Monday, March 21, 2011

Dreamin' that you would be good for me

I'm officially on board the Sky Ferreira bandwagon.

Though she's had enjoyable tracks before, I'm taken aback by just how much I'm won over by the young American singer's delivery of the songs on her new As If! EP. Even on a frothy, messy trifle like "99 Tears," Sky holds the whole thing together by--well, perhaps not force of personality yet, but through the emotions that slip through. Just listen to the surprisingly grown-up way the sometimes-Lolita sings "don't you know that" and "karma karma" in the song's bridge. It's a small detail, but it's the sort of thing I mean when I refer to someone as a good singer: not necessarily technical range (though supposedly Sky has that, too) but the capability of inducing surprising little shivers down your spine with what they convey through tone.

"99 Tears," produced by Greg Kurstin, is a fun listen, but for my money, the two standout tracks on the EP are "Traces" and "Haters Anonymous." "Haters Anonymous" is the sound of Bloodshy & Avant messing around with skittery electro again, though this time they've melded that upgraded "Piece of Me" sound, channeled through Sky muttering about Internet commenter culture in the verses and a robo-voiced middle eight, with a surprisingly innocent-sounding big poppy chorus.

"Traces," co-written by rising singer-songwriters Neon Hitch and Colin Munroe, leaked in low quality months ago, but what a difference crystal-clear audio makes. A song I previously disregarded has revealed itself to be one of those big emotional electronic mid-tempos I so adore, the kind where you feel dragged down by the heaviness of each deep, measured beat. It's the sort of song to make you forget all about Sky's interview persona and fall head-over-heels for this girl who shouldn't have fallen in love with a boy.

I've felt let down recently by a usually reliable singer who, despite a couple of great singles and a pair of enjoyable tracks, delivered an album that even her special pop voice couldn't stop from feeling soulless. I'm not ready to give up on her--I never will--and the plethora of Sky songs we've heard have varied too greatly in quality for me to count on her as pop's next great thing, but there are moments on As If! that indicate Sky could, if given the chance, develop into something special. Let's hope the commercial stumbling blocks she's faced so far don't stop that from happening--the world may need another great popstar sooner than we think.

As of tomorrow, residents of the U.S. will be able to buy Sky Ferreira's As If! EP here (digital).


Anonymous said...

I really like it and as always just when it seems like it's going nowhere Sky comes back with some great new songs. I hope Sky and 'her people' make a proper effort launching her in to mainstream success.

Poster Girl said...

That's spot-on. Every time I think I'm ready to give up on the whole project anywhere, she lures me back in. I'm not sure if anything can make Sky "happen" in a mainstream way in the U.S., but I hope I'm wrong about that.