Sivia has done it again with her latest single Serene. The type of music she makes scratches so many itches for me (for a lack of better words). I love the gospel feeling with the choir and organs. Towards the end of the track, it feels like a Disney track in a way. And that could be due to her doing Reflection with other fellow singers for the movie Mulan. And at other times, it feels like I’m listening to a smooth jazz track from the 90s. It’s weird, but amazing how she can get all of this out in 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
Going to the song, it looks like she’s asking if she’s mature enough to feel the warmth of this hug and more broadly all of the feelings she’s experiencing in this relationship. She goes through all this to ask in the end if the other person will stay and fall in love or not. Could be wrong as I’m getting a Google Translate of the lyrics and it does seem like she’s singing a lot more than what I’ve translated. I can say this and it goes for all of her songs. There is a lot of emotion she gives in her songs. I may not understand, but when I say she sings to my soul, you better believe it. Ever since being aware of her last year, I always get excited to hear her sing because every performance just captures you.
We are almost at the end of another week and being a brand new dad again doesn’t afford me a lot of time, but we are just getting it in before the end of day. Starting off with Sivia and she is back again with her latest single Serene. We have a live version of Latanya Alberto performing with Metropole Orkest doing a cover of D’Angelo’s Really Love. And we have some future funk with Playa Limbo and their latest track Multicolor. Please enjoy this week’s playlist
Frei brings out a different side from SIVIA in the single Can We? From SIVIA’s debut album, you hear a more soulful voice with lots of instrumentation and choir behind her. However, Frei was able to get her to express a more intimate style of R&B which is what’s called for from this production. You still get that same emotion in her singing style and it’s all in English at that. I wonder if the production was calling for English as opposed to singing in her native language, but personally she does it well in both.
SIVIA has a cover of Can We Talk by Tevin Campbell, so I know this style of R&B with a blend of smooth jazz is in her wheelhouse. If this is an expansion of SIVIA’s sound, I am all in on the ride.
I think we can label Francesco Yates as a “smooth brother” with his latest single Dive. Last year he released his EP Superbad which I thought was a great project and we all awaited to hear what the next step was. He took a great first step in this song showing us that velvety, soothing voice of his. If you are into double entendres, then Francesco has made an entire song on just how much he can do in the bedroom just for you. He teeters on the edge, but avoids the need to be explicit with the language and that shows good songwriting. There’s a time and place for everything, but personally, if you can get your point across without the need of saying the exact word (like sex) then it’s more impressive.
I mentioned on twitter on how he and Victoria Monet should do a “professional” Dive collab since their songs are about the same thing but hearing it from two different perspectives. Maybe there was some inspiration obtained or the closeness of the releases was just all a coincidence.
SIVIA – Are You My Valentine?
Indonesia is a better country for having SIVIA flourishing the way she has been over the past year with the release of her debut album Love Spells and she’s back at it with Are You My Valentine. Her style of soul really speaks to me and when I heard the guitars, the organs, and her just humming along, I knew I was in for a treat. When you can count how many days you were in a relationship that just wasn’t going anywhere (730 days per the song), saying things like moving on with someone else without a plan may make sense. This is a song that says Love will find a way to make you whole despite your past situations. It’s a feel good song from SIVIA and she makes it feel so personal, intimate, and relatable. I felt that as she was getting to the bridge of the song and you felt that emotion from her.
Natnael – Seigmenn ft. Isah
Context is key especially when it comes to listening to songs in a different language. So when I first heard Seigmenn from Natnael and Isah, I thought it was just a nice bop and vibe that I really liked. When you get to the lyrics, the music video makes more sense. And if you can speak and understand Norwegian, of course you get it, but I didn’t even know that the title was a candy brand which relates to the lyrics in a more sexual way. Now I get everything and I’m like, oh this is nice. One thing in particular from Natnael, his style of singing reminds me a lot of The Weeknd and it stood out especially during the pre-chorus. Isah came in during the second half and was more aggressive in his lyrics so there is a nice play off them both on how they approach the concept of candy and sugar.
Falana – Joy
Toronto artist Falana sings about motivation and gratitude in her latest song Joy. The afrobeat vibes are so perfect for the lyrical content because of how upbeat it is. Here is this potion from the second verse:
Sometimes I sit and wonder
Things that could have been
But it don’t even matter
Cause every day’s a win
Falana – Joy
That is the kind of words that people need to hear every day, to include the past year and months during the pandemic. The energy that Falana gives makes your heart be filled as she is singing throughout the song.
What is nice is the themes carry over to the music video where you get a journey of this little boy carrying these balloons in town which ends up with this couple, with one of the two extremely happy to see. Just to see the reaction from her was the payoff from seeing how we got to that point. We even see the little boy being well compensated for his role. The dancers were on point in their routines and Falana was a joy to see in the different shots and gave us some dancing as well. It’s a great song to listen to.
I wonder if Sivia knows just how good this album is. Love Spells might be one of the best adult contemporary albums this year. Oh my goodness I can listen to this album all day.
I first got hip to Sivia when her single Love Jokes came out back in early April. Mind you I just gave her a short blurb (and my writing was not as good then), but I knew she was the real deal back then. I shouldn’t be surprised that she would give a quality project, but she managed to surpass my high expectations. I am so happy that when I saw her name I would remember and that the released single was just a preview for this album.
The first thing I noticed is how smooth her voice is and how well. She’s just moving so effortlessly in the production of New York. I found myself jumping in the harmonies towards the end of the song.
Then we get to Storm and the tone just shifted for the softer side. I heard the melody and instantly thought of On Bended Knee by Boyz II Men. You don’t really need much more than Sivia, the backup singers, and that piano.
Old Love got a little more involved. But just a tad more. The simplicity of it all, feeling a little stripped reminded me of a Hiatus Kaiyote album. The guitar and keyboard was standouts in this song. I love the little flip towards the end. What is also nice is you can hear the cracks in that transition as if you were playing vinyl. I don’t know if it was on purpose, but there is a lot of attention to detail.
If you thought Sivia and friends was out of tricks, she brings yets another side in her title track Love Spells. For those living outside of the United States, the arrangement is very similar to urban gospel artists of this decade. The strong organ presence with the horns. The background singers in more of a chorus like setup. We are really getting to see just how talented she is.
Breathe ends the album on a combination of an 80s vibe mixed with a modern take on adult contemporary with strong horns/trumpets inserted. It really is a culmination of what all the different sounds on this album. Again, the people behind this album was able to put this arrangement together very well.
The production behind this entire project was perfect. The instruments and arrangements were spot on. The person on the piano and organ were highlights. They were playing their hearts outs and it really showed. Clearly they are students of the different eras of R&B because the styles are different. Very gutsy to put them all under one project, but Sivia is so talented that she was able to make it work and not have the sounds out-of-wack, for a lack of better words. There was a road being traveled with the tone of the album and it allowed her to not feel stuck on one wavelength of sound and shift to something else in an unorganized way. It was harmonious when you hear the entire project and still, each individual song had the same impact as the one before and after. You must give this album a listen to and put you in a mood. I can’t recommend this enough.