Chill and calm are two things you generally don’t include when talking about toxic relationships. Well, this is exactly the mix of things that Malcolm Little brings to his single ‘Hold Back’. Written from his perspective, about a toxic relationship in college, the single has a Khalid-style sound that offers a soft, chilled and calm vibe that is a little strange with the topic.
While drawing on his own short-lived relationship, the single covers a swath of emotion, that is universal. The first song Little has recorded and produced himself, is a testament to his skills which have been honed since high school. Since starting to write songs at the age of 16 on the piano, he has performed with artists at festivals and had the opportunity to perform with Alice Cooper.
The piano line draws you into ‘Hold Back’ with a reflective vibe. The piano continues to bring an organic tone to the melody, that is mixed with electronic tones, that form a push-pull. The easiness of the piano line is pushed, but the deep beats and the electronic tones tug at it, however it remains steadfast. As the single progresses, more layers are added to the melody that enhances the reflective feeling. It is a really calming melody that has you floating down the soundscape and easing into the overall chilled vibes.
The vocals bring a new texture to the single as they edge between dreamy and dark. There is a strange feeling of distance to the vocals as if they are floating into your ears from another room. Through all of this, they settle in your chest and lightly prod at your emotions. The overall delivery is as chilled as the melody, while tapping into a deep sadness. You can feel the melancholy that comes from the end of a relationship, but this is tempered by the understanding that this is actually for the best. The vocals have an almost dark cloud feeling to them, like they are threatening to pour negative emotions as they drift past you.
Malcolm Little brings the emotions of a brief toxic relationship to a chilled and dreamy soundscape in the floating strains of ‘Hold Back’. The music is delicate as the piano line is pushed by the electronic tones. The vocals have a darkness to them that is a delightful contrast to the emotive dreaminess.