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Amanda Holley Releases “Fav Flavor”

Amanda Holley comes out swinging with more swagger than she’s ever presented listeners with before in her new single, the complicated hip-hop slow jam “Fav Flavor,” and while she’s been known to set the bar all the higher with every song she releases, this one feels particularly important in her white-hot career. Her lyrics are razor sharp, the melodies surrounding them as soft as a heavenly cloud, and though this track was produced with the utmost attention to detail, it sounds more like a raw, improvised song that came straight from the heart than it does something that came out of a major label writer’s room. 

There’s not a lot of reverb on the vocal in “Fav Flavor,” but this doesn’t make the song sound dry or unpalatable to pop fans. The up close and personal nature of the lyrics becomes all the more bludgeoning through this ultra-tight production style, which is a lot more cut and physical than anything out of rival camps have been in the last couple of years. Holley leaves the ribbons and bows on the sidelines here and as a result, sounds more adept and professional than most any of her peers on the underground side of this genre have lately. 

While the master mix is admittedly barebones, nothing about “Fav Flavor” seems amateurishly simple nor intentionally pandering to the minimalism trend in American indie pop. There’s still a lot of muscularity to the music, but rather than being put through the sonic processor behind the soundboard, it’s left unchecked and full of the same adrenaline that it would have on stage. It’s a sound that every artist tries to capture in-studio but only a handful can contain within a single recording, and this isn’t the first occasion on which Holley has pulled off such a feat. 

I love the conservative bass parts in this song. They contrast with the percussive components perfectly while enforcing a solid barrier between the vocal track and the other elements in the melody. This artist’s meticulousness is what originally attracted me to her music, and I must say that she’s getting even better at piecing the minute parts of a composition together here. I still think that she could take a slightly more relaxed approach and sound just as compelling, but this look is one that I don’t want her to shelve as she prepares to make a full-length album. 

Coming into my review of “Fav Flavor,” I was expecting to be wowed by what I heard, but I didn’t think I would enjoy this song more than I did the similarly evocative beats coming out of the LA and NYC undergrounds which have also been released this year. Amanda Holley keeps dropping game-changers from one beat to the next here, and though she’s not finished in her creative development (which seems to become a little more diverse in tone every time I hear her work), she unquestionably knows who she is in this single. That’s half the battle for today’s up-and-coming pop star, but when it comes to this talented woman’s music, conventional standards don’t apply. 

Mindy McCall



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