tue 24/05/2022

Albums of the Year 2021: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2021: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Albums of the Year 2021: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Two very different British female artists share a love of the power of words

It was two female artists who mainly soundtracked 2021 for me. And they couldn’t be more different. Although Off Off One by Kate Stables (aka This is the Kit) was recorded just before Covid changed everything, there are some ominous mentions in the lyrics of infection, coughing and hospital. But we’re not dealing with something maudlin or doom laden here, far from it. There’s a sly wit and quietly surreal joy to  Stables’ gorgeously melodic pop songs.

Yes, ‘pop’ not ‘alt folk’ or whatever the critics call it. I believe Staples would have been as big as Kate Bush in the 1970s, an era when even the most uncatagorisable artist  belonged in the mainstream as long their songs had strong hooks and melodies.

Over on the other side of the tracks Simbiatu Abisola Abiola Ajikawo (aka Little Simz) pours her heart out in quite a different way. Whereas Stables savours every word individually, measuring their weight, colour, absurdity or sensuality, delivering them like a prayer or spell (‘Corinthian’, ‘crumbling’, ‘rocks’, ‘soil’), Little Simz machine-guns them out, making you work to keep up (‘But if you can't feel pain then you can't feel the opposite, The fight between the Yin and Yang's a fight you'll never win’).

And while Sometimes I Might Be Introvert doesn’t work a hundred percent as a cohesive whole (also it’s too long and marred by some unnecessary spoken-word interludes), its sheer ambition, soul-baring honesty and musical scope challenges us not to hand her the Album of the Year gold medal. From the opening marching-band snare beats and there’s-a-storm-a-coming orchestra and choir of ‘Introvert’ you’re informed this girl is taking no prisoners. For my money, much rap is just hectored with a backbeat, but when Little Simz put an amusing twist on the generic rapper’s propensity for extravagant boasting on the 1918 tune "Offence" by topping off a comprehensive list of her best qualities by proclaiming that she gets a birthday cake even when it’s not her birthday, I instantly became a fan.

So after all that, Stables and Simbi (as her family and friends call her) do have something in common: an ability to be witty, angry and compassionate, sometimes all at the same time, as they strive to reach a state of grace through hard won wisdom.

Two More Essential Albums of 2021

Sons of Kemet - Black To The Future
Justin Adams & Mauro Durante - Still Moving

Musical Experiences of the Year

I had to wait until December, but when it finally arrived – ‘cannonballin’ down from the sky’ – it was heralded by those familiar finger clicks that, amazingly – after over 60 decades – don’t come across as clichéd in the slightest. Yes, against all expectations, Spielberg’s West Side Story is everything Robert Wise’s film was and more. The other four people in the cinema not scared off by Covid agreed, clapping enthusiastically as the credits rolled.

Track of the Year Little Simz – Point and Kill

Its sheer ambition, soul-baring honesty and musical scope challenges us not to hand her the Album of the Year gold medal

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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