It’s amazing to think that so many of the songs you hear in the charts are actually written by someone you’ve never heard of and never seen. Behind the scene these song makers produce some of the biggest selling hits and watch as someone else stands in the limelight and performs their music. But every now and again one of these talented people decide to come out of the shadows and try to take the industry by storm on their own; one of those is Mikky Ekko. Previously helping pen hits such as Rhianna’s Stay, Mikky is now releasing his own record entitled Time, but does it manage to impress without the star names behind it?
First single Smile is our first taste of solo Mikky, and it’s a good place to start. Sweet and innocent, it talks about the human condition in the 21st century, bouncing along in a pleasing manner before kicking into a dance-tinged chorus. Lyrically the track features a mix of the upbeat and the downtrodden, kind of like putting life into a glass half-full or glass half empty scenario.
In fact, this theme is an overall message in the album; Mikky seems obsessed with the ticking clock, and not just experiencing the good, but also the bad before your time on this planet runs out. Album-titled track Time balances on the tightrope of relationships as Mikky sings of love forever with a kind of Coldplay meets Fun vibe, whereas Burning Doves is cleverly written and sees the singer worrying about being ‘too young to die today’.
But underneath his obsession with making the most of life, Mikky shows off his ability of writing a great pop tune. Love You Crazy is testament to this; with its ridiculously catchy melody, it sounds like something that could have been gifted to Justin Timberlake in the tail end of the 90s. On the one hand this is a good thing, but on the other you could argue that when comparisons are made so easily to other artists, Mikky might still be stuck in the mode of someone who’s songs suit others rather than finding his own voice.
He does, however, manage to break out and find himself in places. U is a soulful ballad with breaks and snaps pushing the song along with its hypnotizing take on life, and Pull Me Down shows off Mikky’s work with Hip-Hop producers, set against pretty lyrics and a message of love. Riot is also worth a mention, managing to break up the record nicely by venturing into rock, and again showcasing the writers past by being able to write for any genre.
Time is an interesting contrast of experiences and a good listen. It’s an artist trying to break out on his own and an impressive feat for a debut album. If Mikky can just shake off the lingering residue of thinking of others when he writes, the world is his oyster.