I think it’s fair to say that most people know Alina Baraz best from her collab album with Galimatias, Urban Flora, and the standout track Fantasy. Not that she’s been inactive over the past three years; she’s done collabs with a lot of artists–including Ta-ku and Ray Bandz–but she’s been a little less visible for solo work.
That changed about a month ago when she released her latest project.
If you liked Urban Flora then you will more than likely go for this. The biggest difference is more the style of beats that are used. Urban Flora had those deep house cuts that made the songs float in a way that is very similar to R&B but had that undercurrent of EDM appeal that makes the genre work in the way it does. This EP is much more in the R&B department in terms of sounds and only has one song that breaks out of the somewhat down-tempo pace of the album to go mid-tempo and bring the energy up about halfway through. This isn’t really a big issue for fans as they are used to this sound from her, but those going into this looking for that quintessential bop might be disappointed.
The vocals are nicely dynamic considering Baraz’s normal style of singing. She tends to go for the soft, mellifluous delivery style which gives her songs both a soothing a seductive sound. For the most part she goes for that here, but on a couple of songs (like I Don’t Even Know Why Though and The One) she drops a little something extra for the choruses in terms of attitude and pointed style that makes those sections stand out against other parts of the song. The One has her coming in with a little addition strength as well to better match featured artist Jada’s tone. It opens the gate for her to brings us a more in the future as well keeping this set from sounding too one-note.
The inclusion of Khalid on two separate tracks is an interesting one. On one hand, they have an interesting compliment in sound to one another in terms of cadence and Khalid tends to sound better when he has another person to play off of on a song. On the other hand…he feels somewhat unneeded on both tracks. At least for Floating, you can somewhat understand why that might have be better as a duet, but Electric would have been more dynamic with just Baraz’s vocals and adding in a male backing vocalist for the bridges. In either case, though, he doesn’t seem to add much in terms of dimension to either.
The lyrics are solid and give a something more to the good sounds than just empty platitudes. There are few cliches here and there, but there is some interesting phrasing as well and the earnestness of the vocals helps them be delivered in a good way. The words have poetic feel at times but never goes overboard, making for something that feels unique to the artist without being obtuse the audience.
This is a good listen and one that will sneak up on you with just how good it is. We have now listened to this eagerly a few times over the past couple of days and it never gets old. I we think most people will find at least one track to love in this and find the entire project to be a great moodmaker.
Our favorite tracks are Coming To My Senses, The One, and I Don’t Even Know Why Though. The most skippable track is Fallin due to the repetition of the chorus for such an extended part of the runtime.