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Soul and R&B artist NAHLI’s five-track debut, Therapy [Side A], is certainly an interesting release. From the get-go, NAHLI deals with tangible themes of toxic love, detailing accounts of anguish and heartbreak throughout.
Opening the EP on ‘Relapse’, the story unfolds with a moody vocal and a mid-tempo rhythmic instrumental. Heavy bass and soulful keys are present as NAHLI kick-starts the narrative. The vocals are gentle, punching into the vibe effortlessly. NAHLI mixes high notes with the rap-style verses. The narrative follows a dilemma—whether or not to meet with an ex. A downtempo instrumental achingly plays on the question, while a sense of strength tries to fight its way through. It’s an excellent introduction to NAHLI’s music.
‘Daddy Issues’ is a jazz-infused track with bass riffs empowering a bumpy vibe. There is a similar catchy bassline that deepens in this track with groovy bass, a funky edge, and keys. The jazz beat, urban-edged harmonies, and electronic elements blend well with the fast-paced lyrics.
“’Daddy Issues’ is a really sore one for me. I’ve always had a bit of an odd relationship with my Dad which had a knock on effect on my future relationships and I accepted way too much bullshit.” — NAHLI
Following on, ‘F.Y.M. [Fxck You More]’, reveals lost feelings and intimacy, thus striking a chord with the listener. It opens with a plucky guitar, letting the vocals smoothly shine through. It’s a vulnerable addition to the EP as NAHLI bares all. One line that stood out was, “If I still have a piece of you, you got me too,” and I think many can relate to this devastating feeling.
‘Blake’ is full of longing, drenched with heartache as NAHLI’s confessional lyrics bring the EP’s storyline to a new level. With an urban beat and soaring strings, this track fits perfectly on Therapy [Side A]. The moody melodies and lyrics bring emotion to the track, as NAHLI sings, “I lose, I lose, cos there’s nothing I can do, if I lose you too,” flicking between heady high notes and softly spoken tones.
Closing the EP is ‘Mama’s Boy’. This is a fiery ending to the story, dealing with unwelcome memories of a past love. It’s because of the uncensored feelings that this track really stands out on the record. Specifically, the instrumental plays a big part, with distorted synths and strings accompanying sleek harmonies. Lyrics like, “Why did I believe that you’d fight and die for me? We almost had a baby,” offer a wonderful contrast against contemporary beats.
On this last track, autotune and manipulated vocals add something different, really highlighting NAHLI’s dedication to her music and the story. In the end, it symbolises a resounding sense of acceptance in finality.
Throughout the pop-soul EP, the mood of love and heartbreak is front and centre from beginning to end. These themes, above all else, dominate the storyline atop pounding urban beats. NAHLI really brings the listener on an emotional journey with her across Therapy [Side A].
This body of work dives deep into NAHLI’s personal experiences, documenting raw accounts of past relationships that will be relatable and tug on the listener’s heartstrings. Furthermore, the confessional accounts of this particular story will help people in similar situations. She says, “Time heals all wounds. This EP healed mine.”
Overall, it’s a powerful debut from NAHLI—and a wonderful introduction to her music. There’s certainly more to come from her. She’s set to feature on projects with Professor Green and Sigma in the near future.