Creating a sequel that is better than the original is a cross that many artists will bear at least once in their lifetime, and Ego Ella May carries hers with grace in Fieldnotes Pt II.
Released just five months apart, May’s Fieldnotes series is a conceptual body of work that gives inner thoughts and feelings a soulful rhythm, confronting them with courage and making them easier to digest. Part I and Part II were released during the pandemic, while deadly variants were wiping out bodies and souls, and not a single artist can say that the trauma and tragedy did not inspire their creativity.
Compared to the cloudy and overcast theme of Part I, Part II adopts a lighter, more hopeful perspective on life under extreme social, psychological and romantic stress of the pandemic. Ego Ella May truly uses her art as her therapy and allows her truth and vulnerability to speak for and heal through her carefully chosen words.
May takes the listener on an imaginative journey into her hopes and dreams from start to finish. She is a structured songwriter, salaciously snaking between memorable melody and progressive harmony.
Fieldnotes Pt II is an ode to love and loss through the rhythm of neo-soul and will have you subconsciously nodding in agreement to the familiarity of her sound and relatability of her struggles.
The five tracks are five different modes of transport to aspects of her personality traits and desires. The destinations are packed with enough mystery and clarity to make the trip an amusing and satisfying experience.
The most applaudable part of this project is the pen and how Ego seems to easily find the words to describe the emotions that many of us are feeling. From the song titles to the refrain, she drew a portrait of herself and paid special attention to the parts that make her human, like finding peace in isolation and finding love being her ultimate motivation.
This body of work is meditative, and Ego leaves her heart defenseless. The self-reflection and self-awareness are infectious and is her most defining aspect as an artist.
The introduction to all of her tracks packs a punch that sets the tone and the scene for love lost and hoped for in her present and future.
“Someday I hope to be somebody’s wife” on “Beautiful Days”, and “I said I don’t write love songs, but I will tonight” on “Centred” are where Ego maps out her heart and her resilient pursuit of love in all its forms. She travels down a hopelessly romantic spiral happily until she reaches the darkness of its depths when her fall is not cushioned.
“Why do I always seem to make the same mistakes, thinking you could care for me?” on “Why” and “We wanted all the things. Ended up with nothing” on “For The Both Of Us” are inquisitive, introspective conclusions aimed at the object of her love and affection and herself.
She really makes use of emphasis in these two tracks through hypnotic harmonies and relentless refrain, as if she is truly seeking assistance to course-correct as she reflects. The fresh scars of love force her to retreat into her shell where she insists that you can “Call me anytime you want. I was lying, please don’t” on “Introvert Hotline”.
The best judge for the quality of a body of work is its replay value, and Ego Ella May’s Fieldnotes Pt II is worth smashing the replay button. The effort in this release is not just heard; it is felt and is revolutionary in its ability to help you look inward when facing intense outward pressure.
Ego Ella May’s Fieldnotes Pt II is out now, listen to it below and stream it everywhere else here.
Words by Nonjabulo Malinga