RILEY EP Review
We all know her name, Amber Riley, but now her stage name RILEY gives off a presence we haven’t seen before.
She’s one of the many vocalists we’ve all grown up watching over hit show Glee, and as she’s grown into her stardom many wondered when she would break out from under the ‘school girl’ persona. But through her latest EP RILEY, she delves vocally, lyrically into the woman that she’s always been, but most weren’t conscious too.
This EP starts off with, BGE. And well, hello sis! Big Girl Energy screams self-assurance living, breathing in one’s power accepting every flaw, and embracing it. She also measures accountability within her growth, channeling struggles of being who she is but also rising above all the adversities put before her.
“You gotta love this masterpiece, You gotta love every part of me.”
Because this EP begins with such vulnerability, Temporary, follows up with her slowly breaking down her guard. Because of this newfound confidence from BGE, RILEY knows exactly what she deserves, and isn’t willing to accept anything less, especially in love.
But it’s also a love letter to herself, understanding that past traumas may rule her but she can’t accept anything than the love she gives to herself. Vocally Riley’s range is unmatched, and this is the performance we’ve been waiting for.
She pushes boundaries in this song tuning into the pain that has been flustering for a while, using her voice to carry this journey.
And as it sets the tone for the rest of the EP, we get a soft dance break with Creeping. Giving us a new perspective on “hooking up” culture. But this time it’s on the women’s terms.
It changes the standards putting the power in her shoes, making sure that she sets her boundaries for an open relationship. But she uses psychedelic undertones, using her lyrics to tell the story. She is a natural storyteller, and it’s something all women alike can relate too.
“You’ll kill we know it, you got me glowing
[?] when you’re on me, oh
But I can’t be bothered, I got my options
I’m keeping them open”
Riley then flips the script with her follow up song Ride. Rhythmically it’ll get you off your feet, ready to dance the night away with your future lover. And her lyrics acknowledge her strength of being so comfortable and stable in her own life, she can take care of her significant.
She’s trying to be a pillow for his thoughts, where she chooses to give and not take.
Her feature with BJ the Chicago Kid, Hood Living, is a vibe that brings you back to the early 2000’s. A simple beat, lyrics take you to another reality, and provides you with a feel-good ambiance after you listen.
But what is most disheartening with a feature like this, as a listener even though the song was full with details and messages, I just wish it was longer. Two minutes and thirty-seven seconds isn’t enough with these two vocal powerhouses.
Riley closes out her EP with A Moment. This is the song that most would expect from her, and that’s what ties this entire project perfectly together. She doesn’t hold back channeling her faith; it’s real, raw and personal.
In a time with such loss, especially after losing her close friend Naya Rivera in early July of this year, there was a much needed cycle for rediscovery. And this song takes you through this journey with her.
Because of this vulnerability, we learn the growth Riley has made by using her life experiences to give us a real conception of learning loss and finding faith. She was vulnerable enough to bring her listeners along this journey with her.
Madison Hunt is an aspiring music journalist from Washington DC. Her love for music started at a young age, having played the percussion since the fourth grade, music has always been a huge part of her life. She has an extensive resume writing for local publications within the metropolitan area. Her hopes are to highlight the potential of the DMV music market, as well as, create impactful stories surrounding the progression of the music industry. She specializes in covering neo-soul events and musicians. Some of her favorite musicians include Lauryn Hill, India Arie, SZA, John Legend, Musiq Soulchild, and more.