24 year old dubstep songstress Katy B once described her hatred for standing out, and her desire to be part of the crowd and this longing is well and truly reflected in her follow-up to Katy on a Mission, Little Red. Simply play a couple of songs from the album and straight away you feel as though you are being transported to the dance floor of a club, the deep house production emanating through Katy’s almost tangible vocals, just feels so real. It’s clear the Brit School graduate intended it in this way, because the energy is just so palpable. Personally I applaud her for not rushing this release, it feels smooth and uncommercial with lyrics yet more personal than in her debut.
Next Thing – As throughout the album a production emphasis, few singers dare to take instrumental pauses that Katy does. The line, “on to the next thing” is repeated a lot, creating a sort of pulsating energy. The lyrics seem to be about a misspent youth; perhaps exploring her time spent at garage raves as a teenager.
5AM – First single released from Little Red. Produced by Geeneus and in this track he really lives up to his name. Trancey sound, creates a tune that suits Katy’s voice so flawlessly. This culminates in a perfect melancholic dance floor anthem, highly reminiscent of Broken Record from ‘On a mission’.
Aaliyah (ft Jessie Ware) – This collaboration was inevitable, both similar styles, track is very electro/progressive house, really nice lyrical interchange between Katy and Jessie.
Crying for no reason – Second single, Katy’s singing takes centre-stage, tracey/ravey sound.
Play (ft Sampha) – Sampha’s vocals distinct as always, his voice is smooth and slots nicely into the track. Sort of like a cool, techno lovers duet with the two singing, “play me those memories”.
Emotions – A real power song, lively production from Jacques Greene, backing is more subtle.
Still – Very moody song. Real sense of perplexity and sorrow in Katy’s voice, again production is more subtle.
Blue Eyes – Song about two people in a relationship having their differences, opposite’s attraction. Accompanied with a beat that toys with Katy’s voice.
Hot like Fire – Quite a fast-paced beat, elements of electro/progressive house, really energetic stuff. Hasn’t quite got that dance floor feel however.
Wicked Love – Quite dark, Katy lets out her pain. Has a drum n bass feel to it. “That you play, pull my strings, getting me to do all manner of things, say that I am the one.” A stand out lyric.
Sky’s the Limit – Most positive track from Little Red, shows a real transition. There is a renewed, more hopeful change in tone to Katy’s voice. A song about acceptance, love and achieving happiness – describes the liberation of being single.
Full tracklist: Next Thing, 5 AM, Aaliyah (ft Jessie Ware, Crying for no Reason, I Like You, All my Lovin, Tumbling Down, Everything, Play (ft Sampha), Sapphire Blue, Emotions, Still.
By Michael Smith