Once again, branching out and discovering new artists is serving well during this period of time as I am continuing to hear great music across a multitude of genres.
The self-titled record is the third studio album from English singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Lianne La Havas.
This is not the first time I am hearing of La Havas as in 2014, she was featured on the track “Clouds”, which was one of the final albums from Prince. She also was a part of the live performance that Prince did for this track on Saturday Night Live.
Leading into this record, La Havas released a handful of singles that were all fantastic. The first of which being the opener to the album “Bittersweet”. It, essentially, begins the project’s overall narrative of picking up the broken pieces and starting anew after a failed relationship. For those who have not listened to her, this is a perfect introduction to the range she possesses. She can be subtle and breathy, but once the hook comes in, you get absolute power that immerses you fully into the track.
“Paper Thin” was the first single I listened to prior to the release of the record. It is one of the softer and subtle tracks on the record that delve into insecurity, anxiety and how these negative thoughts can affect one’s self-confidence and overall psyche. Not only does it have a toll on them, but also on the relationship this person has with La Havas. She is telling this person to give her the key to their heart so she can help them be loved and try to find self-confidence from it.
We, then. got the light-hearted and fun “Can’t Fight”. While looking beneath the surface may not be the most happy material, the plucky guitar and pristine melodies give you the feeling of love throughout the track.
The final single going into this record was “Weird Fishes”, which is a cover of the Radiohead song.
On release of this album, I was ready to experience more great material from what was already a great tracklist, and that is exactly what we get.
“Read My Mind” is my personal favorite on the record. It’s fun, flirtatious and hits every feeling you get when you are beginning to fall head over heels for someone.
The following track gives us the moment two lovers get home from a night out on “Green Papaya”. Like the hook says, “take me home, let’s make real love”. It is one of the rare instances we get the sultry side of La Havas. The track gets even better when we get the layered vocals on the second run of the hook. There is something so intoxicating about her vocals. I cannot really put my finger on it. From a vocal standpoint, you are never going to get a lackluster song from her.
Heading into the middle of this album, we get the beautiful “Please Don’t Make Me Cry”. The extravagant layers on the hook just make you take a step back because you are listening to art. The work that went into this track is inspiring because there is a lot going on instrumentally and vocally that all works and meshes well together.
“Courage” allows people to get into their feelings in moments of loneliness, which then lead into the light at the end of the tunnel, and the completion of La Havas’ arc on “Sour Flower”. “Sour Flower” is the butterfly moment where she can finally fly free and live out the next chapter of her life without being reminded of the past.
There is not a bad track on this record. “Seven Times” falls the flattest for me. It just feels the weakest in terms of inspiration, but not terrible by any stretch of the mind.
For you R&B fans out there, this is the one for you to indulge in. La Havas hits all the notes you would want from a record in this realm. It is a can’t miss record in 2020.
Richest Tracks: “Bittersweet”, “Can’t Fight”, “Paper Thin”, “Weird Fishes”, “Read My Mind”, “Green Papaya”, “Please Don’t Make Me Cry”, “Courage”, “Sour Flower”
Worst Track: “Seven Times”
LISTEN TO THE ALBUM