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EP Review: Amaal - Black Dove


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After having put out three successful singles in 2011 and 2012, Amaal began to reemerge into the music scene earlier this year with the singles 'Coming & Going' and 'Not What I Thought'. Now with the release of her debut EP, Black Dove, it looks like she's here to stay.


Album Art 'Black Dove' (2019) by Sean Brown

Black Dove has a gentler sound than the singer's previous work, which carried the hard-hitting power in her voice. This earlier material mirrored the chart-topping female artists at the time, Rihanna and Adele. This drawing of inspiration from contemporary pop seems to have continued into this EP, especially in the track 'Later', which carries a similar sound to that of Ariana Grande and H.E.R., giving this project guaranteed popular appeal. 

The EP opens with a haunting undertone and the entire project exudes chilled and mellow vibes that are ideal for late night listening. Amaal expertly uses her voice to its fullest potential, layering it in order to add further depth and texture to the immersive and encompassing sound. 

'So What' is a stunning R&B tune that exudes a laidback feel led by her dominant voice and the funky, heavy beat. The interplay between these two elements, alongside the contrast between the stripped-back bridge and the rhythmic chorus, is an effective way of adding colour to her distinctive sound. 

The penultimate song, 'Protest', is a cyclical track that exudes sensual power, promoting female empowerment in a subtle and indirect way. She first released it as a single in 2017 under the title 'Scream', and the renaming of this song places a new emphasis on its meaning. She sings "put your skin on my skin, now we're making my kind of statement" and then "scream my name like a protest", illustrating the impact of the tumultuous wider social and political world onto the individual experience of personal relationships, and the need to sometimes escape it all through intimacy.

Black Dove closes with 'Every Part', an emotional piano ballad that demonstrates the frustrations with a lover. She exclaims, "I work hard for love", which is a statement that encompasses the overarching emotions portrayed throughout this project, which showcases every angle of being in love and the accompanying emotional highs and lows. The key change in 'Every Part' emulates that frustration before the song then fades out to the refrain of "every part of you", leaving us with a palpable sense of Amaal's heartache. 

This is a successful debut EP from the Somalian singer, in which she conveys the genuine feelings of intimacy and bold vulnerability that our society seems to be craving. Her music is sensuous and powerful without denying her emotions, and that is why it sounds so vital right now.

Lead image credit: Album Art 'Black Dove' (2019) by Sean Brown

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