new music: electronic psychedelic soul singer/songwriter sassyblack thinks about love on ‘no more weak dates’
By Sound Check
June 2, 2016
The charm of SassyBlack (1/2 of currently defunct THEESatisfaction) goes like this: she is the girl who most miserable women seek to knock the block off of. She’s the woman who can successfully mix vintage 70’s Pam Grier vibes and make it seem successfully modern. Above all, she is real. SassyBlack (nee Catherine Harris-White) is the kind of girl that will trip over a barbell, and successfully land upon her feet in a pose that’ll make you admire such a beauty to the point where you forgot all about the former fact. She’s the kind of girl who isn’t too serious or too busy to scream “asscheeks”, just to see who can scream the loudest. Okay, maybe all of this sounds like a stretch (except, maybe the “asscheeks” thing), but if her Twitter is any indication, she’s not just any girl off the street. She’s one that you’ll think of dating just once because she owns her awkwardness, and in turn, makes it look attractive. Hence, she’s the girl that you ought to step your confidence up in order to talk to. Oh, and step up your dating ideas as well, because as the opening tracks will let you know, Netflix and chill is not going to cut it.
But the thing about ‘No More Weak Dates’ is that the title (as well as the title track, which throws the most gentle shade you can imagine) is a red herring: very rarely does the album suggest any ideas for a date. Rather the album is all about Harris-White’s ruminations on love and all of its most complicated moments, which includes bumping into familiar lovers (“Circle of Love”), compromising one’s love standards (“Give It to God”) and suffering blabbering fools (“Talking Shit? Okay”, which hilariously sits next to the vicious aftermath “Burn Notice”). In between, SassyBlack has suggested some date ideas such as “Comicon”, painting herself as a “sexy Trekkie”. En route, Cat handles the trying side of love with occasional laughter.
As interesting as the idea is, what shouldn’t be hidden is SassyBlack’s usage of instruments and lyrics. Synths are a-go-go on this record. Over music that range from liquidy to extraterrestrial to sleepy (such as “Lonesome”, which sounds like a beat that sounds like one Thom Yorke would sell the b-sides of Radiohead’s newest for), Cat croons with a sultry yet serious contralto that sounds right at home with the galactic production, turning it to something close to romantic. As for the lyrics, if you were to listen, they rarely come back to verse chorus verse, as each track feels like a conversational piece that range from melancholy to hopeful. Almost improvised, if not so.
If there was one word to describe ‘No More Weak Dates’, you can choose between just these: confrontational, open, existential, exposing of our black heroine’s mind. It’s direct in ways that worries less about how to say it and more about just doing such. It’s desperate, it’s respectful, it’s embarrassed, it’s tender, it’s shady, it’s hopeful, it’s playful. Rather, it’s real. And it wouldn’t be a SassyBlack album if it were anything else.
By Lightning Pill, AFROPUNK contributor
*Lightning Pill is a blogger, poet, singer-songwriter, composer, Aspie, etc. from Dorchester, MA. You can reach him at www.twitter.com/LightningPill or visit his Afropunk website. His Soundcloud can be found here and his main Bandcamp found here. Also here for the new agers.
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