Album Review: Milan Ring - 'I’m Feeling Hopeful'

3 December 2021 | 2:10 pm | Shaun Colnan

"Milan’s debut LP demands multiple listens."

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From its outset, Milan Ring’s debut LP, I’m Feeling Hopeful invites listeners into its complex, intimate and introspective world. The 14-track album’s title entreats optimism in a troubled world, a world irreparably changed, a world crying out for albums of this calibre.

Hide With You conveys such a tension: a lilting piano melds with soft choral loops before the drum track hits with the lyric, divulging relationships’ often-dark reality. The refrain, “I wanna hide with you,” expresses hope, tenderness and seclusion. It’s wistful and passionate and made spectacular with angelic choral loops – one of the Sydney artist’s trademarks.

BS hits hard from the opening, catching us with an infectious bassline that dissolves as Milan’s lyric arrives: “Every single day, I have been dealing with this shit that comes my way.” As always, Milan delivers dexterity with melodic picking matching her lyric melody. This track takes you places: from reflective frustration to the emancipation accompanying the dance-inducing UK trap from South London rapper Che Lingo, who’s signed to Idris Elba’s 7Wallace label – and even a salsa-inspired breakdown nearing the song’s conclusion.

Pick Me Up picks up where BS left off, recalling wild nights with a sultry tone signalled by “Let’s go out drinking tonight/Two shots ‘til we start thinking alright…” A complex ode to alcohol, this song hides critical undertones through a catchy chorus and bars by Chicago rapper/singer Jean Deaux which take the track in another, less “PG” direction.

Fluttering returns to the pensive; reflecting on early memories like “50 cent frosty fruit” and “pineapples” and “carrots for lunch”, which helped assuage Milan’s early rage. Dreaming extends this, constructing a safe space “up on the moon”, in an “upwind”; adding a boom-bap rhythm to a liberating chorus.

Keep Me Safe’s simple saccharine beauty will push it to high rotation. While in Let It Glide, rising rapper and Malyangapa, Barkindji woman, BARKAA voices two verses, sharing a different perspective from the international contributors, continuing the theme of control established in I Can Fix You.

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Later songs like Hopeful showcase just why Milan’s debut LP demands multiple listens. All the more impressive considering Milan wrote, recorded, executive produced and mixed I'm Feeling Hopeful solo in her studio on Gadigal Land.