• Tue, Apr 23, 2024

Mali References Her Own Artist Lore On Her Latest Single

Jun 22, 04:38pm

You all have heard ‘Walk Away’ before in so many contexts. Not this one, though.

When we occasionally go and find out what Chennai/Mumbai singer-songwriter Mali is up to, she’s usually in the middle of a yearly release or a tour. Obviously most of you have heard her stuff or seen her at Lollapalooza earlier this year or one of any number of festivals/gigs in the years before, so her musical identity does not need any more exposition. Her new single ‘Walk Away’ is yet another thing you’ve heard multiple times, so it’s not actually new at all. It’s now available in glorious modern studio quality, though. Which is good.

If you’ve been to a Mali gig, you know exactly how ‘Walk Away’ goes. It’s a primarily acoustic classic indie-pop ballad that has one of India’s most singalong-friendly hooks. It was written ten years ago, and it does still play to ‘older’ (meaning ‘younger’) feelings of unrequited love and the like. At its skeleton, it’s a simple tune; good chords, relatable tone and a strong melody. All that stuff is still around on the studio version, but the treatment has an unmistakably modern flavour. It’s 2023; rap is the new emo, and pop is the new folk. So in this incarnation, Mali goes for a more brooding, bleak sort of presentation. There is a plodding, very ‘weighted’ drum groove. There’s metric tons of ambience (mostly from synth and electric guitar) that has a nocturnal quality to it. There’s an outro that has the song increasing in volume but almost going even more into its shell. These are very contemporary ideas, and they do an interesting job of reframing what is now an older sort of composition in a fresh way. It’s almost like how every big-budget movie has some reimagined version of a classic song in its soundtrack. Except, of course, those are usually beyond pathetic; Mali and co. do a much better job with the source material. Probably because it was hers to begin with.


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