2012 was a turning point for Angel Haze. She began racking up hits on her SoundCloud thanks to her quick-fire rap covers and freestyles, and the summer saw the release of ‘New York‘. Blisteringly brutal, the lyrics were violent and the the beat was belligerently slick. Unfortunately, new single ‘Echelon (It’s My Way)’ suggests that 2013 isn’t such a good year.
The single – which received its world premiere on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio One show yesterday evening – falls far below the standard that she set with her releases last year. The production from Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire, Coldplay) is uninteresting with hazy synths and a quick drum machine beat. Melodically it is also rather odd, with a strange key change between the verses and chorus, and a questionable flurry of what sounds like a mandolin splashed here and there which sounds like it’s just been chucked in to try and make the track a bit less beige.
The track does showcase Haze’s singing ability as she provides backing vocals during the chorus, but even the message of her lyrics seems to have gone downhill. On ‘New York’ she rapped about violence and being in charge of the city. It was insulting and it was threatening, which was stereotypical of the genre, but had a sense of underground grunge to it. The message of ‘Echelon (It’s My Way)’ tries to emulate ‘New York’ by making it clear she’s in charge, but saying it as eloquently as “on the upper echelon” doesn’t quite match the badass persona she has tried to create for herslf. Elsewhere in the song she’s obsessing over girls who look like Mary Kate & Ashley, and singing a chorus about fashion week. What happened?
Unfortunately ‘Echelon (It’s My Way)’ fails to match her previous hard-hitting sound. Disregarding her other music, it’s not a particularly bad track, but it’s just not cut out to be a single. Perhaps the track written by Sia and the music produced by Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen, Tegan & Sara) which will feature on her album will prove to be more inspiring.
‘Echelon (It’s My Way)’ is taken from Angel Haze’s debut album Dirty Gold due out in early 2014.