miQa.el Releases New Music

Swedish country music star Hicks has enjoyed top-drawer success for some time. He has over 160,000 Spotify streams and an assortment of Swedish #1 hits along with Platinum and Gold selling songs. He isn’t resting on his laurels, far from it, and instead proves he’s still hungry for reinvention.

Thus he’s jettisoned the Hicks persona. Miqael Persson has, instead, adopted the moniker miQa.el going forward from here and it’s much more than a cosmetic change. “Walking Medicine”, instead, represents the Swedish performer taking a whole new look at his art and emerging with a voice that is familiar, yet new.

Much stays the same as before. “Walking Medicine” has an obvious fidelity to the country music style, favoring tradition over glossy pop tinsel, but it doesn’t stop there. The gentle opening segues into a bold and decidedly pop-flavored chorus without ever pandering for the listeners’ attention. He isn’t working with a full band with this song, it feels like a solo effort in spirit and practice, but it doesn’t hold him back.

“Walking Medicine” is robust without sounding overblown. The acoustic guitar and unorthodox percussion are the scene setters early on and never relinquish their influence. miQa.el’s approach to percussion is ad-hoc more than someone sitting behind the kit; it isn’t difficult imagining him stomping on the floor in accompaniment or else knocking his knuckles against his guitar body. It serves its purpose rather than ever sounding ornamental.  

There’s a lot to love about the seamless way he incorporates backing vocals into the track. Their first appearance has unbelievable smoothness and flawlessly syncs with his voice. It is in these moments, among others, that the song’s country music pedigree burns brightest. There’s an almost anthemic quality that the backing vocals bring to “Walking Medicine” and miQa.el never explores it in a crass or heavy-handed manner.

It happens naturally and feels honest. The song feels and sounds like something intensely personal that he’s dredged up from deep within and never risks obscurity. Any adult hearing this song and its lyrics will relate, to some degree, with its message and many of those same listeners will take away different things from “Walking Medicine”. Much like all the great songs, it is a wide-open listening experience for the audience and doesn’t dictate the terms of engagement.

Like other great songs, as well, it is malleable. It isn’t difficult imagining him adapting this song for live performance as there’s an inherent elasticity in the writing that allows room for interpretation. No one could have written “Walking Medicine” except miQa.el and his unique ability to echo the past while still forging into the future sets him apart.

It always will. His songwriting under the new guise of miQa.el has the sort of qualities that posterity favors. We can expect he will continue developing along these lines for years to come but rest assured that there always be more changes to come. He will never lose his identity, however, and it will always shine through in songs such as this.

Michael Rand

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