A Robotic Ballad | “Terminal B” – 070 Shake


Noah Bosch, Writer/Volunteer

Modus Vivendi, 070 Shake’s debut LP, was released on Jan. 17 of this year by Kanye West’s G.O.O.D music record label. The artwork for the album displays a part-robot, part-humanoid figure bound by gleaming cords and wires to an unseen entity. Gazing despondently off into the distance, the figure’s crestfallen demeanor incites intrigue.

The Latin expression “modus vivendi” is commonly understood to mean “way of life” in English. However, a second definition exists, one that may demystify the underlying meaning of the album: “an arrangement or agreement allowing conflicting parties to coexist peacefully, either indefinitely or until a final settlement is reached.” This notion of attempting to create an arrangement of coexistence and peace is exemplified on Modus Vivendi’s penultimate track “Terminal B,” a cinematic ballad that finds 070 Shake at both her most bold and and her most vulnerable as she hopelessly attempts to come to peace with her feelings of uncertainty regarding an unknown lover.

In “Terminal B,” 070 Shake utilizes a unique editing method of bouncing synthesizers to and from different audio channels at different times, creating the illusion of music that is traveling between the ears of the listener. This method of music editing is often referred to these days as “8D audio,” which was popularized by Kanye Wests 808s & Heartbreak. This technique has grown significantly more popular in recent years with songs like “Slow Down Turbo by Rich Brian and “Distorted Records” by A$AP Rocky.

070 Shake begins this larger-than-life ballad with a series of meek boops and beeps that invoke the image of a robotic heart beating steadily, perhaps the heart of the figure plastered on the album’s cover. This robotic heartbeat is soon joined by a real heartbeat that pulsates at an irregular and unpredictable pace. Skipping 808 drums begin to dance around the listeners senses, indicating that the entity we are listening to in “Terminal B” has finally awakened. Synthesized harmonies glitch between the left and right channel, stimulating the thought of a rough boot-up for the entity in question. 

Finally, 070 Shake groans in a sullen, pain-filled tone perpetuated by a noticeable reverb that sends her cries for help out into the space she finds herself contained in. The phrase “I been feelin’ free in your prison” cues the pounding drums to enter, filling the sound sphere with a ripple of energy. Distorted synths heighten the grandeur of the song as 070 Shake expresses her immense confusion as to why she “can’t feel this with another.”  This too good to be true mindset is the focal point of the song, as she vocalizes her insecurities and doubts regarding this potential “lock down lover.” 

A new voice enters as the song exits its climax. At first incomprensible, this voice grows into monotone subconscious summarizing 070 Shake’s true inner feelings regarding the subject matter at hand. “I was hoping to be alone but I’ve realized at the time that I did it for you like I needed you / I needed to talk and you receive it.” Here Shake’s subconscious pleads with the unseen lover, inquiring for their affection, despite admitting to hoping to be alone. This pleading is met with no reciprocation; the music continues on.

Following this confession, 070 Shake continues the chorus, saying that she has felt this feeling before, hence the skepticism. The subconscious continues rambling on until it is suffocated by a symphony of dark, elegant strings that desperately attempt to distract the entity from its anxiety inducing train of thought. The song closes out with a set of strings gliding through a range of low tones. Dejected, 070 Shake repeats herself. “I’ve felt this once before.” The strings grow dimmer before being snuffed out completely as the song completes itself. 

This track displays Shake’s fearlessness in her production as well as the subject matter she reflects on in her music. She has set her foot in the ground and created a name of her own, no longer draped in the towering shadow of Kanye West or G.O.O.D Music Records. If Modus Vivendi is any indication of what lies ahead for 070 Shake’s career, fans and casual listeners alike are surely in for a treat.

Feature image art by Sam Spratt.

070 Shake’s new album, Modus Vivendi, is available now on streaming platforms.