Musiq Soulchild was one of the biggest faces in the neo-soul movement of the early-2000s. His soaring falsetto and straight to the heart compositions on tracks like “Love” and “Don’t Change” defined soul music for the era. And now that the sound of music has changed, Musiq has adopted alter egos to adapt.
Now releasing music independently under his own Soul Star Music Company, Soulchild is using alter-egos as a means for serving different musical stylings. The first was The Husel, a rapper, with the release of a self-titled, auto-tune heavy mixtapelast year. His newest persona Purple Wondaluv is a singer that is all about faith, courage, and growth. If you don’t fall in love with Purple Wondaluv, no worries; the singer is already in the studio working on a new Musiq Soulchild album. However, his new release The Eternal Peace EP, an uncharacteristically inspirational opus and triumph of instrumentation, is something you should definitely open your ears for.
The seven track set fully explores the “peace and love” side of Soulchild. The opener “Time Is Now” could fit squarely on a Sade album. It has that feel, from the melancholy electric guitar to a simple drum beat. This provides a blank canvas for Musiq to paint an intricate picture, punctuated with stacked melodies and airy falsetto. And then the chorus flips things a bit, taking a more Bob Marley reggae inspired turn.
The progressive “Faith Your Fears” is a collision of upbeat and midtempo elements that, once again, showcases his falsetto. The encouraging song emphatically claims that “whatever you are scared of is just an illusion” and if you “faith your fears you can make it all go away.”
Other standouts include “You Can Change,” a jazzy empowerment song set against piano and guitar that boasts a Stevie Wonder inspired chorus, and “Live Your Love,” a musical play on the “Girl From Ipanema” where Musiq infuses s bit of soul in to the Spanish guitar led standard.
Across the board, you’ll find worldly instrumentation, stimulating and honest lyrics, and a focused effort to blend the vocal and instrumental elements. This is most evident on “Words Are Free,” where the track’s mastering makes Musiq’s voice take a backseat to the music. His voice is relegated to a hollow echo, perfect for a fully immersive audio experience.
The EP is an intersection of many things, almost bohemian, almost soul, and almost worldly. But above all else, it is a fount of inspiration, aspiration, and encouragement.