|Album Review: Arin Ray - Phases II|
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Arin Ray is the embodiment of quintessential R&B and his new EP Phases II holds that to be true. The Cincinnati-bred singer came onto the scene in 2012 on the hit show X-Factor. Considered to be the protégé of Britney Spears, his success would be cut short. This minor setback would not stop the multitalented artist from breaking into the industry. With a lot of hard work and chance opportunities, Ray would eventually pen songs for artists like Nicki Minaj, John Legend, Rick Ross, and Young Thug.
In 2018, he dropped his first full-length album Platinum Fire which included fan favs "Communication" and "Reckless". After a very short hiatus, Arin Ray released his newest project Phases II on December 13, 2019.
Phases II is the follow-up to Ray's 2016 EP debut, Phases. Filled with futuristic-soul production, Ray's voice is mature and versatile on all 5 tracks. The 16-minute project follows the many confusing yet passionate stages of love.
While each song functions as a milestone down lover's lane, the composition sets the experience in reverse. Sleepless nights and no resolve, Ray pines over what sounds like unrequited love on the opener "ZZZ".
The only feature on Phases II comes from Kehlani on "Changes". The track subtly samples 90s R&B group 112's "Only You", while Ray's cadence matches that of lead singer Slim. On "The Get Down", Ray comes to life over rhythmic drums and soulful synths. This song is a standout and would get even the shyest wallflower on the dance floor. Phases II comes to a sexy and seductive end on "A Seat" – a lovely play on well…you know.
Typically, a 16-minute project would leave most listeners wanting more, but Arin Ray successfully composed an EP that doesn't sound like a blend of interludes. Hopefully, Phases II is just a seat-warmer for another fire full-length album.