On her latest EP, 41-10, Queensbridge songbird Ilham delivers a range of songs that speak to her potential as a future star. Throughout the seven-track EP, Ilham switches up her delivery, her beats and her subject matter, all in an effort to find and perfect her sound.
Practice makes perfect, so they say, and likewise, experimentation makes for an exciting offering in the music world. That said, not all experiments go as planned, but as long as you take notes, all ends well.
We could say the same about Ilham’s latest effort with 41-10. From start to finish, Ilham shows her potential and puts together several great tracks. Songs like the EP opener “Suppress,” for example, employ a warped and warbled instrumental which frames Ilham’s airy voice as she ponders love. And while “Suppress” is an exciting and dynamic track with a moody atmosphere, songs like “How You Feel Now,” and “Free” miss the mark.
It’s not to say that “How You Feel Now” or “Free” are terrible, but more so that they underutilize what makes Ilham shine. These tracks are unnecessarily poppy for her voice, and the lyrics come across as a bit cheesy. Still, though, it’s important to experiment. As a young artist, Ilham gains in framing Ilham’s airy voice as she ponders love nothing if she doesn’t attempt to break out of her box, so even though these tracks aren’t great, it’s a positive step.
Other than the above transgressions, the remainder of 41-10 is a solid piece of moody R&B. “Stuck In The Past” is a winner that doubles down both on Ilham’s incredible range and her chillwave aesthetic, making it the best out of the bunch. Meanwhile “Say Less” goes for a Rap/R&B combo that underutilizes her vocals but still comes across as a catchy and well-done tune. Not to mention, she can flow. Well done, lady.
Speaking on the direction of the project, Ilham says, “This whole project was just me expressing a whirlwind of emotions that I've experienced at different periods of my life or that I've watched others experience. It's a journey from darkness into the light that it gets better at the end. But still, it ends with "We'll Be Alright," which shows signs of hope. It's pretty much a seven-song reflection on how life is.”
Overall, 41-10 is a strong effort from a young artist looking to improve her craft. Mix and mastered by BeatsbyLevi and produced by Sid Jain, NiBones, and DJ Skills, respectively, 41-10 has its moments. The casual listener will likely jump to the conclusion of “she sounds just like Jhene Aiko!!!!” but to do so would be missing the complexities that lie beyond that comparison. Yes, she has a similar singing style, but songs like “Suppress” and “Stuck In The Past” show off an impressive range and a willingness to play with her sound. Hard to say what will come of Ilham down the road, but if she keeps up the attitude of experimentation, there’s no reason her future won’t be bright.
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