Armor On EP
Dawn Richard isn’t an A-list pop star. She probably boarders B or C or maybe even D. If you don’t know who she is you’re probably not alone. She’s not a new artist — Richard has been around for awhile as a member of the P. Diddy created group, Danity Kane. She’s released some solo stuff but nothing that has impacted the/my music world…until now. On her “EP” (kind of weird calling it an EP as it clocks in at 38 minutes and has 10 tracks but I’m not one to argue) Armor On the pop star puts out a cohesive and lush record, full of deep, strong and chiseled songs.
The best thing about Richard’s EP is the production. It’s off the chain. Each beat, loop, sound effect, autotune is placed in exactly the right spot. The tone this record has is borderlines night bus and the R&B star sounds like her and her team drew inspiration from someone like Burial.
The lead single “Bombs” is one of the best tracks on Armor On. Although Richard’s voice isn’t something to remember her swag combined with the sick production turn “Bombs” from an ordinary pop/R&B song into something magical. “Automatic” is another fierce standout. Richard is commanding with her vocals while beats boom and spiral throughout the track. Although “Faith” sounds like it leaned too much on Drake’s “Take Care” and borrowed from Rihanna’s “We Found Love” it still holds on. A piano riff loops over Richard chanting “You never lost faith in me.” The track then explodes with handclaps and futuristic synths electrocuting your eardrums.
“Black Lipstick” is where the production sounds most like Burial with the fast tin-can drumming and the spacey synths echoing around each other. The hook here and even the versus are killer, once again due to Richard’s powerful attitude. “Change” and “Heaven” are both amazing track full of throbbing melodies and sexy tones. The latter track sounds like 808s and Heartbreaks Kanye West had his way with it as Richard’s voice is doused in auto tone and jungle drums pound away.
Armor On does lose a little steam towards the end, however. “Scripture” isn’t terrible but when put against the other tracks on the record it cowers in fear. “Save You From Me (Remix)” is bland and forgettable but “Outro (Battle)” is somewhat of a pick-me-up and ends the EP on a decent note.
Richard’s latest effort comes out of nowhere and is a force to be reckoned with although it will most likely and unfortunately never make an impact on the charts. Nevertheless, any fan of R&B and pop should check this out and get the word around. It’s an brilliant sounding record that punches and grabs you right in the gut.
Watch the video for “Bombs” below: