affirmations & incantations: thraed of AMAARAE

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A thread for the Ghanaian/American rnb/(afro)pop singer whose album The Angel You Don't Know has taken over my life this week. I'm intensely in the swoon phase right now so don't have anything smart to say about it right now (ilm: or ever!), just: fuck this is soooo good...

I'm not even at the emerging faves stage yet, but I could live in "Céline" forever. There's no good half/bad half argument to be made here, but in general I love how silky and cloudy the back half gets.

rob, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 21:49 (two years ago) link

I heard Fancy on a playlist and it caught my attention

(•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 5 January 2021 21:55 (two years ago) link

Yea she’s great, the song that first caught my eye was “like it” which also has a great video.

Janet vibes to the vocals

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Tuesday, 5 January 2021 21:56 (two years ago) link

"Fancy" is great, maybe the most earwormy track. If you dig it, I can't imagine not liking the whole project, which btw is a breezy 35 mins -- something I'm sincerely appreciating after also grappling with the Carti and Skillibeng albums these past couple weeks.

And some might appreciate being warned that the punk guitar bookends are super brief?

"Like It" is awes. I'm curious about her prev EP too, but not ready to stray from TAYDK yet

rob, Tuesday, 5 January 2021 21:58 (two years ago) link

I listened to her other stuff around the time like it came out and wasn’t as enamored. I think the new stuff is better

She does have a good appearance on odunsi’s album on the track “body count”

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Tuesday, 5 January 2021 22:44 (two years ago) link

I first heard about her via Spotify recommendations! Good job Spotify. One of my very favorite albums of last year.

justfanoe (Greg Fanoe), Tuesday, 5 January 2021 22:45 (two years ago) link

yay, Amaarae!!!

this is how I tried to hype her on the R&B thread recently: "her music is a hybrid of r&b, rap and (alté) afrobeats. The album is basically one long netfreax & chill"

Pitchfork, apart from naming the album Best New Music, ran a big profile on her:

I like the way she looks at herself/her potential:

What’s your plan for your career? What do you want for yourself?
When I think, OK, well, how am I going to do this? What is my breakthrough going to be?—I think about, first and foremost, my voice. My voice is interesting, but also very pop-friendly. I can think of my voice in terms of range and style, like the way that Berry Gordy utilized Diana Ross’ vocals against so many different types of pop tropes, but still kept her Black. And for me, that’s what I would like my trajectory to be. I’ve been exposed to so many different types of music and scenarios that I continue to build my range so that I can stand and fight in any arena, music-wise, both as a singer and a songwriter. So even if it doesn’t come in the form of “Amaarae has sold 500 million records,” it might be: “Amaarae wrote that record for Adele that did.”

(that piece is also a study in the use of words to describe African pop music, a hot-button issue if ever there was one)

She does have a good appearance on odunsi’s album on the track “body count”

― ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Tuesday, January 5, 2021 5:44 PM (yesterday)

Yeah I'm wondering if how hard I've fallen for this album means I need to revisit the alté stuff I didn't get into in the past. At any rate, I'll be more open to hearing odusni & co. in the future

Thanks for the link, breastcrawl. Cool to see she went to Agnes Scott and the mention of "Me & U" caught my eye -- I'd thought about referencing Cassie in my OP, though I think Amaarae's use of disaffection/emotional reserve is more idk artful or deliberate than Cassie's? well different in any case

rob, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 14:03 (two years ago) link

my current fav (it changes with every play) is subtle bop "Sad Girlz Luv Money". it features Moliy, another Ghanaian singer, who I hadn't heard of, but whose Wondergirl EP is worth a listen too. it's not as out there, but verrry nice.

ooh I'll have to check that out as she's on "Feel a Way" too, which was my favorite on last night's listen

rob, Wednesday, 6 January 2021 14:17 (two years ago) link

thanks for the tip, this record is lovely

Uptown Top Scamping (Noodle Vague), Saturday, 9 January 2021 11:42 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

