UMI - Forest in the City Music Album Reviews

UMI - Forest in the City Music Album Reviews
On her full-length debut, the R&B singer expands her musicality and lyrical confidence. The album is ambitious in its scope even as it treads the oft-wandered territories.

Tierra Umi Wilson has been preparing for her close-up. Her 2021 EP Introspection Reimagined was, at first glance, a premature step by a new artist—a revisitation of her 2020 EP Introspection, where she was accompanied by a live band. A re-do felt like unnecessary filler in a still nascent career, but UMI wanted her listeners to experience the stages of her artistic maturation in practice—to see the constant shifts in real time. On her debut album, Forest in the City, her expanded musicality and lyrical confidence make it clear what comes to fruition when an artist’s development is central to their position as an entertainer. Her influences—Erykah Badu, Brandy, SZA—are obvious without falling into mimicry, and her growth is both exciting and compelling.

Spanning 15 songs, the album is ambitious in its scope even as it treads the oft-wandered territories of self-discovery, stifling lethargy, and complicated relationship dynamics. On the standout tracks, slivers of truth meld into fictional songwriting just enough for listeners to catch her reflection. “I wanna be happy with my own path/I wanna be good to the friends that I have” she sings on “sorry,” her syncopated oohs and ahhs holding the lyrics in a soft frame. “I wanna be a stoner with my own pad/I wanna be cool with my motherfuckin’ dad.” The vibe is chill while still being very real, an atmosphere that permeates the record. “too late” grapples with the circumstances of revealing too much too soon in a relationship, while “moonlit room” deals with the complicated longing that comes after separation. On the latter’s chorus UMI delivers her lines with rapid-fire control and clarity, projecting ambivalence while still feeling sentimental.

Similar to her 2020 EP, UMI wrote all of the songs on Forest in the City. While producers Logiksmind and Psymun appear both here and on her last project, she takes a stronger hold of the reins and pushes her sound in a more dynamic direction. On “wish that i could” she experiments with heavier bass and an electronic twist to her voice that’s been stretched to achieve a danceable but still steady lilt. And there’s plenty of summer jam potential on “what would you do,” a song for those pleasantly buzzed club nights. As she deliberates taking a lover home or simply chilling alone, her vibe is cocky and assured, a departure from the earnest ballads of her earlier work. In this space, she’s nonchalant about the dating game, observing its monotonous routine and predicting the eventual outcome—meeting, hanging out, someone leaving, someone staying, and repeat.

Halfway through the album, the length starts to feel like a weight; some tracks feel padded on without a discernible purpose. Singles like “whatever u like” and “birds eye view” are pleasant but forgettable—her layered harmonizing on each shows the ease with which UMI can coast over a beat, but we also hear her pen at its most uninspired. “everything will be alright” has UMI starting off in Japanese before switching to English, signaling the ways she effortlessly moves from one to the other, and masking the labor it takes to express yourself with equal insight and power in multiple languages. But the track feels obligatory and tailor-made to punctuate fleeting captions about living your best life.

Even so, she pulls us right back into her orbit with “lost and found” which builds off all the facets that shape her art: intimacy, reflections, minimal production. UMI has a subtle, slow-building voice, one that can fool you into thinking you can play it in the background while you go about your day. But then you hear a revealing lyric and catch a sweeping note that commandeers your attention. On Forest in the City, UMI makes the case that we are all our own forests moving through cycles of growth and decay. She has been learning about herself while sinking into her music, and this new chapter shows an artist who will not be rushed—who’s ready to be seen because she’s done the heavy lifting.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
UMI - Forest in the City Music Album Reviews UMI - Forest in the City Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on June 07, 2022 Rating: 5


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