Another R&B mixtape review – I’m starting to feel like I’m crossing over from hardcore hip-hop head into lover of anything sexy and soulful! Any Minute Now is the first free release from West London based singer-songwriter Angel following his OMA nominated E.P 7 Minutes Before Time.
The opener, Are You Good featuring producer Mark Asari, is musically reminiscent of the 1980s – my musical guilty pleasure (don’t get me started on Chaka Khan). It is only a few moments later that I realise the beat has been taken from Heavy D & The Boyz’s 1989 hit Is It Good To You. I love the vintage feel to this song and the minimal backing track gives Angel a real chance to show off his smooth, soulful vocals. The lyrics are traditional, focussing on the topic of a love interest, but the main focus is the voice.
The following track, Fire, sounds a world away from the first, opening with an acoustic guitar and a recording of a voicemail from a girl telling Angel how much she misses him. The track is far edgier than the first, and much more ‘2012’. The slight autotuned effect in the chorus adds to this more modern effect. The lyrics offer a more intimate look into Angel’s viewpoint; he talks about his love for the Bee Gees and Giggs, and he uses both humour and romance to attempt to steer the object of his affection round to his way of thinking.
Handle It follows and I am instantly reminded of American R&B singer Trey Songz, both vocally and musically. Again, the topic is love and relationships. The following track, Mirror, is a look into the deeper issues Angel has experienced in his life and his love for his parents. The track is emotional and haunting.
Next is Parallel Paradise, a very slightly altered cover of Coldplay’s 2011 hit Paradise. As a listener I enjoyed hearing this version because I like the song, but I was left slightly unimpressed by the lack of personality and inventiveness from Angel himself. Apart from the addition of the word ‘parallel’ (which makes little sense to me but maybe I’m missing something), I wasn’t completely convinced that this should have made the final cut.
The Most Beautiful Girl in the World comes after the interesting skit, Piece of Everything. This is a live cover of Prince’s track of the original name. Despite being less than impressed with the Paradise cover, I prefer this one – perhaps because it is live Angel’s personality and emotion is able to come through more so than the previous track. There is no production and it is very raw, which is sometimes much nicer to hear. The guitar music is beautiful as well, but I would notice that being a guitarist myself! I’m loving Angel’s live voice, especially when it touches falsetto.
With just three tracks to go I really want to hear something amazing, and luckily Tokin Grade pulls through. The beat is very original sounding, especially with the melodies that Angel is offering us over the track. We Know Better is emotional and touching, and the lyrics are rather thought provoking. I like the surprise of the electric guitar heard after the first chorus, but other than that the beat is fairly simplistic and Angel’s vocals take main stage.
The closing track, Man Down, is a different take on Rihanna’s song of the same name. Ironically, the opening and closing tracks are my two favourites from the mixtape, as I feel that they are the strongest and show off his vocal skills as well as his lyrical ability.
Overall I have enjoyed Any Minute Now to an extent, although I feel that the mixtape lacks originality. The range of beats is a good point, though, and Angel definitely has a voice and strong lyrical ability that will take him far. I will listen to future releases with an open mind.
The talented songwriter and vocalist who previous successful collaborations include Sneakbo and Giggs.
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