Review by Sean Lynch
RIYL: FKA Twigs, Beyonce, Alicia Keys
Recommended Tracks: Track 1: “Younger”, Track 2: “Pretend”, Track 7: “Sorry”
Seinabo Sey’s new album Pretend presents itself as a grab bag of different pop influences. The Swedish artist who was voted best newcomer during the Swedish Grammy awards is making big strides towards the top of the charts.The album mixes analog with classical instrumentation to give both a nostalgic and current feel. The album’s strength comes with its emotion-driven vocals that light up the darkest of places.
“Younger” originally came out two years ago on her first album For Madeleine but seems to be the perfect track to start the album. Going with looping synths, the song swirls around and brings Sey’s vocals front and center. The use of classical instruments along with analog creates a great mixture of old and new, adding some special sound to the track. Towards the end of the album, there are different interpretations of the song, including a remix from Kygo as well as an acoustic version of the song.
“Pretend”, which is the titular track off of the album, gives the most vocal power to the song. Sey shows her range on the song ranging from a higher-pitched, shrill sound to a lower-pitched, soft-sounding vocals. The track also takes piece from Björk with high-pitch vocal cuts throughout the song. The dance-inspired beat keeps the track’s high energy going on until its conclusion.
“Sorry” comes off as one of the most emotion-driven songs off the album. The orchestral arrangement depresses the song and creates a somber state. Sey’s vocals cut deep and tug at the heartstrings from their sad tone. Changing up the emotion of the album, the song shows how Sey can be versatile with the emotions she uses in her songs.
Pretend caters to the touching aspect of music. Sey’s vocals bring out a whole spectrum of emotions through her hearty voice. The instrumentation changes the sound of each track to give it its own unique emotional twist and gives the vocals some backbone and structure. The performance on each track presents an artist giving it all through her vocals, truly showing the definition of soul music. Even at the conclusion of 16 tracks, the album still should leave listeners begging for an encore.