The piano is often thought of as the definitive ballad instrument, but its role in the new single “Begging” from R&B singer/songwriter Alondra Marie is anything but that simple. Indeed, it plays a part in cultivating the emotionality beyond the lyrics in this song, but through its foundational melody, I think we’re able to gain a lot more knowledge of the depth this vocalist has more than we are anything about the instrumental aspects of the track. As a singer, Alondra Marie is undeniably gifted, and it’s through a complex arrangement and production style in “Begging” that we’re able to appreciate all of her talents as they stand both in and outside of the recording studio. 

Rather than giving us a straight vocal in this mix, our singer’s voice is layered to harmonize with both itself and the piano, which exponentially increases the scope of her melodic command in the song. There’s rarely a moment in which she doesn’t sound prolifically skilled with the microphone in her hands, and thanks to the elaborate mixing style her voice is treated to, every intricate part of the harmony in “Begging” is made to sound larger than life. You could say that this is a hook-driven performance and be correct to a certain extent, but there’s one thing for certain about this single – without its creator being the one to usher forth each one of its verses, it just wouldn’t be as effective, nor as emotionally charged, as it is in this incarnation. 

Alondra Marie’s charisma is sourced from the depth of her lyrics rather than the tone of her delivery exclusively, and I believe this to be one of the best examples of her poetic wit in action. She isn’t holding anything back from us in these verses but instead uses the instrumental backdrop as the only element to soften the blow. Could she have gone harder with the chorus? Sure, but she doesn’t have to; truth be told, I think she has a greater impact on the listeners by sticking with the more conservative aesthetical structure she’s utilizing here than anything flamboyant, as some of her less than brilliant peers might have. She’s one of a kind, and better yet, she’s not afraid to test her limits when she’s creating something new. 

“Begging” is admittedly more sophisticated than I was expecting out of a purely underground player like Alondra Marie at this stage of her career, but at the same time, I can’t say that I’m shocked by the full-bodied tonal presence of her performance. From top to bottom, once we’re about twenty seconds into this song, I think it’s more than evident we’re in for something profound and over the top bold, and when Alondra Marie starts to sing she does not disappoint any fan of daring melodicism within earshot of her voice. This is a turning point for the underground pop community in America, and with a richly talented R&B force like her in the mix, you know things are definitely about to get interesting. 

Garth Thomas