Sky Ferreira: As If! EP (Album Review)
Sky Ferreira will release her debut EP, AS IF! this week, and it’s like, so…whatever.
Actually, that’s a flat out lie: It’s incredible.
The AS IF! EP–a much-needed diversion after her debut album was unceremoniously put on hiatus only weeks before its scheduled release back in January–is a rock solid 5-track collection of next-level crunchy pop cuts.
The lead single from the EP, “Sex Rules” (currently serving as the theme song for Sky’s current fashion campaign with CK One) was penned by pop legend Billy Steinberg, the same man behind Madonna‘s “Like A Virgin” fame. (Need I say more?)
The song finds the 18-year-old songstress playing the Lolita card and crooning her lusty S&M-riddled desires along blippy, skittering electronica beats and a big fat slapping bass: “It’s a complicated blend of tenderness and aggression / That’s what gets me off, that is my obsession,” Ferreira teases and moans, no doubt having taken the temptress cue from the pages of one of her self-professed idols, Britney Spears.
Elsewhere, Ferreira demonstrates both vocal and musical versatility, including “Traces,” which was co-penned by the song’s two rising musical stars–Canadian producer Colin Munroe and gypsy-pop princess Neon Hitch (“Get Over U”). The song is the darkest and most sophisticated moment of AS IF!–a stuttering moment of gritty, dubstep-friendly beats, haunting strings and piano chords that follow Ferreira as she washes away the scars of a past relationship.
“108,” another personal favorite, may well be considered the sequel to Ferreira’s first major label release, “One.” Like “One,” “108” was produced by Bloodshy & Avant and features similar bubbly electronica, albeit a much sadder, soul-searching production. “My secret lover is 108 / I know it sounds insane, it’s really okay,” Ferreira vacantly chants along the gorgeous mix of piano chords and break beats in the chorus, perfectly capturing the singer’s oddly fascinating air of world-weariness.
“99 Tears,” the EP’s most instantly addictive cut, is a cartoon-ish explosion of a dozen or more instantly catchy, chanty melodies and hi-octane bright pop beats courtesy of US pop producer Greg Kurstin (Lily Allen‘s It’s Not Me, It’s You, Sia‘s We Are Born). “Turn around, it’s my turn to let you down / I love it when you cry baby / Cry baby, cry,” Ferreira merrily taunts as the song’s stinging electronica beats, xylophones and crashing drums come flying in from every direction, blending in effortlessly with Ferreira’s dizzily stuttered vocals.
“99 Tears” isn’t just a stunning album highlight–it’s arguably one of the most masterfully crafted cacophonous productions of the decade.
But perhaps the most representative track of the bunch is “Haters Anonymous.” Produced by Bloodshy & Avant and scribed by Robyn hit-maker Klas Åhlund, the song is a mixture of catchy pop choruses and weirdly mumbled, scathing verses calling out the haters and liars running amuck on the web.
“Be whatever you wanna be, hate whatever you wanna hate / It’s like, whatever / Just don’t be a closet freak,” Ferreira sing-speaks with all the Swede ‘tude of a typical Åhlund pop production, such as Britney’s “Piece of Me” or Robyn’s “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do.” It’s a genius number, tailor-made to provide countless angst-ridden Facebook statuses and tweets in today’s world of anonymous comments and cyber-bullying.
Clocking in at just over fifteen minutes. Sky Ferreira’s debut EP perfectly captures all of the singer’s eye-rolling, scoffing teen angsty essence; it’s bratty, boisterous and bossy, yet riddled with a sense of intrigue and mystery that surrounds the singer, who–despite a shaky start at her debut–remains one of today’s leading pop chicks with that undeniable “it” factor.
AS IF! is, quite simply, a perfect pop production.
For pop lovers, this one isn’t just a recommendation–it’s required listening.
The AS IF! EP will be released on Tuesday, March 22. (iTunes)