That Little Simz made her return this week with the release of ‘Introvert’ seems apt. Because it’s been one of those weeks, hasn’t it? Lately it feels like the news cycle has reeled off societal misery and political injustice non-stop. While this week’s guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin over the murder of George Floyd was a relief for many, others pointed out that the result should be the bare minimum of expectations. During my daily Instagram doomscroll, I was struck by actor and activist Brandon Kyle Goodman saying that he had expected to feel “celebratory and relief”, “had been bracing [himself] for ‘not guilty’” and was “surprised to not feel happy”.
When trauma is so intrinsically woven into your existence, the concept of wins and losses can be incomprehensible.
Simz’s new single is a clarion call of intent that touches upon injustice, the fear and fatigue that comes with being a Black woman and the apparent political awakening of society following the Black Lives Matter protests of last summer in the wake of Floyd’s death.
If there’s one thing we’ve come to expect from Little Simz, it’s her ability to be deft and direct in the subject matter of her lyrics – it’s what led to her third album Grey Matter winning an Ivor Novello and being nominated for the 2019 Mercury Prize. However, ‘Introvert’ – the first track from her upcoming album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – touches upon her own want for reticence. It must be a perpetual internal conflict to keep up with audience expectations of you while keeping in mind a personal need for inner-balance and rest.
“Man, it’s like they can’t sleep ‘til our spirit is crushed,” quips Simz. “How much fighting must we do? We’ve been fearless enough”. Yet despite the wider discussion, ‘Introvert’ is a highly personal track, switching between the obligations of “Simz the artist and Simbi the person” and the energy she wants to bring. The track culminates with The Crown’s Emma Corrin talking about embarking on a “journey of what it takes to be a woman”. In her recent interview with i-D, Simz expanded on the lines, saying to her being a woman is “feeling empowered… not being afraid of myself and my abilities and where I can grow to and what I can be.
“I’m just trying to push that narrative out there and it’s things that I need to hear from other women,” she continues. “And I wanna be picked up and uplifted so I’m just trying to give that same energy back in hopes that it can uplift others.” As Simz states in ‘Introvert’, “as long as we’re unified, then we’ve already won”.
Which leads us onto…
Little Simz – ‘Introvert’
… the track in question. Led by brass and military percussion, ‘Introvert’ strikes with urgency before abating to emotive strings. The track’s accompanied by a striking and stunning video by Salomon Lightelm, shot in the Natural History Museum, which is as cinematic as the song’s sound.
Jorja Smith – ‘Gone’
Hot on the heels of recent release ‘Addicted’, Jorja Smith returns with new single ‘Gone’. Moody yet slumberly, the track muses on the multiple definitions of love and loss and is lifted from the upcoming EP, Be Right Back, her first project since the stratospheric success of debut album Lost and Found back in 2018.
LION BABE – ‘Frida Kahlo’
Also making a welcome return by announcing their forthcoming third album Rainbow Child, LION BABE’s comeback piece ‘Frida Kahlo’ is as juicy as you’d expect from the New York duo. Marrying frivolous beats with loose guitars and a solid groove, the track honours the iconic artist’s “fearless authenticity”.
MYSIE – ‘In My Mind’
Her sound has been described as “intimate soul music”, and that’s right on the money for South London’s MYSIE. A gal-dem one to watch for 2021, her new single ‘In My Mind’ is a captivating trip fit to dwell in your cranium. Plucked guitars drive the track, underpinned by a refrained, poignant rhythm that grabs the essence of prospective lust.
Aziya – ‘Heaven For Me’
We recently covered Aziya’s last single ‘Slip!’ – which was a rowdy and energetic bit of rock – but this time around and new single ‘Heaven For Me’ shows an unexpected side to the 21-year-old talent. A “romanticised and fantasised version of a very toxic relationship”, the track is deceptively carefree with big pop sentimentalities and dreamy guitars. Regardless, it’s pretty lush.