"Ex-Factor": Ms. Lauryn Hill
Production: Ms. Lauryn Hill
Album: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Although it's difficult to say anything particularly new about The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, it's perhaps still worth discussing what it is about the songs on this legendary album that have us returning to them time and time again. ‘Ex-Factor’ in particular is arguably pretty iconic in its own right, with artists such as Drake and Cardi B sampling it in recent years for its catchy melody and repetitive lyrics. Beyond its catchiness though, this song is achingly vulnerable in its exploration of a broken relationship and the longing to repair it, a feeling heightened by its sampling of Wu Tang’s ‘Can It Be All So Simple’.
Whilst the lyrics are beautiful in themselves, it is Hill’s delivery of them- in her agile contralto voice- that impressively emphasises their poignancy. In addition, the subtle continuity of the shimmering sound effect from the opening, gentle piano throughout and powerful electric guitar solo towards the end, makes this song all the more memorable and one that never fails to move me.