Based upon the five singles issued prior to ‘The Transition of Mali,’ all indication suggest Mali Music has an excellent album on his hands.
Gospel/R&B artist Mali Music returns with his second secular album, The Transition of Mali. The Transition of Mali arrives three years after his first R&B project, Mali Is…. Comprised of 12 songs, five singles arrived prior to the album: “Gonna Be Alright,” “Loved by You” (featuring Jazmine Sullivan), “Still,” “Contradiction” (featuring Jhené Aiko), and “My Life.” Now the question is, what do the five singles issue prior to The Transition of Mali say about the quality of the album?
Single No. 1: “Contradiction,” featuring Jhéne Aiko
“Contradiction” originally appears from the Chi-Raq soundtrack (2015). What’s the premise of the single? Essentially, two exes address each other on their respective verses. Mali Music gives his perspective on the first verse, while Jhené Aiko offers the female perspective on the second. In the end, neither is devastated because they’re broken up, but leave the door open to reconcile. At first, “Contradiction” comes off a bit clunky. After a couple of listens, the magic is unveiled.
Single No. 2: “Gonna Be Alright”
“Gonna Be Alright” is a spiritual song about the power of faith and love. It opens energetically with a tongue-n-cheek, jazzy sound. This turns out to be only temporary, before the track and production establishes itself. The record has that old-school sensibility with the dusty, soulful drums and the prominent upright piano sound. The best way to characterize “Gonna Be Alright” is good vibes. Mali Music has a well-written, overall well-rounded song on his hands.
Single No. 3: “Still”
“Still” is soulful, with a dash of gospel sensibility. This sensibility is achieved thanks to the harmonic scheme and the piano specifically. Additionally, the use of strings is lovely. The pace is nice and relaxed, with Mali Music never getting into a rush. The record speaks on the power of love. Throughout its course, Mali Music delivers a capable vocal performance. That vocal performance includes superb falsetto, excellent grit in his chest voice, and most importantly, singing with incredible authenticity. This is yet another asset to The Transition of Mali.
Single No. 4: “My Life”
My Life” features solid production work, incorporating both R&B and hip-hop cues. The song commences in quirky fashion, with Mali Music sort of speaking, quasi-rapping, and then employing his singing voice. Soon enough, the listener understands the direction Mali is going in. The modus operandi of “My Life” appears to be spiritual health, a prevalent topic in Mali’s music. Ultimately, “My Life” is an excellent example of a secular song with positive, transcendent messaging.
Single No. 5: “Loved by You,” featuring Jazmine Sullivan
“Loved by You” opens with strings, giving off a throwback, soulful sound. Further adding to the vintage quality is the meter, 6/8. There’s a laziness about the song – it never rushes, thriving at its deliberate pace. Expectedly, overall, the production work is brilliant, anchored by a robust bass line. Given the artistic sensibilities of Mali Music, this is a match made in heaven. As for Sullivan, she thrives in her lower register, flexing her incredibly underrated contralto pipes. All in all, the fifth and final pre-release from The Transition of Mali is another winner.
Quoting the final thoughts from the track review of “Loved by You”:
“With five of the twelve songs from the album reviewed, it seems unlikely that Mali Music has anything other than a gem on his hands.”
Essentially, The Transition of Mali will be disappointing if it’s not the excellent effort its singles foreshadow it to be.