British Nigerian singer and songwriter MYM, has released her EP, LightLife, which is a blend of pop and, perhaps, more ambient genres, plus some elements from rock music. The South East Londoner had this to say about her new project:
“In my latest project ‘LightLife’ My sound plays with 70’s and 80’s style electronic synths an warm ambient pads/strings which travel throughout ‘LightLife’ every track has elements of nostalgia traveling though decades of musical influence but also channeling sounds from back home in Nigeria which is more prominent in the last track of the EP, layers of harmonies and live percussion”.
“With intense seductive vocals and lyrics which exudes a longing for love to hard hitting lyrics in the title track ‘LightLife’ which simply say no more bad love which then transforms into more affirmative vocals and lyrics of self love and acceptance as the EP deepens. My music is an evolution of me, a discovery of self, going from longing to belonging”.
MYM’s LightLife EP, which was released on Monday, May 30, features a single cameo, that from rapper, Mr Wood, on its title track. The opener, “Who Are You”, is spaced out and triumphant, with strings coming to herald pounding drums. The vocals are sultry and sleepy, very calming.
There’s a tinkling in the background as if, indeed, the track is being broadcast from outer space. A wall of soothing backing vocals gives the track almost like a subtle wall of noise. Melody, rather. A middle section of sorts has another element in the background, like sound effects mimicking the roar of a giant lizard, its steps those aforementioned pounding drums.
Speaking of pounding, in comes “Find My Love”, with moody bass syncopated with heartbeat drums. It’s definitely a stomper of a track, a potential dancefloor filler. There appears, with the chorus, to be a reprisal of the space transmission from the track previous.
The vocals are still rich, though a tad more imploring than the sleepy tones on the opening track. Really interesting is the middle section, the bass breaking from that incessant head nodding groove dictated by those drums, making to be nice and colourful. A guitar solo follows in the closing moments.
Title track “LightLife” has a cool, retro, perhaps Eighties inflected, feel to it. You wonder if this track is a play on nightlife, as if to imply fun can be found at the weekend, even when handling your substances in moderation, taking it light. Mr Wood, the only cameo on the EP, provides a rap that perhaps helps cement the aforementioned speculated intention of the track. His flow is light hearted and carefree.
“Bye” sounds between earnest singer songwriter and the soul of gospel. It then builds into a moody piece. It has a driving bassline that propels the song ever forward. Her vocals soar, not belting out but flying gracefully over the instrumental.
The EP ends with “Yeah Yeah”. This has an addictive mix of grooving bass and vocals that urge the spirit skywards, or just general happiness. An element of dynamics comes into play, the bass fills out punctuated silence, if only briefly. The middle section sees the vocals take more centre stage, and when they come to crescendo, the bass breaks out for some busy, satisfying riffs. Percussion, of the beach variety, sees out the track.
The EP definitely has a variety of sounds, yet, at the same time, manages to carry elements from the very start, and onwards. So you’ve got a variety of genres, generally speaking, throughout, making it quite progressive; yet there are recurring thematics that manage to straddle the line between repetitive and artfully repetitive.
For instance, “Who Are You”, has that tinkling broadcast from outer space; and “Find My Love” has the reprised space transmission. The latter also has the satisfying pounding feet and guttural roar of what could be a Godzilla. Okay, maybe that’s a flight of fancy, but the imagination was already in overdrive with the previous, spacy elements.
What’s also artful is the exploration of what is, perhaps, the theme of the album. “LightLife”, the title track, with its Eighties feel backdrop and light hearted, carefree raps courtesy of Mr Wood, maybe harks back to a more innocent time from all those years ago. With that interpretation, what’s going on here’s so refreshing, amidst a generation renowned, maybe unfairly in MYM’s case, for substance abuse, both legal and illegal, and its general binge culture.
“Bye”, on the other hand, had a bit more of a live instrumentation feel to it, with that driving bass. Rocking out with a contemporary feel, and that clash of singer songwriter acoustic, with gospel aspects actually doesn’t collide at all. Doesn’t work on paper, but does in real life, kind of thing.
It’s not just the last track, “Yeah Yeah”, with some welcome bass guitar, though with this one, it breaks out of its more rhythmic duties, really breaking free and letting loose. It’s rhythmic duties, as said, on the other hand, are fulfilled with aplomb in “Find My Love”, really moody and groovy. Despite its mostly demoted role in that respect, compared to the closer, it actually figures out as the highlight song of the album, and if there’s any justice at all it will gain decent rotation in the clubs to get people moving.
MYM ticks all the boxes genre wise. Sometimes you think the mash of genres will collide, sometimes you think you’ve heard something you’ve already listened to in a track previous. Regardless, it all figures for some interesting listening.
Words by Andrew Watson