I initially felt pretty relaxed as I sat down to listen to Katy B’s sophomore album “Little Red,” but halfway through, I was energized and feeling the groove. The British-born, Mercury Prize-nominated artist brought forth an excellent, synth-heavy house album that is bound to hit dance floors everywhere (if it hasn’t already). Not only were the beats extremely catchy, but her vocal range and lyrics made this album a definite double threat.
Her lyrics, in general, are introspective and invite listeners into the mind of an extremely vulnerable person. Her single “Crying for No Reason” displays this type of insight into her mind and relationship issues by stating, “I never faced all the pain I caused / Now the pain is hitting me full force.” Sad lyrics, indeed, but the song itself is still a totally danceable club hit with a good beat. In this song her voice really takes flight, and she reminds us just how good of a vocalist she is as she belts out the chorus with intensity and passion. This is the type of single to make someone stop dancing for a second and rethink their life — and then start dancing again, of course.
Not to be classified as just dance or electro, this album takes some of its influence from R&B. Most notably in the song “Aaliyah,” featuring fellow British pop star Jessie Ware, Katy B gives us a song about jealousy with lyrics like, “Aaliyah, please, this is green envy / Why must you taunt me, girl?” The applause accompanying the synthesizers give the song an almost 80s feel, but the “wub wub” in the background also presents a modern dubstep twist. Unfortunately, the song tends to repeat itself, and after a while listeners can only hear her say, “Why can’t he play a song for me?”
This repetition is really the only downside of the album. Songs including “Aaliyah” and “I Like You” repeat the same line over and over at great lengths, which made me feel tired of the album at points, and tempted me to hit the “skip” button on my phone. Luckily, songs like “Play,” featuring electronic songwriter Sampha (who has worked with Drake and Jessie Ware as well) gave the album a fresh hip-hop sound to draw me back in.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this album, and after a few listens I can honestly say I was digging the vibe. Each song seems to perfectly coincide with one another as slower tracks are followed up by something more upbeat to balance everything out. It’s one of those rare albums that you can listen to while feeling lonely or when you’re ready to dance; keep an ear out for key tracks “Crying for No Reason,” “All My Lovin’” and “Play” featuring Sampha, and enjoy.
Rating: 3.5 stars