To all the heartbreakees’s out there, fear not, Arizonan R&B songstress Kina Lede has just dropped her highly anticipated sophomore EP “Myself” – and it’s a remarkable introspection on how to deal with those all-too-familiar breakup woes!
The 22-year-old’s six-track release comes complete with bouncy hip-hop bops, overwhelming 808’s and heart-wrenching guitar melodies – over which she lyrically navigates emotional turmoil, depression and an eventual “letting go” of the victimization we sometimes feel when faced with experiences of unrequited love.
Myself opens with “Can I”, a catchy and vulnerable R&B banger centered around Lede’s touching account of the mixed emotions inherent of letting a past-lover go. In the opening verse of the track, Lede sings “made a mistake/ I keep it straight with you/ I wasn’t capable of keeping away from you”. Continuing, “I can’t even flex/ cause not even time/ and not even lies/could take me away from you”.
Encompassing, on “Can I”, – over an infectious beat, composed of plucked synthesized guitar melodies, echoey 808 bass-drums and a trilling hi-hat – Lede’s voice serves as the standout sonic element -predominantly in the chorus – as she utilizes soul-wrenching harmonies to relent, “I would like to see you, can I?/Need to find a way to your body, oh yeah/Maybe I’m out of line, out my mind”.
“Shawty” perfectly preludes “Can I” – written by Lede and Mike Woods – the heartfelt ballad is comprised of dissonant EDM-inspired melodies in the verses, and a pop-y, atmospheric acoustic guitar accompaniment in the chorus.
In carrying on the overarching story of Myself, on this track, Lede expresses that she will always care for her ex-lover, whilst she simultaneously gains an understanding that she needs to take a step back from the relationship and just breathe. In the chorus, her glorious falsetto rings out in a call-and-repeat harmony – “We, need some time, get it right, but you know that I’ll always/Be, be your *shawty for life, even when you ain’t next to/Me.”
Next, is the hip-hop-leaning “Bouncin” – a flirty party anthem that highlights Lede’s tenacity as a songwriter. Bouncin’ encapsulates the feeling of getting back out there after a break-up; within the lyrical wordplay Lede cheekily telling her new-fling at the club – “I know that I ain’t trippin‘/can’t live without it/bounce, then, I’ll take you to my house and/I’ll show you all around it/Yeah, we could keep it bouncin‘!
Complete with suggestive innuendo – and an assist from the Migo’s Offset, “Who agreed to collaborate on the track almost immediately after Lede sent it to him” – Bouncin’ is a soundtrack to new-beginnings and summertime; an instant hit that is both youthful and melodious.
The latter tracks on the EP – “If You Hate Me” and “Heavy”-, conceptually take a darker turn, as Lede becomes increasingly introspective on the repressed emotions felt during the process of the heartbreak detailed in “Can I” and “Shawty”.
On the beautifully constructed bridge of “If You Hate Me”, – using a trembling vocal – Lede laments “waitin‘ for a while, starin‘ at the wall/ waitin‘ for the words to come, words to come out/ callin‘ it out”, before stating in the glorious refrain, “It’s okay if you hate me/ ’cause I’m only tryna think about you, baby/It’s okay, if you angry/ ’cause we don’t deserve all the sh*t we’ve been takin’”.
It’s a vulnerable and honest reflection on those negative emotions that come to the surface after a breakup, all wrapped in a neat R&B ballad. The subsequent track continues this line of self-reflection, as Lede admits her fears associated with moving on; stating that the breakup has left her feeling “Heavy”.
Myself ends on a light-hearted note with “EX” – a soothing R&B soliloquy on which Lede expresses the sentiment that she’s having “trouble cutting ties” with her ex-lover. Emotively outlining her hang-ups about still wanting that person both physically and emotionally, Lede admits “I don’t wanna be your ex/ we’re way too good at being friends/can we still hang out? /on the low, get wild? – as the reality of the separation sets in.
Ensuing, on the chorus she continues, “I don’t gotta be in love with you, to love you/I don’t wanna be your, /so don’t treat me like your, / Ex”. “EX” acts as a fitting resolve to the emotional roller coaster the EP takes us on; encapsulating and highlighting the bitter-sweet nature of losing the affections of someone you care about.
Ubiquitously, Myself is conceptually driven by the ideology that when faced with an emotional crisis, it’s okay to be vulnerable and look inwards, whilst keeping in mind that you are the most important person in your life – and that how you feel is always valid. Kiana Lede’s many talents are given the chance to glisten’ on ‘Myself”, and with immense replay value, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a good cry at worst, and a wild night in with a dreamy rebound at best.
Listen to the EP here: