Ilyah gorgeously fuses fine songwriting with blissfully creative and colourful soundscapes throughout this album All These Thoughts. The artist’s voice is perhaps the first thing to grab you, but in the same instance – the gentle bounce of the music, this meeting between nostalgia and now, these classically smooth vibes; everything just fits and works in the way that you’d hope effective, enjoyably soulful RnB would do. No Secrets as an opener introduces this approach and Ilyah’s sense of artistry in a brilliant way.
It’s important to note that whatever opinions you form about this album from the opening track alone, however positive they may be, are likely to be subsequently blown out of the water by the impressive creative variation that follows.
You presents an immediately uplifting, soulful and emotional piece that hits hard for its passion and power. Then after this, the good vibes and hip hop edge of You or Her adds an infectious pop angle that totally redirects things. If you listen to the lyrics throughout the collection, much of Ilyah’s writing focuses on relationships and living in the moment. Fortunately the performances and the production are of an immaculate quality so everything is permitted its rightful stage upon which to shine.
Elsewhere on the project, the single The Only One brings thorough an organic, acoustic backdrop, with a slowly building electronic smoothness, and a melody that’s delivered in a sleepy, almost whispered manner. As always, Ilyah’s leading voice is superb as a guiding light. The song’s hook hits with a subtle intensity that’s easy to remember and recognise.
100 is a creatively free piece that feels partly industrial and partly calming and ambient. There’s a touch of The Weeknd to this free-flowing style and sound. Emotional State later on feels like a classic RnB smash from a simpler time – the vocals and the acoustic guitar sound, alongside of this story-line and this mellow beat, all makes for something that’s quickly seductive and blissfully easy to embrace. Pressure follows with a similar vibe but some distant, dreamlike vocals that help create an atmospheric journey through chaos and calm intertwined. Lyrically some of the best, most striking moments manage to stand tall here.
Tina at the penultimate moment balances rap and melody well to create a mildly theatrical piece – one that moves back and forth between the heavy and the light. The details throughout this project really help keep it alive and interesting. Following this, the final song is one that offers honesty, vulnerability, softness, regret, observation – all mixed in among an acoustic backdrop and a stunning vocal performance that captivates until the very end.
Miscommunication is an important song, and a great way to go out. The intimacy and the raw nature of the sound is something many will connect with, and furthermore – it showcases at the final hurdle that Ilya is a totally versatile, passionate artist and performer; the sort that can adapt to just about any musical setting or stage. All These Thoughts is a beautifully expressive and musically satisfying album, built by an artist with an inherent ability and connection to the songs that he writes.