Hostage is the perfect blend of past traditions and forward thinking. Alek Virago’s voice feels like an echo of earlier times, smooth, sultry, soulful, but it is how she uses those talents which creates this wonderful contrast of then and now.

The song runs on a blend of spacious pop vibes, r&b groove and trap-infused beats and the lyrics are certainly a product of the modern age, even if the sentiment and scenes that they paint or of a timeless human experience. It’s the sound of those soulful traditions being brought into the modern era. There is the same gorgeous use of vocal range and harmonics, beautiful use of space and understatement but the song is definitely looking to the future rather than just harking back to past glories.

And above it, rises Alek Virago’s masterful vocals. Sometimes using intimate conversation, at other times building spiralling crescendoes, walking a fine line between the hard streets and a more classic and graceful place.

It’s a great piece of deft and delicate pop and it is honest and emotive. But more than that it is the sound of music moving forward and lighting the way for pop’s potential.

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