Milky Chance Benefits and Suffers From Nostalgia


German duo Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch make up pop duo Milky Chance and just dropped their third album. (Courtesy of Twitter)

When I hear Milky Chance, I can’t help but think about high school. I was a freshman when their first album “Sadnecessary” came out in 2014 and found myself constantly listening to tracks like “Stolen Dance” and “Flash Funked Mind.”

During my senior year, their second album, “Blossom,” was released. These two albums never disappeared from my playlists during the course of my teen years. Now, I have a third album to add to my library: “Mind the Moon,” which dropped on Nov. 15.

Milky Chance, which consists of the German duo of Clemens Rehbein and Philipp Dausch, first began in 2012. They are known for their combination of electronic production, acoustic guitar and range of unique vocals influenced by Bob Marley and Jack Johnson. These influences are clearly present in Milky Chance’s lighthearted, reggae-inspired songs that still have a unique flavor.

When I first listened to the album, the songs felt completely new and out of character.
For example, “Fado,” the first track, begins with a single beat, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. Each track following  presents its own unique beat to introduce the song.

At first, I felt like this was refreshingly modern for Milky Chance. However, the moment Rehbein’s vocals emerged, it became very familiar and I was taken back to my high school memories.

While the band explores new dimensions on “Mind the Moon,” with a stronger emphasis on electronic beats, Milky Chance’s signature reggae-electro, pop-folk sound persists.

Some tracks left me very nostalgic, as they recall the lightheartedness of “Blossom.” For example, the second track, “Oh Mama,” felt instantaneously sentimental, despite me having never heard it before.

Milky Chance has mastered this feeling of déjà vu, making it almost into a formula, which many of their songs seem to fit into. For example, “Stolen Dance” is one of my all time favorite songs, even though it clearly resembles many other Milky Chance tracks that contain a catchy chorus and repetitive lyrics.

Regardless, I think I was drawn into this album because of how natural and familiar each track feels. While many of the tracks flash a modern spin on a reggae sound, not a single track appears out of place. When tied together, the album creates an exceptional emotional experience.

While tracks like “The Game” make me feel light and full, “Eden’s House,” for example, does the opposite. The album tells a unique story to every listener.

As much as I love listening to Milky Chance albums, I have always wished the band would collaborate with other artists more frequently. “Sadnecessary” did not feature any collaborative tracks, and “Blossom” included only one.

I was thrilled to see three collaborations on “Mind the Moon” and especially excited to see Milky Chance collaborate with Tash Sultana on the track “Daydreaming.”

Sultana’s hit song “Jungle” has been a favorite of mine since 2016, and while I never directly associated Sultana with Milky Chance, the feature works perfectly.

According to an interview with Interview Magazine, Milky Chance hopes to continue to diversify their sound through collaborations and has hinted at working with up-and-coming female hip hop artists.

It would be interesting to see the band work with artists like Doja Cat, Lizzo or Tierra Whack, all of which currently dominate the music scene and would push Milky Chance further out of their comfort zone, allowing them to unlock even further potential.
With such unique vocals, Milky Chance’s sound is distinct from their pop competition.

However, a problem Milky Chance has faced with their music is the similarity between tracks. With the first two albums especially, each song seemed to blend into the next, with vocals that felt repetitive and uncompromising.

Lastly, why the title “Mind the Moon?” It’s about being able to see the moon from any place, at any time. While the world around us continues to change, the moon remains constant.

In a similar way, while these new tracks on the album appear modernized and technically advanced for Milky Chance, they maintain a unique and classic sound that feels genuine and authentic.

Even though Milky Chance will always evoke nostalgia for my teenage years, “Mind the Moon” proves that their sound will continue to grow as I do.