Feminism, identity, grief – Seinabo Sey certainly hasn’t shied away from hard- hitting issues on second album, ‘I’m A Dream.’ While still carrying Sey’s powerful vocals and soul pop, ‘I’m A Dream’ branches away from the insecurity and pressure that surrounded debut single, ‘Younger’, and 2015’s critically acclaimed album, ‘Pretend.’ Instead, ‘I’m A Dream’ sees the Swedish-Gambian singer finally finding confidence in herself.
The ten-track album spans a range of musical sounds and themes, while gliding through soul, pop and R&B influences. “All I want’s a moment of your time” sings Sey on current single, ‘Good In You,’ a dance infused, upbeat banger, harking back to Janet Jackson’s pop anthems. There’s a heaviness and cinematic quality to ‘Breathe,’ an all-encompassing homage to moving forward. Similarly, previously released track, 'I Owe You Nothing' finds Sey at her fiercest. “I don’t have to smile for you, I don’t have to move for you,” she states over echoing bass. The accompanying video was shot in Gambia – the birthplace of Sey’s musician father, Maudo Sey – and perfectly matches the unapologetic self-belief echoed in the track’s lyrics.
However, it’s in the album’s slower, more poignant songs that ‘I’m A Dream’ really makes an impact. Sey has described her music making process as difficult, almost torturous and tracks like “Truth” reveal this deeply personal journey. The beautifully powerful lyrics, “these chains make a beautiful sound,” and stripped- back piano go far in expressing the sheer pain loaded in the music. 'Never Get Used To' is also a standout on the record. The up-tempo groove should juxtapose the subject of the song; namely, the death of Sey’s father. However, the backbeat of the track manages to somehow perfectly compliment the grief and reminiscence of her loss.
Ultimately, just as on ‘Pretend,’ it’s Sey’s rich and powerful voice which makes ‘I’m A Dream’, a success. But, for an album that deals with such heavy topics as these, while at the same time expressing both how raw pain can feel and how much self-belief can heal, is a triumph in itself.
Words: Ashleigh Grady
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