Music

Jessy Lanza - "VV Violence" (Singles Going Steady)

With a gossamer brat-pop voice that recalls Like a Virgin-era Madonna, Jessy Lanza sings in slashes and bursts of highly-pressurized air.

Pryor Stroud: With a gossamer brat-pop voice that recalls Like a Virgin-era Madonna, Jessy Lanza sings in slashes and bursts of highly-pressurized air that seem to refract the synthesizers they pass through. In her latest single "VV Violence", this air not only lends itself to Lanza's sky-scraping falsetto melismatics, but to the track's rhythmic qualities as well. Throughout the verses, compacted micro-swaths of breath bounce alongside the skittering 8-bit percussion, but then the bridge surges into being, and this breath becomes a non-linguistic sexual utterance interacting with the shoulder-to-waist synth caresses that encompass it. But what form of sexual interchange, exactly, is Lanza attempting to articulate here? Perhaps she's inverted the dance floor trial-by-fire in Madonna's "Into the Groove" -- "Get into the groove, boy / You've got to prove / Your love to me" -- and put the burden of proof on herself, the singer-protagonist, rather than the song's subject: "Yeah I say it to your face / But it doesn't mean a thing", she sings, and since this direct enunciation of her love doesn't seem to phase him, she turns to the substance beneath her words to do the talking for her -- that is, her breath, a substance too carnally expressive to be dismissed or misconstrued. [9/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Lanza may have great vocals, but that's it. "VV Violence" has a decent synth groove, but it lacks the heavy sub bass or powerful drum kicks to fill the beat out. Also, the instrumental is soaked in hi-hats so much so that there's a hi-hat clapping every second of the song. Lyrically, Jessy Lanza isn't anything special, although she does have a beautiful voice that can carry a melody with ease. As a whole, "VV Violence" is middle of the road, with both fantastic and underwhelming qualities bundled into a short three-minute song. [5/10]

Chad Miller: Pretty good song. The melody is fun, and while the instrumentation is pretty sparse, Lanza connects a lot of the track by virtue of her personality. She's done a great job at defining such a unique signature sound for herself too. It's refreshing to hear. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: A harmless slice of '80s dance pop. Sounds like a Prince protege that somehow got muscled out of the spotlight by Vanity or Appolonia. It has its catchy moments and can be a fun listen in the right situation, but it runs out of steam too soon and can't seem to justify even a three-minute run time. [5/10]

Jessy Lanza's new album Oh No releases May 13th via Hyperdub.

SCORE: 6.75

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