“Milk” by Nina Ross uses sparseness to the ultimate emotional effect. As she whispers each imagery-laden lyric, a warm electric piano warbles underneath. A lyric this thought-provoking rarely needs too many bells and whistles to feel poignant. In fact, Nina’s poeticism benefits from simplicity. Each motif or texture feels inherently special. Her tone of voice is beautifully pure. The drum groove drives the rhythm with an effortless smoothness. The melodies steer the tonality nearly single-handedly. If you’re in the mood for something meditative and reflective, this is the song for you.
Nina begins with an a capella movement: “Across the table, you glance over at me / Then you shamelessly knock back the jug of milk.” The performance is sensitive, capturing all the idiosyncrasies of her voice with the ultimate effect of imbuing the narrative-style words with a cathartic, personal touch. It’s incredible how a few seconds of solo singing can be so grounding. The electric piano soon joins, brightening the sound with some sentimental chord values. A subtle kick drum emphasizes a few heart-beat-like rhythms. Although these additions seem small, they change the dynamic atmosphere immensely. Still, that arresting authenticity stays intact.
The song continues to blossom as Nina unravels a story about love, unspoken feelings, and solicitude. A few more instrumental layers pile in, but in the end, synths and elegant vocals fade to nothing. You’re left wondering how something could be so equally beautiful and haunting. Nina Ross’s musicianship bleeds through the fabric of this song so plainly. Her power to create such deep emotion from so few textures is palpable, and ultimately awe-inspiring.
Written by Alyce Lindberg
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