Our entry into the Greenzone, which sounds like a world from Sonic the Hedgehog, is ‘Feint’ which unlike Sonic, does not disappear at the speed of sound. The atmosphere feels and sounds like a descent into madness. A sense of mysticality is created through the spacial vocal harmonies and lyrical themes of mental fatigue and its impact on Greentea Peng’s perception. A repeated warning “protect your psyche” can be heard throughout the track.
Nat Powers and Jon Mills frontline a beautiful electric guitar riff in their production that standouts out throughout the track, acting as a saving grace amidst the descent into the wailing cries of joy, setting the tone and standard for much of the rest of the project.
As such, ‘Look To Him’ absolutely demolishes any anticipation, becoming a stand-out track, by its catchy bassline, genre-bending production and persistent jazz-influence through the trumpeting percussion. The doom and gloom from the opening track seems to fade as Greentea Peng becomes reminiscent of a young Erykah Badu fused with the musical technicality of The Doors – an exquisite collaboration. A beautifully clean delivery by the young singer, this track sees her at her very best.
‘Stuck in the Middle’ follows suit in the jazz influence. Greentea really proves just who she really is artistically through this track, as her vocals are pushed to limits, belting and holding notes and taking centre-stage. To put it simply, she’s in her zone.
‘Your Mind’, also produced by Nat Powers and Jon Mills, shows a canyon’s gap of a contrast in aesthetics compared to their other track ‘Feint’. An electric guitar lead drives the song forward and pushes the boundaries, as Greentea again pushes her voice and lyrical capabilities to impressive levels, as it spearheads toward subsequent track ‘Your Mind’ .
It wouldn’t be a Greentea Peng project without a spiritual track. ‘Our Father’ is just that, sounding like a spiritual séance that focuses on the artist’s introspection of her past decisions. A simple and one-track instrumental allowing the lyrics to lead and carry the song forward, it creates a concrete contrast between materialism and spiritualism. The simplicity of instrumentation versus the complexity of thought, message, and prayer. The drums open an atmosphere of a ritualistic temple worship environment and allow the message she wants to be delivered, presumably, to God.
The latter quarter of the mixtape don’t quite reach the standard that Greentea Peng had set for herself with tracks like ‘Your Mind’.
A track like ‘My Love’ was a hard listen and quite frankly a let-down compared to the level of musicality shown throughout GREENZONE 108. A droning single-note of what can be described as a drowning seagull is heard constantly, diverting the attention away from the sentimental focus of the song, as if staring at a beautiful sunset and hearing a pack of seagulls squawking. It comes across as a hodgepodge of instrumentation, distortion and effects that never quite catch, which is a shame. ‘Bun Through’ and ‘Top Steppa’, both again feel like forced additions to the mixtape.
Greentea has developed drastically in her artistic direction and ability since her last major project. GREENZONE 108 is the evidence of that; where it does fall short, it makes up for in complex compositional ballads which have you coming back for more. Greentea Peng is no doubt set to take centre-stage in the next few years; as she finds her zone, she shows a mature singer ready to take on whatever is thrown at her.