“You ain’t entitled to my time,” proclaims Magi Merlin on “Milkweed,” the opening track off her third EP Gone Girl, on which the Montréal-based indie R&B artist explores both the realities of Black women and how the world views Black women.
Produced by Merlin’s longtime collaborator Funkywhat, Gone Girl is deeply influenced by ‘90s R&B, with jazzy undertones, smooth bass lines, and swift percussion beats. On “Pissed Black Girl” Merlin discusses casual racism from alleged allies: “I feel like my hell is your primetime,” she says. Despite the angst, the track has a groovy vibe with mellow keys and breezy hi-hat and snares. On “Children of Fate,” one the EP’s highlights, Merlin discusses seeking every opportunity, a seat at the table, and the authority to make executive decisions. Her vocals are heavily processed while brassy drums and industrial beats set a basement rave vibe. Merlin switches from singing to rapping on “Free Grillz” and “No Ego” with an in-your-face style as she expresses pain over funky and action-packed beats. Both songs feel anthemic and include chants designed to have listeners singing along by the end. Still, despite its danceable qualities, Gone Girl exudes the rage and exasperation that many Black women feel in today’s climate. With this EP, Merlin perfectly marries the complexity of her experiences to the groove of the beat.