Following the release of his spring EP, Archives 1, and a string of eclectic singles, Korean soloist MRSHLL is back with six new love-filled tracks. His latest record, [XYZ], is a timeless nod to the iconic sounds of the 90s and 2000s era, which MRSHLL holds dearly to his heart. With a few special guests on the EP, he’s ready to show the world why he is forever R&B.
Really flippin proud of this one. My new 6-song EP, [XYZ] is out now on all major streaming platforms!
— MRSHLL • 마샬 (@marshallxyzzz) October 28, 2021
Nothing says “I love you” (or “I’d love to forget you”) like a classic R&B album. From constantly yearning for another’s heart to the inevitable heartbreak of it all, [XYZ] dips into both sides of the spectrum. On MRSHLL’s latest Instagram post, he revealed the concept was “sparked by an unrequited romance.” And listening through the lyrics of each track, he isn’t shy about exploring those feelings either.
“FooLISH” kicks off the album with an easy-going feel and jazzy keyboard intro. Throughout the track, MRSHLL croons about being “a fool for you” with a velvety timbre and delicate vocal runs. As he effortlessly flows to and from English and Korean, you start to forget it’s a bilingual song—each line seamlessly blending into the next. It’s also the perfect segue into the album’s second track, “WHAZ GooD.”
Featuring Korean rapper Bizzy (best known as one-third of the MFBTY trio), “WHAZ GooD” lies on the slightly bouncier side of the R&B. Infectiously catchy, MRSHLL hit the nail on the head with this one, and Bizzy’s verse adds just the right amount of spark. But, although the melody is pretty fun, the lyrics reveal signs of betrayal and confusion towards a significant other.
“What’s good? The way you’re holding me, hugging me, kissing me. What’s good? Now you’re leaving me, deceiving me suddenly,” MRSHLL sings. It’s the kind of tune suitable for a road playlist, either solo or with friends, but absolutely necessary.
Diving deeper into the heartache of relationships, “DRiNK 2 4GET” is another jazz-inspired jam. The mid-tempo kick of the percussion is accompanied by a swoon-worthy bass and piano. The track also features oceanfromtheblue, one of MRSHLL’s good friends and a fellow soloist. As the title suggests, “DRiNK 2 4GET” follows the numbness that comes with being deceived—drowning your sorrow in alcohol. A perfect mind-numbing entry to forget anyone who isn’t worthy of your time.
While the first half of [XYZ] leans more towards jazz/R&B, the latter half is unabashedly slow-jam heavy with a pinch of pop influence. “DATE NiTE” is an ultra blast from the past about the pleasures of taking time for yourself. The 90s inspired sound instantly takes precedence with a seductive kind of feel. It also doesn’t hurt to have the 90s/Y2K queen herself, YoonMirae, on the track to help boost the retro vibes.
Between the huskiness in her voice and raps in contrast to MRSHLL’s soft vocals, it’s interesting to see how both artists tackle the sultry aura differently. With that said, “DATE NiTE” is the embodiment of self-care.
Rounding out the rest of the EP is “4EVeR” and “PuZZLE.” And if you know what a standard Boyz II Men or New Edition intro sounds like, that’s basically “4EVeR” in a nutshell. Truthfully, it only feels right to have MRSHLL bring back the “talking intro” of an R&B song—it’s such a staple for that era.
So naturally, given the nature of its origins, the singer downright flexes his vocal muscles: range, high notes, belting, MRSHLL leaves no corner untouched. “4EVeR” is essentially a love letter and the purest of promises to last a lifetime.
Finally, giving the most Y2K pop/R&B sounding chorus yet is “PuZZLE.” Starting with a simple guitar, the verse is fairly minimalistic before it slowly builds into a rhythmically fun chorus. When MRSHLL sings, “you’re an impossible puzzle,” it harkens back to a style you’d find on a Brandy or Aaliyah album. Although each track has its spark, this one is exceptionally magical and addictive.
Love Is In the Air
2021 has been a whirlwind of a year for MRSHLL, to say the least. From rediscovering himself and his passion to falling in love with music again, it all seems to come together in this EP. [XYZ] shows an incredible rainbow of emotions whether you’re falling in love, out of love, or even rekindling a relationship with yourself. Luckily, MRSHLL covers all that and everything in between.
Listen to MRSHLL’s [XYZ] on streaming platforms here.
For more on the latest music releases, click here for our coverage on bugAboo’s recent debut!
Thumbnail courtesy of MRSHLL.