Los Angeles musician Monogem has finally unveiled her newest album Gardenia, a lush collection of Spanish songs imbued with her love of sleek electro-pop that takes its cues from jazz and soul. Written entirely in Spanish, a first for Monogem the moniker under which Mexican-American Jen Hirsch creates music. Done so out of adoration for her grandmother, Hortensia, from whom Monogem first really learned Spanish and took to heart the woman’s earnest belief that her granddaughter needed to remember her roots.
Gardenia centers itself on Monogem’s journey towards growing more comfortable in her own skin as a Mexican-American woman, but it’s also about embracing what’s always been there, keeping us centered and grounded in who we are. The dreamy “Soy Lo Que Soy,” one of the album’s opening tracks, was also the first Monogem attempted to pen in Spanish and helped spurn her confidence in completing the album wholly in the language of her grandmother — whose favorite flower, a gardenia, would provide the album title.
On the synth-punctuations of the anthem “Dame La Fuerza,” Monogem finds herself more and more self-assured with who she is — singing in both English and Spanish a spirited love letter to who she is as a person. Other favorites include the Bossa Nova-tinged “Paraíso,” a warmly-swaying ballad the soothes via Monogem’s ever ethereal vocals, and “Besame Mucho,” a slow-burning, atmospherically cavernous ballad that bends bittersweetly to her elongated cries.
But Gardenia is just as much about caring the past into the future as it is about remembering and honoring it. As the album’s closing track, “Magia” brings Monogem full circle in embracing her heritage, finding the confidence and will to carry it through her and pass it on beyond her through motherhood. There is a blissfulness to Monogem’s airy croons — mirroring the weightlessness that comes with absolute surety that the next step you’re taking in life is the right one and the magic that conjures up in your life.
Listen to Monogem’s new album Gardenia below!