Strong stuff from Izzy Malik here…for someone who’s kind of questioning her abilities somewhat in the lyrics of the opening track “Beautiful Mistake,” she sure comes out confidently on this new EP, Fire. Have you ever run into that ultra-confident person that just KNOWS they’re awesome? Right – we all have. Izzy Malik isn’t that person…that confidence is consistently building around her as she ventures further into her career & music and you can tell she has humble personality through her lyrics.
There are solid songs here on the Fire EP. For the most part, Izzy sticks to her own and really puts out her own unique talents & qualities through these songs. Certain leanings in sound reveal some influences that have no doubt helped shaped her sound as she was starting to write and refine her own music. Comparisons to artists like Rihanna and Lana Del Rey are going to naturally occur one the opening two tracks…and so it begins…
“Beautiful Mistake” has that low-end Rihanna-ness to it all…it’s a minimalist beat that really requires Izzy Malik to step-up immediately and basically carry an entire song with the melody she’s creating through her voice alone. The music is truly sparse…there’s not much going on at ALL…and this incredible performance is nailing it for me right away. It’s auto-tuned to all-hell but those that follow me know I’m a sucker for that done right…and it IS done right here. Izzy has completely created the melody necessary to drive this song to new heights through her beautifully altered voice and she uses it as expertly as a guitar player can play a guitar. She’s put her voice in as an instrument…and it works excellently.
“Heroin” is a great song…but I also happen to like pretty much everything by Lana Del Rey…so this one gets a little tough. It borrows an incredible amount from her hit “Blue Jeans” indirectly, not in sound so much as pattern itself. Normally…that’s not going to be too much of an issue as most vocal-flows are still going to feature lyrics that are different enough to make it their own. Izzy takes a very big risk here by not only creating a similar atmosphere in the music, but also the lyrical content as well. Dipping into the dark shouldn’t be exclusive territory either…but the combination, in my opinion, is way too close to what has been done. “Heroin” is a great song as well…again, I’m of the mindset that if you like that mood and atmosphere you can find in Del Ray’s music, you’re bound to like this too…it’s more of a sound you know you love and Izzy pulls it off well.
Though the opening of “Kiss Me, Kill Me” has that pulse & rhythm that is warm & familiar like “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, Izzy manages to separate herself enough from that rhythm to make this one her own. She really is walking a fine line…I like what she’s doing for the most part, but it sounds like a struggle to find the real identity of this artist on this particular time out. A couple things I thought needed a little improvement on “Kiss Me, Kill Me;” one being the pre-chorus…I know the idea is to approach this chilled out and somewhat apathetic for this beat but it almost works against her with slightly nasal tones ringing through more clearly than her sweet & beautiful ones at times within this track. My other beef is that this one perhaps relies a little too much on the hook of the chorus-lyrics. I’m just trying to imagine hitting the stage with this one…it’s not like musicians haven’t set themselves up this way accidentally before; she has a solid hook here there’s no question…but the sheer amount of repetition on that one line could very well drive her insane if it catches on and Izzy ends up performing that night after night.
She reminds me somewhat of a version of Owl City in the following syrupy-sweet song “Living In Reality.” Izzy has a very sincere way of bringing back these inviting & familiar tones to the speakers – even this song sounds somewhat familiar to me but it really is just a part of the charm of her music. Even though “Living In Reality” is more about heartbreak than anything else, she manages to sing it with contrasting & hopeful tones…there’s a little more of an 80’s rock-ballad style to this one hidden underneath…it’s all very big sounding and you can hear her rise up to the challenge of the chorus. AND…she just went ahead and did it…it HAPPENED…there’s a verified shout-out to Dawson’s Creek in this song…how can you NOT love that?
The final title-track starts out with that familiar Rihanna style once again, like somehow that lady hit-maker cornered the market on the word “Hey” somehow…
For a moment I worried a little that I was going to get through this full EP without uncovering the REAL Izzy Malik by the end…but I think she managed to break loose a little outside of the verse of this final track…I’m not saying we get a LOT of the real Izzy, but I think we do get a little in this final cut. She hits this chorus of the album’s title-track “Fire” with absolute perfection – I think she just nails this part with a massive amount of emotional impact and really lets loose the skill she has within her vocal delivery. Compared to the verse where she sounds almost a little restrained from her full 100%, she makes an incredible comeback into a truly fantastic and beautiful chorus to leave us all wanting more where that came from.
It’s a great start, but I’d expect as this artist continues to gain the confidence needed to define her style completely we’re going to hear the best music from Izzy Malik in a future not too far away at all.
Find out more about Izzy Malik at her Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/theizzymalik
Jer@SBS – http://sleepingbagstudios.ca/