Mini album review: Iconiq - Light ahead

Iconiq - Light ahead | Mini album review
Iconiq dropped a damn solid debut album back in March. But despite strong singles, hot videos, a bald head and Shiseido pimping the hell out of her; not much of an impression was left when all was said and done. So AvexTrax decided to have their Avex slave 25884 release a mini album consisting of new material and a couple of songs from her first full length.

Mini album opener "Girl power" is Light ahead's weakest song. Iconiq's musical charm lies in the catchiness of her songs and how easy they are to latch onto. "Girl power" is about as easy to latch onto as a man made of jelly on rocket powered roller skates. The production is tight, but the hook and the music itself just aren't memorable. The song is just filler and is to Light ahead what "Like a virgin" was to Change myself: garbage which should have been left on a studio iMac.

"Tokyo girl" is not Iconiq's best song. Far from it. But the fact it's different from anything Iconiq delivered on Change myself is what will have you give this song a chance. And when you do, you realize the song isn't all that bad. It won't be an Iconiq song you'll play often. In fact, you'll probably never ever play it again. But it's fun, up-tempo, light-hearted, and the song comes off better with its music video. I won't be begging for Iconiq to revisit this rock pop sound any time soon unless the producer can give her something better than this to work with. But props to the ho for trying something different.

The album title track is quite possibly the best track on the album. As a matter of fact? I think it is the best track on the album. The equally beautiful and eerie backdrop underlying the plodding drums and handclaps create a strange juxtaposition, but it works wonderfully. It's a ballad, but not really. A banger, but not quite. The way the song tows this middle is brilliant and makes for one of Iconiq's strongest songs. If you liked the album title track "Change myself", then you'll like this; as it is very similar in terms of vibe and feel.

"Kiss & cry" is not a cover of Hikaru Utada's song of the same name. Although it does share the same old skool throwback vibe. "Kiss & cry" is very 80's. A rave inspired chorus complete with synth and guitar stabs command that you step and work a little dip and some shoulder. Iconiq definitely should have released this song as a single and shot a video for it. Hot uptempo pop crack with a chorus which won't quit.

Despite Change myself being such a solid effort, Iconiq did not come through strong on the songs. She sounded good, but lacked any real distinction of vocal individuality. The new songs on Light ahead (even the crap ones) have Iconiq sounding much more vocally assertive. Particularly on "Kiss & cry", which she absolutely owns with a excess of sass and a few vocal riffs thrown in for good measure. It's nice to hear that in such a short time, Iconiq is making strides with the vocal swagger.

Light ahead is a nice mini album. But I can't help but think that AvexTrax are being money hungry with it. Avex's intentions shouldn't factor into how I score the album or view the music. But it's difficult for it not to. Especially when Avex decided to have Iconiq release an 8 track debut album and then a mini album 6 months later with some songs which really should have featured on it.

If the likes of "Kiss & cry" and "Light ahead" had featured on Change myself, it would have made a hot album even better. It's a shame that "New season" did not find a place amongst Light ahead's tracklist, as the song is killer and a mini album this mediocre really could have done with it.

Change myself is the better investment in the long run, as only 2 of the new songs on Light ahead allude to the hotness of Iconiq's music. But the inclusion of a couple of the old songs help balance out the weakness of some of the new songs. But it's rather sad that it takes the strength of songs from a prior release to help raise the quality of a new mini album.


Album highlights:
■ Light ahead J's fave
■ Kiss & cry

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