EP Review: Naaz – the beautiful struggle

naaz the beautiful struggle

Naaz gets up close and personal on sophisticated second EP
Dutch-Kurdish pop artist Naaz has been on an impressive way up since 2017, when her outstanding first singles ‘Words’ and ‘Up To Something’ were released. She dropped her debut EP Bits of Naaz in the year after. Up until that point, Naaz created most of her music alone in her bedroom. The singer more recently decided to change things up and started working with Norwegian producer Askjell (Sigrid and Aurora), who captured her sound just as she imagined it and new EP the beautiful struggle is the result.

Naaz kicked off the new era with the raving pop anthem ‘TAPED’ on which she went bigger in every single way: a fuller production, a massive chorus, more outspoken lyrics and definitely rawer vocal work. She followed it up with the slightly more stripped back, but definitely even more emotionally intense track ‘damage :(‘ which deals with going through a dark phase. Naaz said about this song that it does not have a happy ending and how some honest songs don’t need to get one. That constant search for happiness, but at the same time accepting the darker times for what they are, are at the root of the beautiful struggle.

‘Heart Drive’, the EP opener co-written and produced by Askjell, is an atmospheric yet moody slice of understated pop, describing the ups and downs in the search for happiness in some of her best lyrics yet. “Happy is temporary and now I am sad.
Someone broke my heart drive, now there’s nothing left of us”, she sings in a compelling way. The brave and oh so powerful ‘Do You?’ describes intense emotions that come with a Borderline Personality Disorder. The guitar-driven tune, co-written and produced by duo Teofrans, is raw and serves exactly the right amount of unease to get across its message.

‘it’s not you it’s me’ produced by 5YA, makes for a lighter moment both in terms of the lyrical content and the way it is produced. The airy bop describes how Naaz learns to love herself through the eyes of someone who is in love with her. “Why does it feel like it could’ve been anybody? ‘Cause it’s true, I fall in love with you loving me”, she tells that person. The EP comes full circle on a hopeful note with the warm and loving track ‘proud of me’, a richly produced ballad in which Naaz’s impressive vocal range truly shines.

the beautiful struggle is a stunning collection of highly personal and honest pop songs that do not only leave a lasting impression through the lyrics, but also the hooks and productions. It is a sophisticated, fully realized body of work and shows off the endless potential of the just 21 years old pop star.

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