By Vaughn Postema
Ms. Maliq, I hear your beautiful tone as you wail, whine and croon over acoustic melodies and production that nods to some past greats. I enjoy when music reminds me of the past, while simultaneously demanding attention to the present. Maliq helps the listener maintain this balance in several songs: Letter to My Life (which gives way to some Lauryn Hill inspired production), Another Chance (gives me a Chaka Khan “Sweet Thing” feel), and Letter to my Life (gives a humble nod to Tupac… ‘I was built to grow through the mutha lovin concrete’). Yes, Tupac (‘I was built to grow through the mutha lovin concrete’ vs ‘The Rose that Grew from Concrete’ Yeah. You get it.) Let’s not forget that Soul and Hip Hop are distant/not so distant cousins in the music world.
Chaquis Maliq tosses gems in each one of her songs. It’s up to you to pick them up, cherish them and, above all, use them. Don’t Matter is a classic ‘embrace the haters’ jam. “Stop hatin’ on my skin tones” “I don’t matter to you, that’s alright.” Tired of Being relates to the harsh realities of realization: “Fooled by your charm. Sound the alarm. Stole my heart. Took it apart!” Vessel is Chaquis defining her role to the masses: “That’s what I’m here for…to take away the pain through my strings, melodies… To give the people wings.” I find these types of tracks to be necessary for the soul singer. If you are going to sing on behalf of the soul, then you had better touch on topics that the soul is all too familiar with. Good job, Chaquis.
Imagine this: you are sitting down with a bowl of your favorite dessert. We are going to go with Peach Cobbler, because, well, it’s magical! Now, back to the bowl. Oh yeah that peach cobbler is looking right! I pick up that fantastic fork and break through the perfect crust, pierce the tender peaches and levitate the contents into my mouth and lean back in my seat so that I can really LIVE in the moment. After about two bites, I go in for a third because THIS. IS. THE. BITE! I go in for my gooey reward and my mom scoops up the bowl and says, “That’s it!” That’s it. No more cobbler. No more beautiful taste!
This is how I felt for every song that was under two minutes on this album.
You can’t just take us on this beautiful vocal journey during a song like Vessel, No More or Tired of Being and just cut us off. There are refrains to experience and bridges to be heard! I’m over here waiting for the refrain of my life and the song is over. Chaquis, these songs need more development. These pieces have so much potential to be dynamic characters in this album.
Now that you get the premise of my likes and dislikes, let’s get into a track that gets the “Song Stuck in My Head” award: Tired of Being.
After several listens, I finally respect the art in this song. I found difficulty, initially, liking the song due to the whining technique used; however, I could not get this song out of my head! The tempo change is comfortably uncomfortable and that makes for an excellent imitation of the ups and downs that come with realizing that you are being treated less than your worth. Chaquis Maliq succeeds at pinpointing the very thoughts that roam through a person’s head as they come to terms with enough being enough. For me, Tired of Being went from being an instant skip to an instant hit!
Overall, I found Resilience Eludes Death to be a satisfying concept with a dissatisfying abruptness. Yes, I have to mention that again. What can I say? I want more! The songs I mentioned earlier were so good that I didn’t want to let go. I hope to hear more from Ms. Maliq and I am sure, that with her ear for a good melody, her live performances would be worth the experience.
Until next time, Charleston…
Keep the volume, and your spirit, way up!