Erika De Caiser Is Sensational

Stevenson Altidor

Music is a bizarre creative space, honestly.

 

You will have mainstays like Pop, Rock, Country, and Hip Hop, but in between those broad generalizations are sub-genres that range from long-lasting to withering as quickly as they blossomed. The Y2K R&B era was empowering. Aaliyah and TLC pushed the boundaries of pop and r&b in the late ’90s. Production that was organic and crafted by the blueprint of mother nature herself.

Artists like Mýa, 3LW, Blaque, JoJo, 702, and others have made waves with this sound ever since. Now in 2021, Erika De Casier’s latest album Sensational not only captures that sound but implements her own little twist of UK Grunge, and Bossa Nova drums, leading her to create a lane of her own.

The intro song “Drama” sets the tone musically with its subdued guitar and airy vocals. Once the drums make their appearance, the snappiness instantly gives it a slight bounce. Starting minimal and bright, layers of vocals and instruments began to take place like clouds in the sky. They allow your imagination to run wild as her breezy voice keeps it all moving.

“Polite” halts the paradisiacal atmosphere and replaces it with something mischievous. As if the pink panther is tiptoeing towards the next big heist. Nothing else on the album sounds like this. However, its uniqueness has one drawback—Erika’s delivery. She falls fittingly into a pocket, rapping to her partner to be more considerate to her and others. The lyrics drive the point home, but her delivery just felt flat.

Even if her delivery did match the rest of the musical elements, that uniqueness where every song sounds different from the others holds weight. “Make My Day” sounds as if the Greek Goddess Demeter harvested its roots. Warm and muggy, the calm seeds of interest planted in the beginning blossomed in the end. The instruments flow so well together, creating a tender-like texture to the ear. The radiant flute matched her pushy but romantic lyrics. In essence, she just wants to shoot her shot.

The Trio of “All You Talk About,” “Insult Me,” and “No Butterflies, No Nothing” each progress a plotline of the relationship that is falling apart before our ears. Minimalistic ambiance with witty songwriting, a voice that would soothe the most rigid souls, makes it endearing. You hear the confidence of a woman who knows she deserves more. Every word, every pause is intentional. The productions change on mother nature’s whims, but the beauty remains.

“Someone To Chill With” follows up “No Butterflies, No Nothing” in both sequencing and story. Upbeat and the most modern-sounding song on the album production-wise, she reminds her fling that there is nothing beyond this. Compared to her first LP Essentials, Sentential is mature and grounded. Love is lost, but her self-worth, dreams, and aspirations emerge beneath her earthly tones in the process.

The second half of the album has much more energy to it compared to the first half. The bounce that comes in spurts in the first half illuminates the back end. The standout track “Busy” emphasizes Erika’s abilities as a songwriter. All the Y2K vibes are there. Rich piano keys, sharp synths alongside snappy drums keeping the energy high. Moments ago, we heard a woman who sought to be loved differently. Now, the focus is all on her and her career.

Projects like these are what propel artists to that next level. Erika’s delicate voice complimented the surprisingly complex music. Mixing elements of UK grunge, Pop, R&B to create a piece that has a level of depth below its minimal aesthetic. Made from the bedroom but emits a great beam of light from the sun. Instead of yelling to be loved, she whispers it to herself in her room. Instead of letting that same love conquer her being, she proves she’s more than a partner in the end. This is so out there from the norm musically. And with that uniqueness, something sensational is brewing right before our eyes.

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