Amaal has officially released her 6-track debut project Black Dove.
Without a doubt, 2019 has been the biggest year of Somali-Canadian singer Amaal’s career, and this project is the metaphorical “icing on the cake” which solidifies this.
The first track is a very smooth intro that sets the tone of the project and what is to come. “Let Go” cleverly relays the theme of freedom; a theme which Amaal made clear was central to the concept of Black Dove. The most standout feature from this track is the unique approach to the music engineering in conjunction with her vocals. The subtle lowpasses, digitization, and reverb, trade in the usual raw unfiltered approach — which Amaal is known to utilize — and implements a very textured sonic experience. Not to say that Amaal’s usual approach is not brilliant on its own, however, it is very intelligible for Amaal to experiment with a new style for the intro to her new project.
The second track — “Not What I Thought” — is one of two previously released singles. This track effectively demonstrates Amaal’s vocal range and power to create a song with little help from much besides her voice. Our full review for this song can be found here.
Where “Not What I Thought” excelled in showcasing Amaal’s talent as a soloist, “So What” shows Amaal’s power with numerous other incorporated sonic entities. This demonstration of both talents provides a good set of contrast on the EP. “So What” is the third song and most effectively represents the harmony present in this project. This is done through the birds chirping in the introduction of the song and the wide range of background vocals which are incorporated throughout the peaks of the song. The relevance of this song in Black Dove is to show the power that Amaal’s voice can have in unison with other voices and sounds alike. Furthermore, it physically incorporates the figurative nature imagery, creating something as tangible as it is metaphorical. It is also important to note that, in collaboration with Red Bull Music, Amaal released a live performance of this song which definitely should be checked out.
“Later” is easily the most standout track from this project. The first listen of the song reveals a ballad that perfectly transitions from slow song to dance-inducing melody. The kick of the drum drop and switch of vocal style/harmony provides the listener with an experience like none other. The second and third listens, however, attentively reveal the song’s true meaning. Rather than attempting to explain the entirety of the song’s thematic nature in words, it is best to watch the Kat Webber directed visual here. The video, shot on 16mm film, is definitely Amaal and Kat’s best work yet — a bar which we previously thought could not have been broken after the “Coming and Going” video. The video also makes special recognition to organization F.E.A.T, for which more information can be found here.
The fifth track — “Coming and Going” — is nothing short of a creative masterpiece, and our full review for the song can be found here.
The outro comes in the form of “Scream”. This is a previously released single which somehow perfectly fits into its place in Black Dove. The familiarity of this song — which resonates with her core fan base — provides a nostalgia inducing outro that ends on a very strong and positive note. Furthermore, new fans of Amaal are in for a song which explores Amaal’s cadence like never seen before.
Speaking on the inspiration behind Black Dove, Amaal shared, “this EP represents the me that I was afraid to talk about. The me that I kept hidden out of fear of judgment. For the longest time I’ve put on this front of what a strong woman represents and what it means to me. But as I’ve maneuvered through my womanhood alongside other women going through similar things I realized true strength is in breaking down to rebuild. Showing vulnerability and being real about adversity. Getting in front of your fears and allowing yourself to grow regardless of the outcome. Black dove to me means freedom. Freedom from my own captivity. Freedom from the shackles society and I have placed on myself. The freedom of no longer committing a disservice to myself and owning every part of me.”
All in all, it is hard to contest that Amaal released one of the best projects of 2019. It is hard to find a certain aspect where Amaal did not deliver, and therefore, Black Dove is a strongly recommended listen.
Check out Black Dove here.