The second part of Mark Diamond’s two piece EP shines brighter than the first

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The second part of Mark Diamond’s two piece EP shines brighter than the first

I’m a sucker for music with a deeper meaning, lyrics that are a giant metaphor. 

Mark Diamond said on Instagram that “[h]ummingbirds are referred to as glittering fragments of the rainbow.” Naturally, I assumed that the songs his new EPs Hummingbird One and Hummingbird Two would be something deep and insightful like this allegory.

They weren’t.

Hummingbird One and Hummingbird Two are certainly those fragments that Diamond referred two, not quite a whole rainbow; though, Hummingbird Two does come much closer. Together, they create an almost too cohesive eight-track album full of mediocre candid whimsy.

Released five months before Hummingbird Two, Hummingbird One begins with “Promise,” a very dynamic feel-good track. The first thing I noticed was the way the ardent and intricate beats of music contrast with his smooth and silky voice. While his honeyed voice is nothing prodigious, I do admire the serenity it imposed: it was as if I was enveloped by an iridescent bubble, floating away and taking in the landscape. 

Unlike the strong open of “Promise,” “Steady” fades in subtly and seductively. As the song builds into the overly repetitive chorus, “Steady” features a unique underwater and drowned drum sound that soon disappears. As the momentum of the song remains steadily lagging, Diamond’s previously toneless voice grows stronger and more alluring while maintaining its classic light and fluffy sound. 

“London,” the third track, is the first of the three love songs to not be completely mindless. In fact, “London” is a lulling apology full of desperation conveyed— unfortunately—through the lyrics, not Diamond’s lovely falsetto that makes an appearance in many of his songs. The passion and genuine emotion are the only pieces missing from ‘London” as well as most of Diamond’s works on these two EPs. Without it, I feel nothing. 

For the fourth and final track “Road” on Hummingbird One, I was rooting for Diamond to reach deep inward and find something more important than a romance. Starting with the words “If I could pick between heaven or hell/ Oh, baby, I’d choose the road,” I was hopeful. However, these nearly moving words were flipped around and put right back into the context of a romantic relationship that I was dreading. It may have been forgivable had the song not sounded exactly like the previous song. 

Despite being thoroughly unimpressed with Hummingbird One, I pushed onward to Hummingbird Two and enjoyed a more satisfying fifteen minutes. 

From the first song “Monster,” I could already tell that the part two EP was going to much better. Right off the bat, Diamond snagged my attention with the conversationality of the first verse. Finally. Finally, there was something more than just a guy singing some words he wrote.  He meant them. Suddenly, Diamond wasn’t just a disembodied voice; he gained a personality. I began to feel everything the music was trying to tell me: the rejuvenation, the optimism, the ebullient joy. 

We connected.

That connection carried through the rest of Hummingbird Two, despite remaining absent in Hummingbird One no matter how many times I returned to. Hummingbird One was just too cautious and safe to be anything above average. But, I think Diamond began to settle into the necessary vulnerability for the second part. 

The EP’s namesake is the second track on Hummingbird Two. “Hummingbird” grew from one of Diamond’s peculiar ponderings: do flowers feel sad when hummingbirds leave? Before completely dismissing the thought silly thought, Diamond realized the metaphor for life it forges. He stopped to remember how it was when he felt stuck and someone flew into his life, took what they needed, and then left. This story comes to life in “Hummingbird,” specifically the broken and hasty words “Is it me—am I never enough?”

“Hummingbird” is succeeded by the very mellow third track “Heaven.” Although catchy, its drowsy melody mixed with his gentle voice almost put me to sleep. However, Diamond did this delicious ascending trill where he runs into his exquisite falsetto that woke me right back up. 

The final song “Shimmer” is the perfect fall song— the perfect song for the days when the air is as crisp as Michigan’s apples. Like the previous, it is very laid-back. But, it is also much more dynamic and intricate than “Heaven.” In a way, “Shimmer[‘s]” quiet joy is almost restorative. I just am overwhelmed by content when I listen to it. 

Altogether, Hummingbird Two is much better than its predecessor. Listened to consecutively, Diamond’s music is nothing special. However, Hummingbird Two separately is definitely worth your time.

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