Madi Diaz’s discography is filled with songs that fit into the typical indie music aesthetic, which has gotten her commercial play in television shows and the likes. While Phantom does not deviate from this classification, she does attempt something different on this offering, which although not ultimately successful, shows promise for the future.
Phantom remains true to her usual subject matter of love and relationships, with the first half of the album possessing a light, pop tone. The first five tracks are composed of music that subscribe to the tropes of mainstream pop accompanied with mediocre lyrics on relationships and love. This is a tad bit disappointing but isn’t anything the skip button can’t fix.
Unique and interesting innovations begin to appear on the second half however, with the song “Ghost Rider.” The track opens with a dark, hazy sound, which draws the listener in. The majority of the tracks in this later half like “Ghost Rider,” “The Other Side,” “Pictures,” and “Ashes” are darker with regards to their sound, and the lyrics become more poetic. The characteristic simplicity of mainstream pop that was prominent in the first half begins to dissipate here.
A major fault of this album is the ineffectiveness of the structuring. Although the majority of the songs in the second half are cohesive in their sounds, tracks like “Wide” and “White Lightning” stand out badly as overly light, which removes the listener from the atmosphere developed throughout the earlier tracks.
Moving on from the unnecessary respite of these two songs, the final track on the album “Ashes” is a major standout. The hollow sound of the music and the haunting voice of Diaz, coupled with the poetic quality of the lyrics (“Run through the arrows/Let the reins fall behind you”), help establish honest emotions this beautiful song about the destructive power of love deserves.
Phantom, despite being a good offering, is riddled with major faults like poor structuring and poor quality of certain songs. These ills prevent it from being the record it has the potential to be, but while Diaz fails in creating a cohesive quality album, she also displays the potential of her talent. Her best is yet to come.