Like all the best singles, Sophie Coran‘s “Saltwater” – premiering here on PopMatters – is tough to categorize, but she has her own name for the style she infuses in her songs: Noir & B. It’s an accurate assessment: combining classic soul with the gauze of dream pop, Coran‘s latest single (following “Permission” and “Duller Star” from earlier this year) sounds a bit like Amy Winehouse tackling ’90s neo-psychedelia. It’s an atmosphere that’s easy to get lost in, with Coran’s jazzy, reverb-treated torch song tantalizing the listener in the verses, eventually crashing into the tasty classic pop-R&B hooks of the chorus.
Coran explains that she wrote the song last summer after a trip to the beach. “I was struck with how the beach reminded me so much of my childhood, where many happy memories of summers spent with family exist,” she says. “I started thinking about how poignant it feels to grow up, and how sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, while other days, I’m swimming.”
While the lyrics certainly evoke those long-lost childhood years, the music also works as an appropriate accompaniment to those experiences. The woozy groove seems to bring to mind sunny shorelines and gently crashing waves. It may be too on-the-nose of a prediction to tap “Saltwater” as a perfect lazy summer single, but it fits. Pass the suntan lotion.