REVIEW: UMI delivers bedroom R&B perfection with fourth project

first_imgUMI shares the details of her artistic exploration of the human condition in a 15-minute YouTube video titled “Introspection [The Film].” In it, she thoughtfully notes, “I’m the main character in my own story but a background character in other people’s,” and proceeds to feature each track through the eyes of different “main characters” at the same house party. “I call it introspection.”  Since the 2017 release of her first single, “Happy Again,” USC alumna and self-described bedroom R&B artist UMI, born Tierra Umi Wilson, rose to popularity as a genre-bending pioneer of lo-fi electronics and R&B. With multiple hit singles, including “Remember Me,” UMI establishes herself as more than just a vocal artist, pairing her unique sonic style with aesthetically imaginative, often self-directed video visualizers on her YouTube channel. Over the past few years, she’s garnered a following of more than 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. Her fourth EP, “Introspection,” becomes another masterpiece to add to her growing discography. Vulnerable and intricate, yet smooth and ambient, the six-song record allows listeners to peek into the candid inner workings of her mind in all its complexity, contemplation, hope and self-doubt.   (Photo from @whoisumi via Instagram) UMI created a 15-minute YouTube video to accompany her fourth EP, “Introspection,” where she shares her creative process for the six-song track.  Complete with a dark, smoky video visualizer, the EP’s title and opening track “Introspection” speaks to UMI’s fear of fully exposing her inner self and the resulting sense of detachment in her relationships. Echoing, distorted vocals and heavy, hazy synths pair seamlessly with lyrics such as “Wish the thoughts would go away / floatin’ farther away” and “Your pretty curls hide your pretty pearls” that might reflect a deeper frustration of putting up a facade for people who may never fully understand her thoughts. “Introspection” is a strong opening to the EP; its explicit vulnerability and somber, captivating melody is custom-made to be the socially anxious overthinker’s anthem. On the other hand, “Pretty Girl hi!” taps into a lighter, floating synth and conveys the feeling of giddy hope when falling in love. While addressing a similar theme as “Love Affair” from her third EP “Love Language,” UMI’s intentions have clearly evolved, as she now pays closer attention to the little details of love rather than the mission of achieving it. As she excitedly lists out hopes for her future with this lover, the bubbly optimism to “Dance in just our baggy jeans” is sure to put a familiar fluttering in any listener’s stomach.  While maintaining a slow, weighty sound, UMI strays from regret and declares freedom in “Where I Wander.” Over a relaxed, echoed synth and bass-heavy beat, her siren-like vocals call her to set herself free from a toxic relationship: “No need to keep fighting what you’re dealt … You were given options where to sail.” While dealing with more serious themes, this song’s energy is relatively low and difficult to catch onto compared to the previous two tracks. A gifted artist in multiple respects, UMI proves through “Introspection” that she can deliver more than notable singles. Her relatable and humanizing self-reflection — paired with an impressive artistic intuition for cohesion, filmmaking, instrumentals and lyrics — undoubtedly shine through on this release, making a perfect late-night R&B soundtrack and captivatingly provocative film. “Introspection” is not only a fantastic listen but also an impressive career landmark of a noteworthy artist that listeners everywhere should keep their eye on. Similar musical and lyrical themes are found throughout the record. With smooth, glassy vocals and cool, dense acoustic riffs, the next track, “Open Up,” addresses a melancholy farewell and apology to a romantic relationship damaged by her emotional guardedness. UMI’s ethereal, angelic vocals through the second verse are exceptionally electrifying in this gorgeously landscaped song.  Meanwhile, the second half of the EP transitions into lighter, more hopeful themes. The fourth track, “Bet,” is a dramatic shift in tone as UMI boldly cuts ties with a destructive, one-sided romantic relationship. Carrying a similar tone as her 2017 single “FRIENDZONE,” UMI swaps her typical muted electronic synths for a more traditional R&B sound as she calls her ex-partner out for their dishonesty, failure to commit and “clown shit,” making for a brutally spectacular breakup anthem. The final track, “Broken Bottle,” ultimately showcases UMI’s reflection on and acceptance of both her and her partner’s shortcomings in a failed relationship. With soft piano themes and rapid, celestial synth scales, it might be one of the most expertly crafted instrumentals in the entire EP. Lyrically, it delivers a resolution of forgiveness for all “broken bottles” that had been created in the relationship. As she admits, “Crazy I was a mess / Crazy you were so hollow” and “I did not get to say, to you / That I did have somethin’ to say / Forgive you’re from the ways, my dude.” With these lines, UMI suggests that perhaps the true ability to release emotional trauma stems from absolution and self-reflection.last_img read more

How Much Does Great Credit Really Save for Borrowers

first_img Average percentage rates for mortgage loans were up in March compared to February, according to a new report by LendingTree. In March, average APR offers for borrowers with the best profiles were 4.25 percent for conforming 30-year fixed purchase loans. That’s up from 4.22 percent in February. Refinance loan offers were up 11 points to an almost-even 4.24 percent last month as well.For the typical borrower, APR offers in March were at 4.85 percent, which is five points higher than in February. That made the average down payment in March about $63,000, with an average loan of almost $238,600. With an average loan-to-value ratio (LTV) of 82 percent, that spelled an average lifetime interest payment of $214,600 for the typical borrower.“The loan note rate hit the highest since March 2016 at 4.75 percent and was also up 5 basis points from February,” the report stated.Consumers with the highest credit scores (760+) saw offered APRs of 4.72 percent in March. That compared to 4.99 percent for consumers with scores of 680 to 719. That gap of 27 basis points represents $14,000 in extra costs for borrowers with lower-that-top credit scores over 30 years. It also was unchanged from February and still near the widest since this data series began in April 2016, according to LendingTree.On the refinance side, refi APRs for conforming 30-yr fixed loans were up 6 basis points in March, to finish the month at 4.83 percent. As it was for standard mortgage borrowers, the credit score bracket spread remained at 24 basis points between the top-tier borrowers and those a little further behind them. Factoring in interests and fees, that spells almost $13,000 in extra costs over the life of the loan for lower credit score borrowers. That’s based on an average refinance loan of $239,668, where the LTV is above 60 percent. Average proposed purchase down payments was little changed at $62,758. Share April 4, 2018 559 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Originationcenter_img How Much Does Great Credit Really Save for Borrowers? APR Borrowers Consumers Credit Score Lenders LendingTree mortgage Mortgage Rates 2018-04-04 Radhika Ojhalast_img read more