Amber Mark’s second EP Conexão proves an enticing follow-up to last year’s 3.33am. Similar to its predecessor, this four-track EP is brimming with emotion. Where 3.33am broods with introversion, Conexão is resiliently extroverted. It is the eighth stage of grief: reconnecting with the ups and downs of new love.
The opening title track is both sultry and inviting, though stylistically a bit divergent from the sound on 3.33am. It’s clear Mark makes deliberate effort to pull from a wide array of influence. Heavily bossa nova-inspired, “Conexão” purposefully honors Mark’s love for the style growing up. In contrast to the relaxing grooves, Mark’s words focus on the electricity and excitement of physical connection or “conexão.” Her sense of infatuation is clear. She resonates strongly in the way she highlights the very common (and very human) tendency of letting everything else in life slip when new love enters—“There’s a time and place for everything.”
Lead single “Love Me Right” has all the signature chord progression, uplifting dreamwaves and dance breaks that make Mark a rising star in R&B. Her voice stings of disempowerment: not feeling loved “the right way,” but being frustrated waiting for her love to realize it.
Mark is well suited to take on Sade’s “Love Is Stronger Than Pride,” originally released in 1988. It’s easy to hear similarities between Mark and the beloved sophisti-pop star, given their parallel vocal styles and musical leanings. Moreover, the subject of the song is something Mark is well equipped to represent: acknowledging and admitting that the futility of love requires comfort with vulnerability. Mark lovingly takes the comparison head on. “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” gets a heavy kick drum backbone and dreamy choral melody, adding fullness to the sound without sacrificing the etherealness of the original. It’s a great fit amidst Mark’s original fare.
As the final track, “All the Work” neatly ties the EP together stylistically. It’s bossa nova meets disco. A staccato chorus echoes fierce rejections at an old flame: “Now that I, I put in all the work / Down in all the dirt / You want to try, to say that you and I / Should get back to how we were.” She ends on a solidly confident note, braced and ready for whatever comes next. So are we.