Singer, songwriter and producer Alex Isley helped usher in spring by lending her smooth buttery vocals as a background vocalist on Lucky Daye’s sophomore project, Candydrip. Unbeknownst to us, Isley was just warming up! Shortly after, an announcement for her own album Marigold followed. The second-generation music maker (her father is Ernie Isley and her uncles are the Isley Brothers) enlisted none other than her partner in rhyme, producer Jack Dine, to help cultivate each track. The perfect pair, whose working relationship stemmed from their 2019 EP Wilton, delivers a gorgeous bouquet of nine glorious compositions with Marigold.
Alex Isley’s luxuriant vocals combined with Jack’s fervid productions simply do not miss. The harmonious pair manage to bottle reflections of past people and experiences, joys of the present and hopes for the future into the music they craft, and it’s exactly what they give us on Marigold. “I hope this album sparks joy, encouragement, inspiration, all of the good things in life,” the singer captioned an Instagram post the day of the album’s release.
Marigold kicks off with childlike delight and wonder as Alex Isley’s daughter faintly speaks on the intro to the first track “Such A Thing” before Alex begins to softly sing about a love more beautiful than she could have ever imagined. Her amazement continues on “Too Bad I Forget,” documenting what happens when you look up and cannot quite remember how or when someone managed to make their way into your life.
We move from surprise and curiosity into a place of faith and reclamation with the redemptive “Love Again.” Alex vocalizes the warm and fuzzy feels of meeting someone who melts the icebox where your heart used to be. She sings like a summer breeze, “The thought of your arms, I’m already safe / Thought I had done it all, but I got some grace / Even a bit of time, mmm, and space / Reset on my heart and a brand new slate.”
“Square Zero” describes what takes place when a mate has on those blasted rose-colored glasses and fights to hold onto a relationship slowly fading away that was at one point full of promise. After what feels like a spiral to save a love once good, Isley plays cool and trusts her instincts to lead her “Under The Moon” as she awaits being in the place and space of the one she loves.
Alex gets direct and goes deep on “Without,” candidly singing about the role self plays in the ups and downs of these affairs. Similar reflections resurface as Dreamville rapper Bas accompanies Isley for “On & On,” another track of honesty and transparency.
Isley just can’t seem to shake the feeling of a love lost on single “Still Wonder” as closure to move on and move forward is sought, while Robert Glasper dreamily and romantically glides on piano keys. Alex invites us to ride with her as she reflects on growth, self-discovery and lessons learned in love and loss on “105” while looking ahead and keeping it moving to close the collection.
Alex Isley and Jack Dine remain as a melodious match made in heaven as they take us through a cycle from sprout to blossom to full bloom on Marigold. The pair sow the seeds necessary to reap a beautiful harvest of reflection, growth, evolution, healing and fruition and truly deserve their flowers.