MELO-X – Wake n Bake Vol. 1

You probably know Sean Rhoden, professionally known as MELO-X, from his work on Beyoncé’s Lemonade–having produced and co-written “Hold Up” and “Sorry.” More recently, he co-wrote “Move” on Bey’s 2022 album Renaissance, and provided background vocals. He also put out a phenomenal collaborative album with frequent collaborator Jesse Boykins III back in 2012, and a string of singles a few years ago as half of Electric Punanny—a duo with Jasmine Solano. His latest release, Wake n Bake Vol. 1, is his first substantial solo effort since 2015’s Curate EP, following two bootleg remix EPs he released for free during the pandemic (one of all Adele songs, the other more Beyoncé).

Wake n Bake is not a reference to weed, at least not overtly. It’s meant as a directive to listeners to meet the dawn with intention and purpose—whether through mediation, cooking, or other forms of creation. The music itself speaks to that purpose. All nine songs on the record are instrumental, and purely contemplative in spirit. It reads more like a thoughtful, near-ambient beat tape than an album or mixtape, with each song—most under 2 minutes—functioning like a vignette to soundtrack a piece of a healthy morning routine. “Rise n Shine” (Sunrise Demo) is the moment when your eyes open and you hear the dulcet tones of birds and beach; “Green BABA Riddim” is rolling over to see your loved one; “Papi Cooks the Best Breakfast” is for just that; “Happy Smiles Take 1” is meditative digestion.

Wake n Bake‘s aesthetic is all potions, satin sheets, cinnamon leaf tea, and bammy cake; its message is all about nurturing self-love. For someone like me who’s scraping through a two-year-old’s sleep regression, the record feels deeply aspirational, if perhaps totally out of reach. I can only pine for enough sleep to have the occasional peaceful morning; and self-care for me right now is finding an hour every night to pay bills. But notwithstanding the dissonance between my own life and the tone of this record, these songs have a beautifully healing quality that manages to reverberate even over here in the land of a toddler’s fire and brimstone. I recommend this record for anyone who needs a reprieve from that kind of chaos, and to those who simply need a reminder of how valuable a peaceful morning can be.

To listen to the record, I recommend purchasing it directly from Melo’s website, but you can also grab it on bandcamp, or stream it on the usual outlets.

MELO-X – “Rise n Shine” (Sunrise demo) (bc)

MELO-X – “Green BABA Riddim” (bc)

MELO-X – “Papi Cooks the Best Breakfast” (bc)

MELO-X – “Happy Smiles Take 1” (bc)


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