Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

Ravyn Lenae – Sticky

It’s spring, which means it’s time for us to like stuff again!


Crystal Leww: Building a career from Chicago is a tenuous and difficult path for every Black girl in a way that feels incredibly unjust given what feels like an endless stream of coverage of the scene. Sure, some of that is media tastemaker hype, but Chicago has an abundance of talent that just seems unjust to keep in ~The Internet~ (no pun intended, even with the Steve Lacy connection here). “Sticky” slinks along, guided along by a groovy guitar and the warmth and weirdness of Lenae’s voice. The first bit of this chorus is so choked that I didn’t even know she was singing words at first, but these are all atmospherics, a vibe so well constructed and packaged together that it’s beyond what a teen should be consciously able to produce. I know that Lenae’s been here since 2015 — all Chicago teens seem to need a ton of lead time — but I’m still curious to see where she takes this next.

Julian Axelrod: Chicago’s golden child sings of an irresistible temptation over lush organs, like the most immaculately produced “u up?” text of all time. Steve Lacy’s rich backdrop sounds like blood rushing away from the head, while Lenae’s sidewinder vocal coils around it before devouring it whole. Like the tingle under your skin when you’re alone with the person you want, this is a full-body experience. If only all bad ideas sounded this good.

Nortey Dowuona: Gooey, shiny and stick. Shimmering synth chords, slithering bass, glittering guitar and sharp, tear-shaped drums anchor the song, while Ravyn swims through the current with confidence and ease.

Alfred Soto: I’ve got students who adore her. Her ooh-ooh-ooh stutter plays lasciviously against hi-hat, bass, and a church organ. She can’t stop singing, no matter how prominent the clatter, and she inflects sex play like “Let’s play, let’s pretend” with the detachment of a person who knows she’s going to immortalize the fling in song.

Claire Biddles: The spacious, steady production is a gorgeous setting for Lanae’s unpredictable vocals — from the jarring cold-open of her whipped-up falsetto to the close harmonies of the chorus that unravel and zip away in all directions.

William John: A loop of the electric organ and Steve Lacy guitar scratches that open “Sticky” would be enough to keep me beguiled for days. But it turns out they’re mere prologue: Ravyn Lenae, stonewalled by love, gives the performance of a polyglot, shifting shrewdly from whirling dreamer to jaded enquirer to hopeless devotee; meanwhile, the track rotates around her methodically, keeping her in check. Her use of multiple voices is ingenious, and never reaches the point where it becomes affectedly obtuse; she instead transports us directly to her conscience, which, based on this evidence, appears to be brimming with ideas and predisposed to the sublime.

Micha Cavaseno: “Sticky” is a punchier sort of neo-soul/funk jam, reminiscent of Joi or the even more disconnected moments of the Minnie Riperton catalog — always interesting to hear from a generation that increasingly shirks traditional soul stylings unless reproducing them as a Tumblr-like xerox. It’s ambitiously florid and mannered enough that any moments that seem like missteps still show a level of character other acts are scraping the edge of their internal jar to offer.

Will Adams: As sticky as it is woozy, lovesick, sunsick and delirious. Ravyn Lenae’s falsetto pierces through the funk syrup in myriad ways: witchy “you-hoo-hoo”s, braided harmonies, and that light-stepping, two-note chorus. Some more contrast via her lower register wouldn’t have gone amiss, but a headrush at every turn is enough of a draw.

Reader average: [8.93] (15 votes)

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One Response to “Ravyn Lenae – Sticky”

  1. this owns!!! excited to see more from steve lacy