Album Review: Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Aran Grover reviews Little Simz’ latest album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.
As a pretty big fan of Little Simz, hearing the singles released for this album, and having the privilege of seeing her perform live this summer, I was excited to hear this record. Sometimes I Might be Introvert has so far been a deeply personal, aesthetic exploration into Simz’ psyche, detailing the struggles of growing up with an absent father, womanhood, economic struggles, and the black experience. It does so with some fantastic, grandiose production and some of Simz’ finest lyrics and flow to date, cementing her place as one of the best in the UK rap scene.
The album features big, grand instrumentals with orchestral passages and choral backing vocals, marking a significant place in Simz’ personal career and journey. The first track, ‘Introvert’, opens with an orchestral overture, reminiscent of a John Williams score, before descending into a compelling instrumental with some quality lyricism detailing Simz’ internal struggles, as well as a great Cleo Sol feature (who appears multiple times throughout this record). It provides a strong basis upon which to begin this album, setting the bar duly high.
a versatility between some hard-hitting bangers as well as more laid-back tracks
Following on, ‘Woman’ features Cleo Sol again, and celebrates different cultures of strong women with a fun, laid back groove with fun lyrics and a great message. The album goes on to demonstrate a versatility between some hard-hitting bangers as well as more laid-back tracks, such as ‘Two Worlds Apart‘, which sounds at points almost like old Kanye with soul samples and a laid back, yet catchy hook.
Simz again on this record proves her consistency with pretty very few misses. There is a variety of different production styles with even an 80s inspired instrumental on ‘Protect My Energy’, which I was surprised to find I enjoyed. It reminds me of Jessie Ware with a danceable, fun groove.
songs get somewhat drowned in a cacophony of Simz’ creativity
As well as this, the theatrical, grandiose style carries through to several interludes, the most indulgent and flamboyant of which being ‘The Rapper That Came To Tea‘, which features a fairy-tale like narrator/guide inside of Simz’ mind. This however struck me as a little too much, and somewhat detracted from the music. I found the many of these a little too long. The songs get somewhat drowned in a cacophony of Simz’ creativity which, although some are enjoyable (and I do appreciate the creativity), could be significantly shorter. Regardless however the songs themselves do shine, but as an album experience the length of the interludes seems a small hinderance.
A highlight from the second half for me was Point and Kill with a feature from the up-and-coming Obongjayar; a fantastically groovy track with great performances and catchy hooks with a dancehall, West African influence. The subsequent ‘Fear No Man’ continues the groove and keeps up the momentum, however slightly underwhelmed me at first. Perhaps the sequencing of the track straight after the superior ‘Point and Kill’ diminishes its potency, but as a standalone track, I did enjoy this one.
The record has a lot of production from SAULT producer, Inflo, who’s influence is seen throughout, especially on the last two tracks, sounding almost straight from a SAULT record, the penultimate track, ‘How Did You Get Here‘ being a particularly beautiful highlight. From the synths and bass on ‘Speed’, to the organic drums and piano that litter the entire record, this sound carries real commercial potential, and I would expect to see it a lot more in the mainstream in future releases from this new London scene of artists pulling from soul, jazz, RnB, and dance music.
Some personal highlights were of course the singles (‘Introvert’, ‘Woman’, ‘I Love You, I Hate You’, ‘Rollin Stone’) as well as ‘Little Q, Pt. 2’ with some catchy backing vocals and piano passages, as well as Simz’ lyrics about her upbringing. Her flow is, as always, on point, demonstrating her rap talent. Another of my favourites was ‘I See You’ featuring a great bassline, guitar passages and vocals from Cleo Sol, where Little Simz describes a relationship where she begs to retain the relationship despite her lack of presence and effort, sounding compelling as well as relatable and deeply personal.
Simz seems to achieve a golden balance with her lyrics, achieving a great level of sincerity, honesty, and integrity, with songs that even she said were difficult to write, such as ‘I Love You, I Hate You’. As well as this the classy, clean production provides an effective basis for Simz to communicate her struggles, with compelling chord changes, hooks, and melodies. Overall, this is album with very few misses that could only really benefit from being cut down in places to reduce the slightly excessive 65-minute runtime. It does however display Little Simz’ huge talent and her being at the top of her game.
Favourite Tracks: Introvert, Woman, Little Q, Pt 2, I See You, Point and Kill, How Did You Get Here