Kehlani, St. Vincent rock the charts
Kehlani – SweetSexySavage
Billboard declared Oakland native Kehlani's SweetSexySavage the best album by an LGBT+ artist in 2017, and it's easy to see why. From the powerful spoken word intro, wherein she proclaims herself "a superwoman," it's clear she has something to say, and her presence bids you listen.
The first track Keep On, has Kehlani owning up to all her shortcomings, singing "You just keep on taking me back, and I don't know why you do." It sets the tone and moves on to explorations of casual flings, forbidden romances, overcoming hopeless struggle and believing in her self-worth – at the expense of all others if need be.
Kehlani's harmonies blend seamlessly with the 90’s-inspired grooves, and the album feels nostalgic and fresh at once. She can give radio-friendly divas like Rihanna a serious run for their money while simultaneously recalling delicious 90’s radio staples like a young Robyn.
Kehlani shows all the glorious sides of herself on SweetSexySavage, and it's a blistering triumph.
St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
On her new release, Tulsa-born Annie Clark, better known to the world as St. Vincent, makes a deliberate and decided move into the pop realm, with gorgeous results.
The album opens with a quiet little buzzer pleading the listener to just stick with her. Beats join the foray quickly while Clark sings deceptively happy lyrics about being pilled-out. She relates the “pills, pills, pills” to her endless touring and relentless work schedule, but one can’t help noting it’s also a coy skewering of our patient-as-consumer culture.
The album serves sex in spades, from the ass-bearing cover to the dripping synthesizers adorning most of the tracks. But there’s still a core of vulnerability, as shown on the poignant Happy Birthday, Johnny and New York, perhaps the album’s finest song.
With MASSEDUCTION, Annie Clark is poised to take over the world, one wink at a time.
The Gayly. February 4, 2018. 10:00 a.m. CST.