4AM Mulholland and After 4AM are dark and daring meditations on love, lust, and relationships.
After nine years, singer-songwriter Amerie returns with two daring hip-hop/R&B albums, which include production from Animal, Ricky Boom, and Mathew “Moz” Jenkins.
Writing and recording both albums while pregnant with her first child (indeed, she even sat for her album photoshoot while seven months pregnant), Amerie recalls the creative process for her new albums:
“The need to create without distraction was urgent, almost compulsive.” The lack of clothing in her photos? “I couldn’t be bothered to decide what to wear.”
Instead, her creative energy was directed at crafting the hypnotic sound of her new project, which was divided into two albums for the purpose of sonic cohesion. “I think of an album, in general, as a score to one movie. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s what I usually go for, and these two albums are the closest I’ve gotten to that sense of cohesion since my first. After 4AM is a bit softer-edged, a bit boppier, than 4AM Mulholland.”
Amerie’s usual musical markers are present: there are the lush, weaving harmonies and unorthodox vocal arrangements that have been part of her music since her debut; there is her second-natured way of riding a hip-hop beat, which this time around, is laced with trance-y trap. But also ever-present is auto-tune, which is employed to hypnotically soothing results. “Some people detest auto-tune, but I love it. It’s an instrument to play with other instruments, including one’s voice, and it really made the creative process interesting and new.”