All The Single Ladies: Week #2 - Jones, Stalking Gia, Bishat, Maribelle & Norah Jones

JONES - Air 

Maybe "Melt" was a little too warm? Especially for a scorcher of a summer where it feels like you're getting heat zapped in a microwave set to high every time you take one step outside of your door. So JONES has given us all a little 'breathing room' from the stifle, and is blessing us with some "Air". Nice cool air. Ahhhh. A real cool-relax cut this is even in its laments ("All my senses they're dying away, lying helpless / Brittle to the touch / Crystal turned to dust / I know I’m living, but I'm breathing cold air") and its sleet shower of synths. "Air" is featured on 37 Adventures' Odd Numbers Volume 1, an upcoming collection of "one-offs" curated from the indie label's roster --- so expect some more gems like this one to be present.

Stalking Gia - Second Nature

"Poolside Pop" is what this is dubbed as and the accuracy of that is a definite bulls-eye. Swathed in supple synths, this track lounges in its lushness, even its slip n' slide bass line feels relaxed. Powerhouse pop is this newbie singer-songwriter from NYC has drawn attention by, as singles "War Paint" and "Born Free" belong in the same high-def confidence camp as Katy Perry. "Second Nature" takes a detour off that technicolored brick road and delivers something a little more intricate and unique., something that sets her away from such predictability. This may be a plush ode to summer lovin', but this is really a song about overthinking and anxieties (two things I could win all the Olympic gold medals in) as you can hear in Stalking Gia's coos that she's on that edge, wondering if she's in over her head or already too far deep into the chlorine to care.

Bishat - Mine 

Straight outta Sweden comes Bishat, and she's all about dipping her R&B into the inkiest of wells. She's getting comparisons to Shura, Lykke Li and Jessie Ware, which is sorta kinda accurate if you squint, but better applied when you listen to the mechanical workings of her proper first single, "Sober". While having a tuff pop exterior that contrasts well with Bishat's sweetened vocals, what's going on in the interior of "Mine" is a little bit different, a little more Noir-ish, that blends vulnerability with assertiveness with an even hand.

Penthouse (feat. Maribelle) - About You 

Its the celestial powers that be that have aligned Los Angeles' cult group, Penthouse and Crush Club Records' signee, Maribelle to exactness. No flaws do I hear in "About You", its a fun little jammy that I missed out on covering earlier this year. What's weird is that I've 'heard' this song before, not in exact terms, but this track rips some pages out of Kandi Burress and Kevin "She'kspere" Briggs production playbook as rides on skittish, percolating rhythms and sugar dusted soprano vocals a la Mya and Mariah Carey. Not that I'm complaining --- things have been getting kind of early 2000s around here with Pokemon making a comeback and Blink-182 getting a #1 song --- but this time 'round, I get to enjoy that era with a little less teen awkwardness.

Norah Jones - Carry On

I haven't exactly warmed to a lot of Norah Jones' material outside of her 2002 debut, the new classic Come Away With Me, but I always keep checking back because from time to time she'll produce a jewel that deserves a little closer examination. "Carry On" is such a jewel to covet, as it doesn't need much to effectively draw on emotion and warm the heart. It's gentle and sweet and sways on the soft side of Southern-tinged soul --- harmless it all is and just a nice little curveball amid all the electronic synth beats I keep listening to. Though her foray into experimental music was a interesting turn, I'm glad that Norah is returning to tinkling the ivories as her upcoming Day Breaks project (out October 7th) is just going to be all about her and her piano, with Wayne Shorter, Brian Blade, and Lonnie Smith as featured guests.
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