So far, Kelela's releases from her upcoming album Take Me Apart (released 6 October) are 2 for 2. She came out of the gate early last month with "LMK" – an irresistible slice of throwback R&B pop with a Lil Kim-referencing video to boot – and now she's back with "Frontline."
The track premiered during last night's (3 September) episode of HBO's Insecure, and though it's less upbeat than "LMK," it shares the same futuristic R&B sensibility – as well as the same propensity to make me draw a lot of extremely complimentary comparisons to the queen of the understated banger, Cassie.
But what we have in "Frontline" is something a little more structurally complex than anything we heard from Cassie in her heyday: this is a carefully constructed track with light, shade, and a chorus that plants its flag via a sped-up beat. Despite the changes in tempo – which certainly keep proceedings interesting – the real star is Kelela's vocal, which sounds like it could conquer pretty much anything. Her performance here is special because it's clear that she's holding back via choice, not because she's in any way limited. Basically, Kelela is at the height of her powers and knows exactly how to use them – and if what we've heard so far is correct, Take Me Apart looks to be one of the most sonically fascinating records yet to come this year.
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