British R&B artist Rainy Milo made quite the splash with her debut album This Thing Of Ours when it was released overseas last year. Now thanks to the people at independent record label Big Picnic Records, American audiences finally get to learn what Milo’s fans around the world already know. What they know is that as this album shows, she could very well be part of the future of the genre. With a vocal style very similar to that of Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse, and songs that largely defy the musical and lyrical trappings of R&B songs churned out by American artists, Milo shows that given the right support, she could soon become a household name not just in her home country and abroad but here in the United States, too. Considering how much enjoyment her album offers listeners, and that it was already released last year overseas, it is safe to say that This Thing Of Ours is one of this year’s best re-issues.
Rainy Milo’s debut album This Thing Of Ours is one of this year’s best re-issues. The album, which was originally released overseas via Virgin/EMI last year and domestically in the U.S. this spring via Big Picnic Records, is the antithesis of nearly every R&B song dominating mainstream radio today. There is no talk of sex to be heard at any point on this record. And the standard oh-woe-is-my style songs that are just as much of a favorite among American R&B artists are nearly non-existent. Instead of taking that path far too often taken by other artists within her genre, Milo carves out her own path with this record. That is evident right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Are You Sure.’ Examining its musical content, audiences that are worn out from all of the constant club-ready run-of-the-mill R&B songs soaked in sex and synthesizers will especially enjoy this song. Rather than be one of those cookie cutter songs that are all too familiar on Top 40 radio stations across America, Milo uses a more stripped-down approach with the song’s musical content. It relies more on beats than on the synthesizers and other overly used elements used by so many American R&B artists. The song’s lyrical content makes it stand out just as much as its musical content. Looking at its lyrics, Milo comes across as expressing the cautious optimism and joy felt by so many at the start of any relationship. She sings, “You gave me something yesterday/I saw I wouldn’t lose it/I swore I’d hold on tightly/But then/I started to lose grip/Yes I lost it/As I always overthink.” She goes on later in the song to ask in the song’s chorus “Are you really sure you want to take this farther?” From there she continues on questioning herself as if she is ready to keep going not because of the guy but because of herself. This is a situation in which so many people have found themselves at different points of their own relationships. To that extent, it is easy for audiences to relate to the song. In terms of its musical content, that it presents an upbeat vibe instead of a more overly emotional sound (which so many artists would do in a song such as this) makes it even more impressive. The combination of both elements within this song alone go to show quite clearly both why ‘Are You Sure’ was chosen as the album’s opener and why it is just one example of what makes This Thing Of Ours such an impressive R&B record.
‘Are You Sure’ is a solid example of what makes TTO stand out so strongly from the R&B crowd. That is thanks both to its musical and lyrical content. Both elements stray from the norm of most American R&B songs musically and lyrically. The result of this is that it establishes the song as a solid opener for Milo’s album and establishes just as much that the identity of her album in whole. It is just one point at which TTOO establishes its identity apart from other R&B acts. The album’s title track builds the album’s identity just as much as its opener. Examining its musical content, yet again, it relies more on beats than electronics. The resultant effect is something of a hip-hop/R&B hybrid that will most certainly grab listeners’ ears if only for that content. Audiences can hear that sound for themselves online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfJXFZczyqE. Looking at the song’s lyrical content, it stands out just as starkly in this avenue, too. It comes across as a piece about a woman who is wrapped up in a man who really seems the wrong one for her. That argument can be made as she sings, “Shiny tears on a porcelain face/Tight lipped/Wished you luck for your case/She says just don’t get caught for me/You end up in a clink/Then where will I be/Lonely/Don’t leave me lonely/He says you know you shouldn’t doubt me/I got my ways/I’m always lucky/Lonely/You won’t be lonely.” Men and women alike know of men just like the one portrayed here. He is headstrong and overly confident. As the song’s companion video shows, that sort of figure never turns out well whether by himself or with another. And he didn’t turn out too well with Milo’s subject in this song. The video does a good job of interpreting Milo’s lyrics. Getting back on subject, the combination of the song’s lyrical and musical content sets piece apart from other mainstream R&B songs even more than the elements do on their own. It isn’t another song about a breakup or even lost love. Rather it comes across as a song about a strong woman who just made a bad choice and got wrapped up with the wrong guy; a guy that is all too familiar to many listeners. On the surface it comes across just like so many other songs out there. But it is the execution of the song that makes it stand apart. There are few if any R&B songs out there that take the route taken by Milo. Because of this it makes this song and TTOO in whole stand out even more in the R&B crowd.
Both ‘Are You Sure’ and ‘This Thing Of Ours’ show in their own way just how much Rainy Milo stands out from the rest of the R&B crop on her debut album. They are just two examples of what makes her and her album stand out. The album’s closer, ‘Bankrobber’ is one more example (and an interesting one at that) of just how much she and her album stand out. Milo sings in this song about a person whose father was apparently a bank robber. She sings, “Daddy was a bank robber/But he never hurt nobody/He just loved to live that way/And he loved to take your money.” Just like as in the case of ‘This Thing of Ours,’ this song plays out lyrically like something right out of a movie. The difference here is that this song comes across as a tribute to the subject’s father. In his or her own eyes, the father figure noted here might have been a criminal in the eyes of most but despite that he was still a good-hearted person with a good heart. The song’s musical backing, with its guitar riff and keyboard line, sounds like something that Eminem might use for one of his songs. That alone makes it well worth the listen. considering that few if any R&B artists today use such an avenue for their music it makes this song stand out even more. It could even be argued that it stands out even more than any of the other tracks on this record. Regardless of which one of the album’s songs stands out the most, it can be said that all three of the works noted here all stand out in their own way as do the rest of the album’s works not noted here. All said, TTOO proves from beginning to end to be an album that stands out completely from nearly every other R&B album out there today. While it may not necessarily be a new album in the purest sense of the word, it is still new for most American audiences. To that point, it can be said of TTOO that it is one of the best of the year’s music re-issue.
This Thing Of Ours proves through the course of its ten tracks and forty-minutes to be an album that is one of the best of the year’s re-issues. That is proved both through the songs noted here and through those not noted. That is because the songs presented on this record break every standard used in today’s mainstream R&B realm. Add in a vocal style from Milo that hints at both Erykah Badu and Amy Winehouse, and listeners get an album that every R&B and hip-hop fan should hear. It is an album that were it a new, first-ever release, would be one of the year’s best new albums overall. Even being a re-issue, the combination of Milo’s standout vocals and the album’s equally stand-out songs makes TTOO one of the best of the year’s re-issues. It is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/this-thing-of-ours/id981822983. More information on TTOO is available online now along with Milo’s latest news at:
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