It’s a bold move to name a debut album 4 4 with track titles like “Koh-It-T Us” and “D a H J A” and it takes an even more talented singer-songwriter to deliver.
Marz Léon does just that.
An alternative R&B artist, Léon released her nine-track album in late August with the intent to describe her personal experiences and emotions through a universal lens. In an interview with The Fader, Marz stated, “4 4 resembles my guardian angels protecting me through my struggles and helping to give me the willpower to continue to pursue my passion, everything that I love, and battles in my life.” Since then, the Los Angeles-based solo act has also recently directed, edited and released the music video for her latest single, “S O R E E,” herself.
4 4 opens with “Bipolar,” an emotional and electronic ode to heartbreak. With a steady, satisfying bass line, the first track leaves no stone unturned with direct lyrics like, “Heaven’s waiting for you / Don’t put him up there / Put me up, don’t take him up,” and, “You’ll leave me drowning in your poison / Don’t leave me open.” Léon lays everything out on the table and segues seamlessly into “D.Frncs Interlude.”
The interlude is eerie and less musically invested as it is a reflection on Léon herself. She speaks, “Perhaps / This is the moment / When you’ve been chosen / To lead an army of broken soldiers / To lead a group of sheep / Into the lions’ den.” She preaches parables to her listeners about individuality, leadership and personal accountability. It’s powerful, short and makes a lasting impact early in the album.
“D a H J A” follows with heavy vocals and dramatic drumbeats that resonate throughout the body. Layering her own voice and interchanging it with breathy gasps adds a sensual element to an otherwise steady song. The bridge is strong and quick as Léon sings, “Pretend that you don’t hear me / Only I can feel me / Now I’m thinking clearly / Got to keep moving on.”
The second half of the album strays towards synthetics with “P a R a D I Z E.” Combining the ringing of bells and electronic elements with an acoustic guitar juxtaposes the sounds that Léon works to incorporate throughout the album. “Strangerz” slows things down and allows Léon to showcase her vocals. It’s a response to the opening “Bipolar” that spoke about heartbreak and betrayal. “Strangerz” reminisces on first encounters and young love as she sings, “We were strangers / ‘Til we became one heart.”
4 4 doesn’t just appease Léon’s existing fans — it pushes her into mainstream listening. As she steadily gains popularity, Léon will soon reach more people than anyone thought possible.