I’ve always come to expect the unexpected when hearing new music. Just a few months ago I was telling someone that I was not a big fan of modern R&B. There just wasn’t much out there that was interesting to me. But, as with most modern music, the best stuff is not on the radio. The best stuff is not overhyped and overplayed. You have to search for it. And sure enough when I was given music from Malynda Hale, I found a really talented, way under-the-radar artist with great material and a passion that a lot of mainstream artists lack.
Malynda Hale, based in New York City, by way of Southern California, has just released her debut record, The Train Ride Home. It’s a powerful yet catchy blend of songs, ranging from straight up R&B to more singer-songwriter inspired pieces. There’s a deep undercurrent of pop throughout, but not the bubble gum stuff that infests the radio. Rather, a more organic approach to the genre really pushed this collection of music out of the “been there, heard that” paradigm for me.
The album starts off with “City Lights.” Hale comes out strong vocally, and is buoyed along with a stellar chorus. Hale has a strong melodic sense. Other winning tracks include “Fallin” and “Another World.” The one real standout track is “Only You,” showcasing Hale’s vocal ability and songwriting.
The Train Ride Home is an impressive debut. Not everything clicks, but there are far more keepers than not on the record. It’s also nice hearing a collection of tunes with the right amount of production, not overly layered and compressed to death.
Hale has also started racking up live performances. Upcoming shows include July 25 at the Cafe Cordiale in Sherman Oaks, CA and September 25 at the Elbow Room in Chicago.