5 Songs, 16 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Phases II captures Arin Ray in full bloom. After a dalliance with pop following his appearance on The X Factor, Ray’s 2018 debut album Platinum Fire righted the ship and signaled a return to his core strength: pillow talk R&B. This five-song EP focuses even deeper: There’s a throwback aesthetic to his singing style, unrushed but solidly in the pocket. “The Get Down” and “A Seat” are grown and sexy R&B. Multilayered choruses on “Change” (with Kehlani) bring to mind ’90s Jodeci. “Don’t Chase” shows how he operates when given a guitar loop, a beat, and a violin. And no need for rap cameos here, Arin’s straight talk does just fine (“I tried to help you but it seems so useless/Now nothing’s working and I’m stuck on ‘stupid’”).

EDITORS’ NOTES

Phases II captures Arin Ray in full bloom. After a dalliance with pop following his appearance on The X Factor, Ray’s 2018 debut album Platinum Fire righted the ship and signaled a return to his core strength: pillow talk R&B. This five-song EP focuses even deeper: There’s a throwback aesthetic to his singing style, unrushed but solidly in the pocket. “The Get Down” and “A Seat” are grown and sexy R&B. Multilayered choruses on “Change” (with Kehlani) bring to mind ’90s Jodeci. “Don’t Chase” shows how he operates when given a guitar loop, a beat, and a violin. And no need for rap cameos here, Arin’s straight talk does just fine (“I tried to help you but it seems so useless/Now nothing’s working and I’m stuck on ‘stupid’”).

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