Alternative Electro-Pop/Rock Singer/Songwriter Haiqeem (Al H. Muhammad II) was born in Oklahoma City, OK. It wasn’t until his family moved to Dallas and he entered a singing contest at the age of eleven, that he fueled his obsession with performance, lyric, and song.
Throughout his childhood he took small gigs around town looking for opportunities to compete in local talent shows. At the age of fifteen, Haiqeem decided to pursue music as a career and began writing lyrics for his indie debut Nothing Sweeter (2010). Haiqeem searched the entire Dallas area for songwriters, joining and leaving four bands (due to the members not agreeing on specific terms), before settling into a solo career. This is what the singer refers to as; “wearing one’s heart on your sleeve, and choosing to force yourself into the public eye.”
The album “Finally Over You” is Haiqeem’s third solo album. I confess to not having heard the previous two albums, but even if I did it, I doubt it would help in completely understanding Haiqeem’s complex, moody, and sometimes dissonant performances. Haiqeem is an eclectic rock artist to say the least. He draws major inspiration from the grunge and indie rock arena of the 90’s and mixes it (maybe subconsciously) with eccentricities you would find in works by Frank Zappa and a few underground alternative punk bands from the 80’s.
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It’s clearly evident from the pre-mentioned description, that Haiqeem’s music is an explosive mix of unconventional singing over conventional beats and straight pop-rock rhythms. It’s a peculiar blend of layers of detuned vocals and perfectly tuned music. These are sounds that verge on the edge of sanity, where the musical compositions are more like provocations than simple arrangements.
Haiqeem’s special brand of dissonant and dark pop-rock, requires special listeners and is not intended for the faint-hearted or melody seeking ear. Haiqeem bludgeons his way into the rock and roll world, courtesy of bizarre vocal arrangements swathing in dis-harmonic screams, moans, whispers, and croons. However, far from being nothing but a distorted shriek, he somehow manages to work in bits of beauty and solid beats.
Once you get over the shock, that this album sounds as though it may have been composed at midnight, in the bedroom of a songwriting genius, with the help of a kilo of crack and a crate of cold beer, you may finally find the courage to run through the track list. Seven tracks consisting of “The Fact,” “What More(Tonight),” “I Feel You,” “Penance,” “Done Dreaming,” “We Got” and “Still I Fly,” are all conceived to push your music listening experience to the limit. I won’t choose any highlights, as fans who appreciate Haiqeem, would be independently minded, and not require any spoon-feeding, which ultimately belongs to the decadent mainstream music world.
Haiqeem manages to simultaneously deliver an immediate pure noise thrill, whilst ceaselessly pushing the boundary of popular music. If anything, he is seeking innovation and giving so called ‘alternative music’ a wake-up call and solid kick up the ass.
Bottom line; this experimental alt-rock album is harsh. “Finally Over You” is a style of music in itself. You don’t have to like it, you don’t have to rave about, but you definitely have to listen to it.
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