Little Simz - NO THANK YOU Music Album Reviews

Little Simz - NO THANK YOU Music Album Reviews
Accolades be damned, the UK star blasts a music industry that has left her feeling drained, adding her voice to a chorus of Black British artists pushing back against the status quo.

Little Simz did everything she was supposed to. She worked hard, minded her own business, built a fanbase on a string of acclaimed releases. When the time came, she lasered in and made a bold, thematic album with a clear arc—a shoo-in for the coveted Mercury Prize, which she picked up in October. There were other honors too. She smiled and said “Thank you” when she was handed the prize for Best New Artist at February’s BRIT Awards, despite being 12 years and four studio albums into a well-documented career. She showed up to the cover shoots, wore designers on the red carpet, nattered at the afterparty. She clung to independence, and exalted its values, even as her distributor AWAL—an initialism of Artists Without a Label—sold out to Sony Music for a cool $430 million. She shouldered the pain of cancelling U.S. shows after the numbers didn’t add up. But now, she’s had enough. On NO THANK YOU she stashes the fanfare and goes back to rap basics, blasting the industry that will claim to have made her but in reality has left her drained. In doing so, she adds her voice to a chorus of Black British artists whose calls for reparations are only getting louder.

When Saul Williams laid out his blistering “List of Demands” back in 2004, there was pent-up rage in the chugging beat and his exasperated delivery. Simz channels the same anger, but her tack is different. From the patter of drums and looping coos that open the album on “Angel,” you’d be forgiven for expecting lullabies or love songs; but with her aim trained on the suits, Simz is unsparing: “They don’t care if your mental is on the brink of something dark/As long as you’re cutting somebody’s payslip/And sending their kids to private school in a spaceship,” she raps in a tight volley, before asking, “Did I stutter?” In seeing how far fame and its accordant trappings can drag art from its purpose, she appears to have found an answer to the question that dominated the Mercury-crowned Sometimes I Might Be Introvert: “Simz the artist or Simbi the person?” Turns out there was never any need to split the difference—and so she lets rip. “You don’t even recognize who it is that you’re becoming/They don’t give a shit, long as the gravy train running,” she spits, coolly, on “Heart on Fire,” her disillusionment distilled into the image of industry parties where the music can’t be heard over the din of people talking shop.

Childhood friend and longtime collaborator Inflo is at the helm across all 10 tracks. His deft touches were threaded through Sometimes I Might Be Introvert and 2019’s GREY Area, and he had a brush with the spotlight’s glare when he was tapped to work on Adele’s 30, but he’s generated the most intrigue for his work at the center of the mellifluous—and mysterious—musical collective SAULT, who have captivated an increasingly cultish audience with their run of rangy R&B albums and apparent willingness to discard industry playbooks (dropping five free, password-protected LPs with no more fanfare than a tweet being just the latest example). Often, NO THANK YOU sounds like a SAULT record fronted by Simz—see the gospel swells on “Broken,” or the slick, cool-as-fuck, plucked-bass bop of “Gorilla”—not only because of the palette of satin strings and funky drums, but because of the charming confidence and faith in collaboration that seep through, as they do on all of SAULT’s transformative records. There’s a lightness to Simz’ tender explorations of Black fatherhood, the failure of her community to help those struggling with mental crises, and the slippery loss of solidarity across economic divides on “Broken.” Sometimes the production’s soft edges can belie the bite of the words, but overall it’s a pairing that brims with possibility.

NO THANK YOU isn’t the first time Simz has channeled pain or frustration through her pen. In 2019, she described the writing process for GREY Area as like attending therapy—but without going “to sit on someone else’s sofa and dish out my issues to a stranger so they could charge me by the minute.” The killing of her friend Harry Uzoka—stabbed to death in 2018—hung as an unsettling shroud over that album. Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’s potency was pricked with self-doubt. Here, Harry is the opener’s titular angel “listening from heaven on repeat” as Simz discovers clarity, along with the power of saying “no.” By the end, she sounds exhausted. But she’s no less steeled against her situation—the lines more clearly drawn, she doesn’t stutter. Fuck the spaceship school runs.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Little Simz - NO THANK YOU Music Album Reviews Little Simz - NO THANK YOU Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 26, 2022 Rating: 5


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