Best New Music: Ilaye’s “Fix” captures the warmth of reassurance

Modern-day relationships are a minefield of complications, and even when you skip through the savage conditions to find someone who’s worth it, the fear of impermanence is what threatens to unravel things. Anyone who has been in a healthy, worthwhile relationship, knows the integral role verbal reassurance plays, as it serves as a constant reminder of the affection, convey a willingness to consistently commit, and validate the other person’s feelings when they are exchanged.

On her first single of the year, “Fix”, our Fresh Meat pick last month, Ilaye captures the warmth of reassuring of someone about your love for them, and always wanting to be with them. There’s a common saying that actions speak louder than words, and as much as actions are highly prized in relationships, words carry their own weight as well. This is something Ilaye illustrates in her new song, using the lived-in, first-person approach she’s increasingly masters in her impressive catalogue.

While we’ve heard a lot of what she’s saying on “Fix” before, the masterstroke is in how Ilaye’s writing communicates these blue-eyed feelings without making it sound like mindless devotion – a balance that sometimes eludes romantic afropop songs by women. “Some days I miss you so much, it hurts when I take a breath/If I ever broke your trust, don’t think I could ever forgive myself,” she sings on the first, embracing trusted tropes singers have used in expressing how much a romantic partner means.

What she doesn’t do is romanticise the idea of unconditional love, acknowledging the fact that you can only truly reassure someone who is equally present and committed. On the chorus, Ilaye sings, “Just hold my love tight, just hold my love right,” matching her own willingness with a desire for reciprocity. In its resonant way, “Fix” speaks to the interiority of relationships and how the two people involved are the main determinants of how hot the flame keeps burning.

On “Fix”, Ilaye works with frequent collaborator and fellow NATIVE Fresh Meat alum, Sir Bastien, and the outcome is proof of their near-telepathic synergy. Treading together major key piano chords, submerged bass guitar riff, sweeping strings and languid percussion, Sir Bastien provides a bright, yet measured soundscape for Ilaye’s radiant voice to glow, echoing the honesty in every line and emphasising the delicateness of her melody.

In a brilliant sonic twist, a bouncy 808 bass drops mid-way through the second verse, and Ilaye contracts her cadence into a slinky rap-sung melody without disrupting the song’s flow. This brief contemporary r&b switch is the closest Ilaye has come to co-opting modish trends, resulting in one of her more accessible and catchy songs.

“Fix” continues to expand Ilaye’s potential range, and it’s also plainly one of the most interesting love songs from this year.

Listen to “Fix” here.

Featured Image Credits: Instagram/Ilayemusic

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