Tkay Maidza’s new EP Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 is out now.
Upon a quick glance at the title of Tkay Maidza’s latest effort, one would be led to suppose that its release was scheduled to arrive somewhere in 2021, considering the myriad of questionable events that have taken (and continue to take) place in the current year. For the Zimbabwean Australian artist, however, 2019 proved to be a year weird enough for the album to come to life. As such came forth Tkay Maidza’s sophomore album and coincidentally best work to date, rightfully entitled Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2.
Building upon the structurally-sound foundation of her preceding work, Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 presents itself as a Tkay’s natural expansion and much appreciated improvement on all perceptible fronts. The immersive blend of harmonies at play here is wonderfully represented through a careful game of mixing and matching that takes inspiration from pop, neo-soul, hip-hop, dance music, and so much more, ultimately creating a soundtrack ripe with catchy hooks, addictive melodies, and all-around excellent vocal performances throughout.
While the album doesn’t necessarily shift any boundaries, it most certainly does make good use of what ground has already been established by other contemporary artists in the field and Tkay Maidza herself. As a result, Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 often displays traits that reminisce in the work of its peers but, through Tkay’s own unique spin and keen eye for experimentation, draws all of it to higher ground.
Whether you prefer the empowering opener that is ‘My Flowers’ along with its funky percussion segments and strong message of self-worth or are more into the rhapsodic beauty and emotionally-charged verses of the record’s closer ‘Don’t Call Me Again’, Last Year Was Weird, Vol. 2 is a mood-profuse rollercoaster that holds its consistency all the way through. Other tracks such as ‘Shook’ and ‘Awake’ showcase Tkay’s versatility as the charming and soothing vocal performances previously mentioned are in turn abandoned in favour of a bolder version of Tkay that, while making good use of the hard-hitting instrumentals (and superb JPEGMAFIA’s feature on the latter track), delivers without pulling any punches. The production in the record is also worth mentioning. Dan Farber’s solid contribution ensures that all the intertwining components in play are nice and even.
Perhaps the only downside to Tkay’s most recent venture is that of its briefness. Clocking in at around 25 minutes, one cannot help but wish that this record, being the joyride that it indubitably is, would go on for just a while longer. Regardless, and though this constitutes a substantial improvement on previous endeavours, there is still room enough left for further experimentation. Whereas the quality of the project is undeniable, it does feel like Tkay Maidza’s sound is not yet fully representative of her true potential and prowess. It’s not something that ultimately disrupts the enjoyment found in the record, but adding a little more personal flair to this already brilliant formula may very well go a long way in the young artist’s future.