Review by Emily Smith
In the past few years, some excellent R&B has hit the charts and captivated the music scene. One artist that has recently seen overwhelming success is London singer/songwriter Ella Mai. With her 2017 single “Boo’d Up” which peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and a music video that currently has over 175 million views, the song has clearly received some attention from fans and other major music acts.
“Boo’d Up” leans more in the mainstream pop direction, though some smatterings of that classic R&B sound still pervades the track. In her latest track “Trip,” however, Mai incorporates that classic sound far more effectively. The track features a classy piano laid over an R&B style beat that comes in around the chorus, which sounds like it could be taken out of the catalogue of 90s/early 2000’s R&B hits, though it doesn’t sound dated in the slightest.
The piano has a certain elegance to it that shines through the song. In the beginning, the piano helps to paint a picture of vulnerability that Mai is trying to portray in the song. In her first verse, “I put my feelings on safety/ So I don’t go shootin’ where your heart be/ ‘Cause you take the bullet tryna save me/ Then I’m left to deal with making you bleed,” she immediately lays out her fears about opening up to her love interest at the risk of hurting him somehow.
The first verse, along with many other parts of the song, details Mai’s complicated feelings about showing her emotions to the guy she loves. In the chorus, she sings, “Maybe it’s your love, it’s too good to be true/ Baby boy, your love got me tripping on you/ You know your love is big enough, make me trip up on you.” Her dilemma about showing her emotions is further complicated by how much she cares for this person, though at the same time, is somehow made easier since he is showing so much love back to her.
In the chorus, Mai also shines in her soulful vocal performance. She highlights her vulnerability through her singing while her vocals are layered flawlessly on top of each other, making this part of the song stand out. There is also some repetition with the word “trip” in the chorus, which serves to shift the listener’s focus to the rhythm and musicality of the word instead of its meaning.
“Trip” succeeds in demonstrating the amount of feeling Ella Mai is able to incorporate into her song, whether it is through her songwriting, vocals, or influences from earlier R&B hits. The track certainly deserves the amount of attention that “Boo’d Up” has received and still receives today. The multiple layers of depth that Mai carefully incorporates into her songwriting and performance is out of this world, we have no doubt this is her next chart topping hit.
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