Public Displays Of Affection (EP), by Muni Long
Some weeks ago I first became familiar with Muni Long when her song “Hrs and Hrs” broke on streaming and then charted on the Billboard Hot 100. That first song, her first hit that I am aware of, felt like a lost 80’s track with its sensual R&B, and I was curious to hear if the whole project bore out the promise of that initial track. Without a lot of expectations, is this an album that one can appreciate all the way through or is “Hrs And Hrs” an isolated track in its promise. Let’s see.
The EP begins with “No R&B,” where the singer expresses a willingness to throw hands with a rival for a brother’s affection. “IMU” expresses openness about being into someone but wondering if they will be able to get through in communication and if her partner is as into her as she is into him. “To Do List” is an interesting take on its titular concept, in that the singer expresses all the things she wants to do with her partner now they are in bed together, given the fact that they both have busy weeks. “Ain’t Easy” talks about what is difficult about a relationship that ends in a separation where both partners are too proud to apologize after a big fight. “Hrs And Hrs,” the biggest hit (so far) from this EP, is a sultry love ballad about her sexual endurance. “No Signal” expresses the singer’s desire to avoid a problem where she had no signal being a sign of breaking up, a sign of the vulnerability of contemporary relationships, to be sure. “Time Machine” uses the idea of a time machine as a way of expressing the desire to avoid heartbreak while enjoying the experiences that led to the unhappiness, a rather ambivalent mood, but a pretty relatable one. The EP then ends with a live track, “Just Beginning,” which portrays the disappointment in someone just beginning to trust and love someone who has broken her heart with cheating on her in a way she could recognize in social media.
I have to say that this album was a pleasure to listen to. Muni Long is pretty real in her approach. There isn’t a lot of artifice here, she’s not putting on a front about trying to be cool and unaffected by the problems of contemporary romance. This is not to say that this album is necessarily pleasant, the pleasure comes from its honesty rather than from the joy of the frustrations with unfaithful partners, concerns about one-sided feelings making one being vulnerable to being taken advantage of, or fights and misunderstandings that lead to breakups. If you like Adult R&B and want to see the perspective of an eloquent and colorful contemporary black young woman on the domestic melodrama of the contemporary age, this is a very worthwhile listen.