[Music Review] Milo & Otis “The Joy”

The Joy cover artI was somewhere in a library, cranking out a report, when I decided to check in on one of my all time favorite blogs,  Fly. That’s how I stumbled upon this gem of an album! I never thought to do a review, until today. Before I do though, let me give you a little background information about the duo.

Milo and Otis, met at Brown University, but decided to wait 5 years to make music, because “what the fuck do kids know about music?” Before enrolling at Brown, Otis had already graduated from Harvard University at the tender age of 16. Ain’t that neat? Meanwhile our girl Milo, was already at Brown getting her read on, and is now a lawyer. Oh yeah, she also performs poetry under the moniker, Jamila Wood. Want to learn more about them, here is the magic key! 

[HIGH ALERT] Their music, is the kind that is usually termed as  being weird and promptly dismissed by the mainstream. They describe their sound  as “someone else’s heartbeat when they give you a hug.”

Can’t Stop Now, has a Tom and Jerry animated sound to it that I completely fell in love with.  See, there is a difference between falling in love, being in love, and loving somebody. It’s  a process, right? Well, that is exactly, methodically how the process worked for me, with this opening number. The sound/production, was kept playful and light which I fell in love with upon first hear. Then when I took note of the lyrics, of which I’m going to give a sneak preview below, I was just encapsuled by the love, and could not let go! It’s official, I love this album,errrm, I meant to say song, got carried away.

Who says everybody gotta know 
What they meant to do in this world 
All I know is what I got in my head

Forgot to mention that, the  song is gloriously uplifting and positive in message deliverance. It is about going after your dreams full fledged tenancity that is not clouded in remorse or hidden in guilt. Those that may have different dreams for you will just have to deal, and deal they will, or should I say I did.

This provides, a beautiful segue to Black Sheep which has an uptempo beat, humor, and snark-just how I like my tea! Milo touches on a point many natural haired sistas, can relate to or have come across, somebody wanting to touch their hair, especially when it is out in a fro. She re-visits that classic nursery rhyme, “Bah, bah, black sheep, have you any wool”. Wool to symbolize hair. Sistergal, ain’t about that “hairline safari”, she snarkily sings, “No you can’t fucking touch it”.  I love her tude! Keep your hands to yourselves folks. But more importantly, this song addresses a major issue, image-especially for us, black women. The media is very one dimensional in promoting this lily white, waif, long straight hair image [Ms. EY’s words, not Milo’s] and she singlehandedly with this song, humorously rejects that notion with

I rock my pick with a fist on the daily 
Cause I ain’t Rapunzel I don’t need a prince to save me

Ars Poetica, was very different. I loved it, but I’m going to be honest, I was really clueless as to what they were talking about. I’m not going to split hairs with this one. Folks, you are very much welcome to help decipher the lyrics. Kai, provided much needed insight, by stating that it had an ol school feel, but with a mordernesque vibe to it. It really is a mashup of soul, rnb, jazz, urban,acoustic, folk. The good thing about it is,  it is not too busy, it actually has a calming effect. 

Tiny Soldiers, made me want to ululate! It has a Latin/come here let’s samba, groovy vibe. The background harmonies are absolutely spectacular.  If you can’t get over a heartbreak, this is definitely a song written with you in mind. Milo, is waging a war against retaining memories of a relationship gone south. That’s why she has tiny soldiers in the frontlines of her mind, ready to wage a war against any thought of him!

Lift me up is a pick me up song, that carries forth into a new and fresh chapter of love. It starts with a dramatic strings, which elecrifies and intrigues, later transitioning into a groovy soul set with a  hypnotic base .This is a collobration with one, Chance the Rapper, who is suave with his opening line, “I wanna kiss you on your band-aids”, and pretty much the rest of his lines! He was spitting that sweet nothing poetry that is not contrived, kinda cheesy but well intentioned, no hidden agenda!

Remember Troy Davis. They did  a sombre ode in his remembrance. I found it strangely misplaced. I’d venture to say, an unnecessary cut in the album. 

They pay homage to their academic roots, through a grimy, raw RnB song, entitled Providence. Their love for the city is captured in the lyrics:

In love with Providence 
Draw a map of the city on my skin 
What would that feel like? 

(Kiss on cheekbone, Rain on cobblestone)

IOU is that jam!! It begins with sort of a trance like, spiritual humming. I think  it is my favorite song! Yo! This song had me bobbing my head, reminiscing, aaah! Yes. Somebody owes her, love. She has come ready to collect her due [love!]. If you know anything about  finance,  iou is a non-negotiable instrument.  Baby girl, ain’t leaving without her love. Mmmmmh. Yes lawwwwwwd!

The Covenant, is a great follow up in terms of beat and theme. She is caught up with the wrong one, and is in love with another.

Art of the Toast.  This is an explicit song, in terms of emotions being laid out bare. In it, she comes to learn that the guy she was smitten with, was in fact , as per his confessions, just in it for the sex. However, he is very apologetic, and realizes his mistakes. Back then, he was young and immature, now he sees his manipulative ways.

The album closes out with Joy. In it she counsels somebody close to her, encouraging her telling her, “you’ll find a new love”! 


This was a very solid album, with that one exception that I pointed out. I hope to see these two, go mainstream, but pray that their sound is not compromised to fit the standard. 

Rating 10/10, 






3 thoughts on “[Music Review] Milo & Otis “The Joy”

  1. I like the fact that this is not dub step (as every song that’s being released now has). It’s something you can just vibe to. Having a bad day, listen to their album.

  2. Nice review. never heard of them but this duo sounds intense. I was like what tha hell is this? definitely different.

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