate for the lack of evolution on this EP. Each track is interchangeable and fails to develop Nixxon’s message beyond its establishment.
Nixxon’s technical skill is overshadowed by his archaic themes. He has described this release as an anthem for people chasing their dreams while living paycheque to paycheque, but the lyrics don’t reflect this. Every song is only skin deep, highlighting sexual conquests and economic gain. The hypermasculine content is juxtaposed with the airbrushed production style, leaving the listener confused.
Ultimately, Nixxon’s release sounds like 2000s lyrics over a 2010 beat. He has amazing flow and mastery of technique. But overall, No Good Reason is repetitive and underwhelming. This release comes at a crucial time in Nixxon’s career where he is reestablishing himself in the industry and should be finding a unique voice. But it disappoints as an imitation of an innovative style with an outdated message.