[dropcap size=big]B[/dropcap]ack in 2015, Alina Baraz graced my ears for the very first time. What a glorious day that was. Her hit track “Fantasy” renewed my faith in pop-R&B. She broke the mold. However, she didn’t do it alone. While Alina may garner most of the hype, her producer did most of the heavy lifting. Galamatias is a Danish electronic artist who helped make Baraz a rising star. Despite her reluctance to sing with power, the native Ohioan fit snugly into Galamatias’ vibrant production style. Her voice soothes any ailment. That’s a Kam guarantee. Rather than attempt to blend into the mainstream, the duo veered left, creating a genuine buzz. There was something so organic and rich about their joint EP. If you are yet to hear Urban Flora, I suggest you stop reading this and hit up YouTube. (Or click here if you’re lazy like me.) Why, you ask?
Well, honestly, because it’s way better than this one. This pains me to type. Few people were crazier about Urban Flora than I was and still am. Right from the jump, a smokey, fluid vibe kicks in. It continues throughout the entire project without growing stale. Across eight tracks, Alina Baraz sings enchanting bedroom ballads fit for a dream. Galamatias did the damn thing. Following many listens of Baraz’s debut solo EP, I see his impact. She needs dynamic production behind her. Otherwise, her pen dries upon exposure. My main gripe with The Color of You is its near-lifeless songwriting. When placed center stage, Alina’s songs lack signature touch. She doesn’t sound like everybody else necessarily. Nevertheless, many of these hooks fail to present a memorable artistic identity. I hate to be the guy who brings up the same issue in back-to-back reviews. But I have to unfortunately.
Once I saw pop singer Khalid featured twice on this project, I had my doubts. He and Baraz appear to have solid chemistry together. Hence the double feature. But goddamn, man, dude’s voice is distracting. His low, raspy yodeling gives me nightmares. I know, I know. I’m sorry. Khalid really seems like a good guy. Conversely, I’m not here to talk about his personality. I’m here to discuss his sound, which happens to be dry as hell. If Alina wishes to transcend a teenybopper audience, she’ll need to distance herself from repeating this approach. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having Khalid on a project. Be that as it may, having him on here twice is overkill. I would’ve liked to hear Baraz branch out with a different artist, considering the project’s closer “Electric” dropped awhile back. Alas, that isn’t the case. However, the artist Jada performed well.
Her additions to “The One” are beautiful. She and Baraz harmonize with crisp elegance. It’s one of the two best tracks here. My personal favorite goes to “Coming to My Senses”. This clever, sultry standout acts as The Color of You’s centerpiece both thematically and sonically. “You’re a color that don’t exist / What are you? / I hear sounds you make when my lips / Water you”. I love this hook. Although not the most intricate set of lyrics, “Coming to My Senses” reminds me of her joint EP. Yet not in a rehash or recycled manner. Despite this project’s competent opener “Fallin,” many of these tracks blend into each other with more listens. The production value withers over time, and Alina’s pen hasn’t matured enough to carry a full-length project. Putting my love for her aside, Baraz still has much to learn in the solo-sphere.
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