One year after his second release, Tunisian-born Maleq returns to his studio in Montreal to reflect on the needs of his musical career once again, delivering a mellowed and more sober sound that can only be ascribed to the lessons we often learn when we decide to follow our dreams.
When Maleq dropped a track about riding ‘Solo’ last summer, he vowed to take things from "0-100 real fast," to commit himself to the pursuit of his musical career with whatever it takes, even if it meant he’d "crash and burn." At the time, Maleq was a recent graduate of psychology, choosing to focus his energy on pursuing a music career. One year later, Maleq’s third single arrives with a matured perspective, evolved production and a debut music video to match.
Money’s on the mind for Maleq more than ever in this track as he contemplates what’s needed to move forward, admitting that he "can’t get enough" dollar bills to be the free man his creative pursuits require him to be. "Money makes the world go round," he laments again and again over a funky but muted palette mix of tropical house, disco, dancehall and R&B. The beat exudes a smooth, chill summery vibe that’s all but tinged by a heavy use of reverb and a melancholic vocal track. Maleq’s vocals are delivered as nonchalantly as the music video, the two of them working together to speak to their audience in a language we can understand. Lounging on the sofa, sipping from a mug or popping slow, subtle dance moves with his dance partner: it’s almost if Maleq doesn’t care. But nearly two years into a global pandemic, the singer is only expressing a sense of indifference, bleakness and resignation that is all too recognisable for young people everywhere - especially those working in the creative industries.But if money is an issue for Maleq's creativity, you’d have a hard time hearing it in the production. The track is multilayered and has been mixed and mastered well by Maleq and collaborator Jean-Addlaire Gaetan. It cruises effortlessly between a range of depths and pitches, somehow managing to highlight the variety of styles the song draws from. Perhaps the vocals could be better integrated into the track, but Maleq’s falsetto bridge does well to make us realise that this musician has some talent.
Elsewhere, Maleq and music video director, Abdelhak Aliche, make an aesthetic decision to lean into the limitations of their budget, making no effort to pretend their studio setting is anything other than it is. Maleq and his dance partner glide between houseplants and studio lighting, a camera following their subdued performance in one long, single take. Though Maleq and his team don’t impress with decadent set design or glossy editing, they use a host of (camera) tricks and mirrors to give their audience something fresh and enjoyable to watch. As Maleq takes and spins us around the room, you might find yourself bopping along to this sweet summer tune before beginning to wonder for yourself: Is it really just money that makes the world go round? Or can a little bit of passion and creativity take you further than you think?