Singles Of The Month: February 2018
Half Waif ‘Keep It Out’
Nandi Rose Plunkett aka Half Waif really knows how to hit you right in the feels. In ‘Keep It Out’ two sides of herself battle against one another - one side yearns to be vulnerable, to bear all to a new partner, and the other feels compelled to self-protect. Despite the tension between the two sides, Plunkett’s vocal delivery is soft, and the guitar line she sings over is subtle and warm, as though she's resolved, ultimately, to be kind to herself through it all.
Sevdaliza ‘Soul Syncable’
Sevdaliza is the reigning queen of everything slinky and sensual, and on ‘Soul Syncable’ she proves how deserving of her crown she really is. Lush, sweeping strings give way to a trip-hop beat, reminiscent of Massive Attack at their most brooding. The writhing instrumental and pitch-shifted vocals combine to create something elemental. She delivers riddling lyrics breathily, but still with such latent muscularity that she sounds as though she’s summoning something from the depths, beckoning the listener closer to take a look. It’s a heady, hypnotic ride, but one we're totally willing to succumb to.
Raye ‘Cigarette (feat Mabel, Stefflon Don)
Over the course of her short career, Raye’s perfected the art of light-as-air bouncy bops. Last year’s ex-boyfriend baiting ‘Decline’ set the scene for a return to the dating scene, and sure enough, now that Raye’s put the phone down on her ex for the last time, she’s got a new boy to play with on ’Cigarette’. It’s an absolute tune and that's got us craving a little sun just so we can blast it at full volume out of a car window.
George The Poet, Maverick Sabre, Jorja Smith ‘Follow The Leader’
‘Follow The Leader’ is the first single from spoken-word artist George The Poet since 2016, and it’s definitely been worth the wait. This record is about as noughties as it comes, particularly reminiscent of Mike Skinner’s Original Pirate Material, although Maverick Sabre and Jorja Smith help steer it back into 2018. Straight away the track hits a production sweet spot with Sabre’s choral vocals drifting in the background, and although Smith’s contributions feel comparatively minor, her duet with Sabre on the chorus gives the track the depth it needs.
Wiley ‘Been A While’
Has it ‘Been A While’ though Wiley? Studio album Godfather (his 11th!) came out January last year. Whilst some speculated that Godfather was a final farewell, Wiley shows no intention of slowing down, and why should he? ‘Been a While’ proves to us Wiley is still at the top of his game. The chorus is typically catchy but it’s the production that has us swooning - synth brass playing call and response with choral chanting is a particular highlight. Hopefully, we'll get more of the same with the release of Godfather II later this month.
Janelle Monáe ‘Make Me Feel’
Janelle Monáe is up there with Donald Glover as one of those supremely talented humans that make us feel supremely ordinary. Not only has her acting career exploded over the last few years (hello, starring roles Hidden Figures and Moonlight) Monáe also has her eyes on Bruno Mars’ funk crown and ‘Make Me Feel’ is a worthy contender. Comparisons to Prince’s ‘Kiss’ have come thick and fast but no doubt this is a great record on its own merits. This track oozes the confidence of a woman taking the world by storm.