REVIEW: Arina Mai releases striking “Relationship” (Single)

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Arina Mai releases striking “Relationship” (Single) Arina Mai has a serendipitous voice. Sounding like a mix of a heavenly creature and a J.R.R. Tolkien-character, Mai continues to beautify the music she releases. Her new single “Relationship” perches itself high on the shelf, adding extra textures and layering of electronica that had yet to be revealed by the songstress. Without boundaries to speak of, Mai’s motivating performance thrives.

Stationed between pop rock and adult contemporary, “Relationship” emerges from an upbeat, synth burbles. Mai’s voice quaintly sings you showed me from the start there was something in my heart…take the word apart, something in my heart. At the beginning, the song’s undertow has a voice loop. It smooths itself out, and starts to follow a slick pattern. Her voice stays with the listener, gliding its way up, up and away.


The tempo is modern, but fans of early Christina Aguilera works, might find a glimpse of the early 2000s pop R&B tones. Seeing now I’m working, seeing now I’m worth it, seeing now I got our relationship, Mai sings. On the first few listens, I took the relationship to mean a romantic one. As amorous as Mai’s voice projects, she’s glowing and resonates beyond romance. I can surmise that this song is about music as her companion. She is having a conversation with her inner self about her art — she believes she’s worth it and made it and feels comfort in the musical bond. I liked the way this song creates possibilities — within her voice and the computerized music bed. I waded in the music for a bit, but my mind kept wandering back to Mai’s vocals. I liked the mix — the listener has a chance to marinate in many directions.

“Relationship” is from KP Larsen-produced album Imperfect. Mai, who is based in Denmark, previously released “Get Closer” with additional tracks set for the rest of this year, and into 2021. “Get Closer” had a more organic feel to it than “Relationship”. She does retrace some of her natural harmonies, which is highly welcomed. The transportive music bed is dance-worthy. The song isn’t ready for an EDM party, but perhaps in another mix, it would fit that bill. It has little quirks, like video game bursts here and there. She doesn’t rely on one sound, and dips her toes into new waters. I like what she has going for her in “Relationship”. It’s a steady, consistent song that once again fuels the listeners’ mind and heart. Mai carries the momentum well, and this song has lasting presence.


The music video, too, has a movement and visualizes the coded meanings. Mai steps confidently, in what appears to be an indoor gym with numbers (to denote lengths). The video showcases her look and her comfort in front of the camera. If she weren’t singing from her heart or mouth, her eyes draw in the listener equally. She’s hauntingly beautiful, but very approachable. The music does all the talking in “Relationship” and brings a broader sense of security to knowing Mai. Through her music, listeners have a wide landscape to explore.

Colin Jordan

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