Jessy Lanza-Oh No_First Impressions

On Oh No, Jessy Lanza presents a collection of expertly produced electronic pop tunes that complement her strong vocal performance.  Beginning with a spacey introductory song in “New Ogi,” Lanza brings her listener through a serious of contrasting songs with inspiration ranging from all over the pop landscape.  Glorious soprano lines provide energetic moments, whereas more underground tinged vocal samples and bass lines bring the piece into experimental territories resulting in a highly artistic overall work.

One of the striking aspects of this album is the production.  The smoldering aesthetic of Lanza’s textural sounds and warm keyboards contrast her bright vocal work resulting in a pop tonality with a high level of subtlety.  One of the albums’s highlights has to be “Never Enough.”  Here, a brooding yet dance-able bass line fills out the lower frequencies while echoing and looping vocal parts pleasantly dance around in the listener’s ear.  Another interesting moment comes in the track “It Means I Love You.”  Lanza’s bass-line indicates a slight deep house tendency with rhythmic vocal samples high lighting the dark soundscape.

The album is not accomplished without imperfections.  Occasionally Lanza dips a bit too far into the bright electronics of the 1980s.  Ballad “I Talk BB,” takes very few risks in songwriting.  Beginning with a slow moving drum beat and dated synth sound, the song simply does not stick out as new or interesting.  “Vivica” runs into similar problems.  Here, corny drum machine fills lead into power ballad choruses that remain unconvincing.  Lyrically, Lanza remains a bit predictable.  Towards the end of the album, another ballad “Begins” comes in with similar problems to “I Talk BB” and “Vivica.”  The underwhelming  sound of the song is manifested in the rather uninteresting lyrical ideas: “know why I could never walk away baby you know.”

Upon first listen, I felt like the good out weighed the bad, but Lanza is on the edge of inconsistent.  Her beautiful vocal lines and experimental tendencies become highlights throughout, however sometimes her songwriting is a bit too bland resulting in  slick, easy-listening ballads.  Further listens may reveal the beauty in some of Lanza’s slicker tracks, but the album may have a few too many duds for front to back listens in the distant future.

DB

 

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