XI.ME.NA may have been called the “pop diva of opera”, but this diva has put aside the ego usually associated with the term and created an EP full of love and adoration for her son.
“A year ago today I became a Mother,” she says before explaining that three out of the four songs on Before You were written in direct response to his birth. Opening track “High Moments” represents the joy she feels to have him in her life and holds steady with a drum beat and a dreamy ambiance set by her vocals and backing harmonies. The snap of the repeated word “back” resonates across a room.
XI.ME.NA’s strength is found in her ability to move between operatic vocals and pop experimentation. “Before You” is almost entirely sustained by vocals, with the artist’s own voice setting the back beat. This track represents who XI.ME.NA was before the birth of her son, with the following track, “There’s Me”, setting the scene of who she is now.
Though these three songs work together to create a picture of a life in the time after a monumental shift, it is “Lions” that pushes most prominently against the grain of genre. Heavier synth sounds pulse theatrically. Urgency draws you into a new world. When the song smashes open in a haze of noise and loops, you can sense that XI.ME.NA has found the sweet spot between playful and reflective.