When we think of something cyclical, monotony might come to mind; however, Mia Gladstone's CYCLE/S is anything but. The vibrant new EP embodies the marriage of velvet-draped vocals, rhythms soaked in soul, and melodies tinged with a touch of timelessness, all packaged with undeniable playfulness.
The 21-year-old songstress and producer from New York teamed up with Danny Shyman to bring us an immersive listening experience filled with both ear candy and food for thought. CYCLE/S features five songs, each of which link in some way to mental health and unlocking the right headspace.
The first song, "CHANGE THE CHANNEL," is about not getting stuck. As bubblegum pop keys accompany Gladstone, she begs listeners to "please be good to yourself." The next tune, "GO," is an upbeat song about trying to let someone go and trusting that if someone's feelings were real, it would show.
"FOOD," which was dropped as one of the singles preceding the full EP, is a song Gladstone wrote "about being sexualized from a young age…and how that affected [her] relationship with food growing up," as she explains on her Instagram.
The song is a sonic clap-back at criticisms of women like, "put on a shirt, don't dress like a man" and a reminder that self-care doesn't have a rulebook. Gladstone's vocals carry the message while the instruments show their support, with bass stabs, horn echoes, and a gorgeous drum and flute breakdown. The "FOOD" music video also vividly captures the song's tone, as it displays various scenes such as one in which Gladstone speaks into a microphone before a man tries to steal it away.
Other songs, like "I FEEL FINE" and "EGO," are driven by an unmistakable vintage charm, honest lyricism, and a pinch of ragtime piano. The "EGO" outro concludes the EP with the gentle reminder that "we're all beings of love…all love…free love," which Gladstone spreads not only through her music but also through her Instagram page, producers who produce, which she created to highlight women and nonbinary producers and foster an inclusive producer community.
As Gladstone told Wonderland Magazine upon preparing for the release of her debut EP, she wants to "inspire love and acceptance of the self and the world!" She certainly achieves just that with this playful, relevant, and ageless sophomore EP.
Listen to CYCLE/S below: