It’s an argument as old as time. It bubbles over every year without fail as the first festival line ups are unveiled, as one side spews tired lines about “a small pool of headliners” and “needing to sell tickets” while the other have the temerity to ask for a tiny shred of representation. You know the one. ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ is the kind of album which makes it increasingly difficult for the usual culprits (we see you) to keep trotting out the same old cliches.
If we’re being honest, Little Simz should have been headlining festivals already. If her first two records brought critical acclaim and a loyal following, 2019’s ‘Grey Area’ felt almost stratospheric (and had such an impact on me that I still joyfully yell “Little Slimz!” in the style of ‘101 FM’ most days). It was ferocious in places, didn’t fuck around and felt like a defining statement. After such a killer offering, where do you go from there?
With ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’, the answer seems to be found in widening that scope and ambition in a way we’ve never seen before. The cinematic flourishes are cranked up and Simz is more confessional than ever, pondering what defines her as both Little Simz the artist and Simbi the person. It makes for addictive listening.
Spliced with regal interludes and fairy tale meanderings like on the dazzling ‘The Rapper That Came To Tea’, which echoes back to the rabbit hole tumbling of 2017’s ‘Stillness In Wonderland’, it marks Simz warmly acknowledging what’s come before while sounding positively future-charged.
As jaw-dropping as it was as a first single, ‘Introvert’ retains the same staggering quality as an album opener, with its soaring horns scorching a remember-where-you-first-heard-this mark on each listener’s brain. If it begins with bombast, the strings sequence which comes later indicates an artist fully aware of the power she wields as lines like “I’m a black woman and I’m a proud one” gloriously ring out.
‘I Love You I Hate You’ glides between suave Bond soundtrack and groove-laden singalong, while ‘Little Q PT2’ is a wistful slice of infectious soul. The intensity builds on tracks like ‘Speed’ and ‘Rollin Stone’, as Simz sounds razor sharp over spacious beats. More than ever, Simz knows when to hold back, toning it down to devastating effect, and when to unleash hellfire. It’s a balancing act only she could achieve so effortlessly.
Inevitably, the same ignorant voices will once again chirp up around festival season but that’s OK. ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert’ will comfortably drown them out. If there’s any justice, Little Simz will be headlining the lot in 2022.
Dig this? Dig deeper! FLOHIO, Cleo Sol, Bbymutha
Words: Lee Wakefield
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