I just wanna make you mon amieeeeee

rob, Thursday, 4 February 2021 21:16 (two years ago) link

This didn’t make the ilx list ... an embarrassment ... lex wouldn’t have allowed this

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Friday, 5 February 2021 03:25 (two years ago) link

maybe so, but it wasn’t on his top 40 albums list for the year

but yeah, ILM failed itself there

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 9 February 2021 19:27 (two years ago) link

ha, I wondered about that but couldn't be bothered tracking the list down. I do have the lex-like urge to frequently bump this thread with lyric quotes (as seen above). Currently, most wanting to give into:

i can-not move my bo-dy

Here's a question for you guys. This quote from pitchfork's review has stuck in my mind:

More imaginative still is “Dazed and Abused in Beverly Hills,” 68 seconds of indie soul that enjoyably parodies (and one-ups) the SZA knockoffs making Shazam-bait for cable-TV syncs.

Does that song also strike you as a parody? I can see it I guess (there's much more autotune on her voice than elsewhere), but I also really like that one and wish it didn't fade out so fast, so I'm not sure what specifically is being parodied. OTOH listening to this album last night I thought about starting a thread for "songs that could soundtrack Insecure" which is maybe what that quote is getting at (though I like most of the music on that show)?

rob, Tuesday, 9 February 2021 20:20 (two years ago) link

I know SZA but I’m not familiar with any of the other references you mention, so I’ll pass on this one

Long Tall Arsetee & the Shaker Intros (breastcrawl), Tuesday, 9 February 2021 20:25 (two years ago) link

no worries, though in case you were curious:

rob, Tuesday, 9 February 2021 21:13 (two years ago) link

new vid

ILX’s bad boy (D-40), Friday, 19 February 2021 01:18 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

oh hello, it's been a year (plus since six days) since anyone posted in this thread. Amaarae has been keeping busy, thanks for asking. "Sad Girlz Luv Money" was one of the big TikTok hits of the year, charting all across the world, including the UK and the US (and peaking at #7 in India, apparently!), mainly thanks to its remix with Kali Uchis. well, mainly thanks to the song having one the most memorable hooks of the past few years really.

that remix version didn't even have a video until two weeks ago:

there's also a fantastic amapiano remix by Vigro Deep:

celebrating ten years of constant posting (breastcrawl), Friday, 25 February 2022 21:05 (one year ago) link

dang that Vigro remix is cool, thanks for posting it!

rob, Friday, 25 February 2022 21:16 (one year ago) link

five months pass...

as a full-blown MCU hater I am annoyed to tell you that this song from the soundtrack for the forthcoming BP2 is rad:

rob, Sunday, 31 July 2022 20:12 (seven months ago) link

oh wow, that is awesome!

and are you hearing all those *voices*???
yes, one of the producers is Cracker Mallo

production is fantastic, perfect spacy blend of afropop and amapiano

otoh, that Tems cover of “No Woman No Cry” is so extremely unnecessary

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Sunday, 31 July 2022 20:30 (seven months ago) link

the production is really cool, and it's nice to know how good she sounds on something as big budget as this

lol yeah that cover honestly crosses the line to being repellent for me, I really hope she's putting together a strong album

rob, Sunday, 31 July 2022 20:34 (seven months ago) link

I hope so too, but with all the (indirect) US success she’s having (a prominent feature on one of the biggest songs of 2021 and a recent US number one hit based on a sample of one of her songs) I imagine there’s a lot of industry pressure on her to go for a big crossover project. hope she stays grounded

big movers, hot steppers + long shaker intros (breastcrawl), Sunday, 31 July 2022 20:45 (seven months ago) link

seven months pass...

new song, “Reckless & Sweet”:


satori enabler (Noodle Vague), Friday, 17 March 2023 08:51 (six days ago) link

yes good

rob, Friday, 17 March 2023 18:50 (six days ago) link

maybe feels a little album-track-ish, but as that it's promising

rob, Friday, 17 March 2023 18:51 (six days ago) link

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