EP REVIEW: Pia Toscano – Belong
American Idol has had its fair share of robberies and one of those moments was when Pia Toscano was prematurely eliminated from the Top 9. Her powerhouse vocals offered a soul delivery that received a lot of comparisons to Jordin Sparks. Since her departure from the show in 2011 she has been working on her music and been performing as a back up singer for Jennifer Lopez. But now it’s time for her to return to the spotlight with her long awaited debut EP. “Belong” is a collection of five intimate pop tracks that serve as an autobiographical look into her struggles and the events that have defined her strengths. The title track “Belong” is the most intimate with its stripped back piano and strings arrangement delivering soaring vocals and heartbreaking but empowering lyrics. ”I used to run from the rainy days, now I love the lighting. Face to face with all the blame, I don’t fight it. I break free from all the chains that kept me bound”. The song looks at taking ownership of your insecurities and no longer hiding behind them and being afraid. It’s a powerful message that perfectly introduces the confident new sound for the songstress. “Pyro” and “Go Missing” are the offbeat dance tracks the take influence from the tropical pop trend which is currently dominating radio. They show a different side to her as a vocalist and offer versatility from the ballads that we are already aware of that she can slay. The production is bold and is a risk that was worth taking. “Liar Liar” is my favourite track on the EP and with its kick ass hook, crazy confidence and “fuck you attitude” she serves you a great track dedicated to any cheating ex. “Just lying in these arms, lying in these arms looking me right in my eyes. Just lying in these arms, tearing me apart, lying to me every night. You’re such a liar”. And to perfectly round it all out the beautiful ballad “You’ll Be King” reminds you why Pia Toscano was really robbed from American Idol in 2011. Her vocals are incredible and I don’t know if I really have to say anything else. This EP is a strong collection of impressive pop tracks that play to her strengths and allow you to get to know not only her as an artist but as a person as well.