Sometimes there are bands that walk into your life (or your ears) at a specific time and because of who you are or what is happening in that very season, that band becomes unforgettable. It becomes tied to that season. That's how Page CXVI is for me.
Back in the fall of 2012, I had just begun seeing a counselor for my anxiety. I had also just completed my first year of motherhood. Everything around me and inside of me had changed and the night that I saw Page CXVI was a milestone for me. It was the first time since I'd been on my mental health journey that I felt like I had heard music that gave me the "Me too!" feeling. I think that's what most of us songwriters want. We want people to hear our songs, relate to them, be changed by them, and carry them in their hearts. That's what Latifah's song "Roll Over Me/Joy" did for me that night.
That concert also spurred me on in my own songwriting and reminded me to dust off my notebooks in the midst of chasing around a toddler. In a lot of ways, that concert was part of the push I needed to keep writing the songs that now make up the concept album that our band, Mopak, is currently working on. As I sat and listened to Page CXVI that night, puzzle pieces started coming together and this EP started to take formation.
All of this to say, Page CXVI has a warm fuzzy spot in my heart. My journey and their music aligned at a really sweet time. So when Latifah asked on Twitter if any bloggers wanted an early stream of her new project Moda Spira, I quickly responded!
It doesn't take long to realize that this album has a completely different flavor to it than anything Latifah has done previously. I love when musicians feel the freedom and courage to move in a different musical direction. Adding Latifah's dark and rich vocals to a blanket of cool synth sounds, creative BGVs, and electronic drums makes for a tasty feel.
The tunes that have really stuck out to me in all my listens are "We Hold On" and "Shaking the Walls." They both have an easy, pop, anthem-y feel that immediately gets you moving and nodding your head, yet they're still grounded in musical and lyrical depth.
I asked Latifah to give a little snippet about the project. Here's what she had to say:
"I have been wanting to flex my songwriting muscles in a different way for awhile. I knew I wanted to explore a solo project to write songs about my personal experiences. I wanted to make a record that had my guilty pleasure sounds with earnest content. Moda Spira came into being from that place. I love RnB, 80s pop, Jazz, Motown, Soul, Cinematic Indie Rock, etc. and it was a blast giving nods to my favorite sonic landscapes.
The content came out of my personal relationship, it's ups and downs, and ultimately what it was for us to press into continually choosing one another through hard times. When you love someone the bad along with the good cannot help but eventually be exposed about yourself and your partner. I am deeply grateful for Reid's devotion to growth and commitment in these times and I wanted to spend energy reflecting on that season for us. Relationships are cyclical and we need reminders that there can be hope in hard times."
This album is worth a listen. Pre-order Moda Spira now or check it out when it releases on May 13th.