“Nisemono – EP” by Ginger Root; Project Review

An honest review of group Ginger Root’s latest extended-play album with a mixture of jazz, funk, soul, and alternative musical elements.


The photo is a screenshot from the official “Loneliness” music video, where Cameron Lew (Ginger Root) performs a song that quitting artist Kimiko is originally supposed to sing. “The year is 1983, Ginger Root is asked to write and produce songs for up-and-coming Japanese Idol, Kimimo Takeguchi. Right before Kimiko’s America Debut, she quits, leaving her manager to make the last minute decision of having Ginger Root perform in her place since he knows all the songs,” Genius contributor Tappeh and gingerrootmusic.com said. “By coincidence, a new star is born.”

Noel Castillo, Features Editor

Nisemono means “fraud” or “fake” in Japanese. Tying in with the theme of the songs, the title refers to imposter syndrome, anxiety and the loneliness of growing up in an overwhelming and fast-paced life. The juxtaposition of Cameron Lew’s far-sounding voice and overly poppy instrumental elements that work to hide his unsure tone combined with the old-timey aesthetics make for an amusing if not relatable experience.


This track is only the intro, named after the quitting up-and-coming artist who Ginger Root is replacing on her debut(in the project’s narrative). It runs for a little longer than a minute and has a nice, calm sound to it with who I presume to be Kimiko  talking in Japanese in the background.


“Well, no one told me when would things get real
Just walk on by and whisper, “What’s your deal?”
Oh wow, it’s now at half past two (So soon?)
‘Cuz the time gets quicker
How to stand the wait
To stop and change your pace”

Loneliness is the first single that did a great job at teasing what the other songs would sound like. It is the most popular track and for good reason. The tune can easily get stuck in your head for days on end; the chorus is super catchy and Lew sings about the uncomfortable feeling of being lonely in a seemingly lighthearted way. It’s a good reference point for what’s to come on the rest of the project.

Holy Hell

“With or without
I’m trying to pick a sidе
Deep in my doubts
I’d be passing twenty-five
Well, holy hell
Trying not to think how it felt now”

This song is one of my personal least favorites because it sounds a little too similar to Loneliness, especially during the chorus. It doesn’t help that it comes right after it in the tracklist. If it were placed later in the tracklist, it would be more effective at mirroring Loneliness. However, it still does a good job at communicating the doubts associated with turning 25 and realizing a big portion of your life has already passed.

Over the Hill

“So, it’s on
The feeling’s gone and moving
Time is only mine to steal
Working on what is real
Found my song
Sang it wrong, no fooling
Warming up to all my chills
Thinking I’m over the hill”

This track was the second single released before the EP’s release date of September 9. It is my thrid favorite after Nisemono and Loneliness and the second most popular due to being more publicized and accessible than some of the others. The mini-revelations that “time is only mine to steal” and that Ginger Root has “found [their] song” pair well with the idea that everyone thinks everyone else is insane, or “over the hill.” I really recommend listening to this one and Nisemono above others because of how good they manage to sound while telling pretty simple stories that manages to capture some profound emotions of the heart.


“Take one step back
And change your mind
All the fake and fraud inside
No one can seek
No one can hide”

The title track of this mini-album does not disappoint. It is my favorite because of the distorted-sounding ending and has a message anyone can relate to about not feeling comfortable in your skin, feeling out of place or just plain feeling like a fraud.

Everything’s Alright (Meet You in the Galaxy Ending Theme)

“Maybe it’s all my friends
Runnin’ round with nothing for a while
Maybe it’s self-defense
Jumping out of what’s called single file
Maybe it’s happiness
Now that I’ve been safe and sound, oh, wow”

I really like the full title of this song; it’s a nice farewell and conclusion to the project. I’d rank this above Holy Hell and below Loneliness, but it’s still a top-tier song with amazing progressions and simple, yet gut-wrenching lyrics having to do with learning to stop conforming with everyone else’s ideals and figuring out what truly makes you happy. According to Genius, this song was leaked early “when Ginger Root posted a picture of what the vinyl would look like on his Instagram.”

My official ranking:

  1. Nisemono
  2. Over the Hill
  3. Loneliness
  4. Everything’s Alright
  5. Holy Hell
  6. Kimiko

Overall, I’d heavily recommend this project to anyone, especially if you’re looking for new artists to get into belonging to this newer, retro-alternative soul music genre a lot of artists are falling into recently. It amazes me how upbeat Lew manages to sound in many of his songs in general, all while talking about subjects like mental health that are important to him and a lot of people.