Get lost in the warping worlds of Maliyah’s mind on shape-shifting ‘SICK TWISTED AMORE’

The Boston-based artist's latest EP represents the contrast of darkness and light in human experiences with a sense of endurance.
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With a voice as rich as midnight and lyrics as deep as the ocean, Maliyah is a rising musician from Boston. She brings a fresh and distinctive voice to an R&B meets soul hybrid while not being afraid to defy trends to stay true to her artistic vision. Raised in North Carolina, Maliyah draws various inspirations from musical styles to cultural influences when crafting her sound. 

Maliyah has released a new R&B fusion EP, SICK TWISTED AMORE, featuring five songs that will leave you wanting more of her top-notch creation. The songs take you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as she bares her soul and dives deeply into themes of relationships, betrayal, healing, and perseverance. It represents the contrast of darkness and light in human experiences—most importantly, there is a sense of endurance, of emerging on the other side of struggles with insight and growth.

“BITTER” opens the EP with a compelling synth-driven slice of pop, a blend of soul with contemporary electronic. Shimmering pads and a pulsing beat set the scene, but her vocals draw you in. One moment, they are sultry and seductive while singing, “I didn’t know I could be so jaded,” before turning powerfully emotive as she lays her bare heart out with lines like, “I didn’t know you could be so bitter, cold like a winter.” The way the production strips down around the 50-second mark, focusing solely on distorted vocals, was a bold choice that adds depth and tension before the track smoothly builds back up. Throughout it all, the bassline anchors everything with its slippery groove, as Maliyah skillfully juxtaposes complicated emotions hidden beneath a smooth surface. This artistic contrast reveals her profound understanding of the intricacies of how we humans feel. Think of it like a cozy night in by the fire—it’s comforting and easygoing, but the crackling flames keep you engaged. Or imagine a scenic drive down the coast on a sunny afternoon—there’s a sense of calm relaxation, but the changing seascape stops you from zoning out.

Meanwhile, “SICK TWISTED AMORE” is a more intense journey with its melancholy synth melody that sets an atmospheric yet irresistible tone. Initially, before the beats enter the song, the song feels like a rainy night in a big, empty city, lights glittering in the distance as you wander alone with your thoughts. As the song picks up, with thumping beats coming in, you feel lost, deep in your feelings, on a long, lonely drive where emotions feel heightened. When the crisp beats drop, and Maliyah’s vocals enter—distorted yet steamy—the track takes on darker edges. The surprise inclusion of M11SON’s rap vocals elevates the song in unexpected ways, but his effortless flow locks perfectly into the rhythm. Their voices come together on the chanting choruses, with brooding electronics crashing all around, creating a real epic drama. Typically, when different musical components come together, it’s tricky to make them all fit. But her gloomy vocals mesh well with his hard-hitting delivery, and the juxtaposition of gorgeous pads with booming bass all come together cohesively.

Without missing a beat, “CAR SEAT (DOES NOT FIT)” sweeps listeners away on a surreal psychedelic adventure. From the opening notes, A hypnotic bassline pulls you into the track’s trance-like state. Delicate yet emotive vocals float above, both soothing and unsettling, while the synths create a swirling, constantly shapeshifting atmosphere. Layer upon layer of textured sounds blend into each other through clever distortion. It’s like the song is bending and warping your perception in the most intriguing ways. Moments of clarity and distorted sections interchange in a smooth push-pull that keeps you completely absorbed yet detached from reality. Underneath it all, an elemental electronic pulse keeps the energy level high.

“SIGNS” then brings the focus back to a deeply emotional performance as her vulnerable yet powerful vocals take center stage against a moody, ethereal backdrop. Beneath aching melodies and textures borrowed from trip-hop, Maliyah pours her heart into layers of reverb-drenched instrumentation. She sings of revelations that cast her world in a different light, of signs revealing hidden truths that alter one’s perspective. Her vocal style shifts skillfully, conveying anguish, confusion, and hard-won insight. The sparse arrangement emphasizes Maliyah’s expressive range. Without overwhelming bombastic production, she breathes life into opaque lyrics of personal turmoil. Lines like “Dangers all around/secrets found when the lights are out” suggest a relationship in which cracks are only obvious when we dig under the surface. Another hard-hitting line, “all of the signs say you’re not who I thought/I was kept in the dark about you,” conveys a betrayal of trust.

Maliyah saves one of her best performances for last on “Save Yourself” ft. BLCK. Clinking guitar chords welcome you with a mysterious aura, accompanied by a snappy bassline and rhythm that instantly gets your head moving. Maliyah’s authoritative vocals will woo you as she conveys fury, pain, and perseverance. When she sings, “You don’t know what you did to me,” her agony and angst come through clearly. Yet, beneath the rage, a fragile heart is still healing. BLCK matches her intensity, and she is performing an almost rap delivery. Lines like “I remember when I couldn’t stop crying/all because you couldn’t stop lying” cut deep, resonating long after each listen. However, uptempo music gives an empowering sense of moving forward. It shows Maliyah’s mastery of crafting songs that stick both emotionally and sonically. Together with BLCK, she closes out the EP on an anthemic high.

Maliyah shares her unflinching truth through her music that pierces your soul. In this chaotic world, her music reminds us that we all experience pain, and our resilience during turbulent times truly defines us. SICK TWISTED AMORE leaves you not just entertained but empowered to walk bravely into your own storms.  

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