NEW BLACK SWING

Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture - - MUSIC REVIEWS - Sassy­black { In­de­pen­dent }

Cather­ine Har­ris-white, a.k.a. Sassy­black, has an ex­tra­or­di­nary hus­tle: She co­founded the now-de­funct duo Theesat­is­fac­tion, put out a solo ep while in that group, and then re­leased two ex­tra­or­di­nary solo al­bums, all while cease­lessly tour­ing. Sassy­black seems to change a lit­tle with ev­ery al­bum, and

New Black Swing is the re­al­iza­tion of her per­sonal meta­mor­pho­sis.

On New Black Swing, Sassy­black pulls back the veil that pre­vi­ously kept her emo­tions hid­den from her au­di­ence. She’s gone from light­hearted takes on dat­ing on No

More Weak Dates to re­veal­ing the heartache of los­ing a beau­ti­ful love. The al­bum be­gins with “Games,” a song about a floun­der­ing love af­fair, where she asks yearn­ingly, “Why do you treat me this way?” This is what New Black Swing is all about: the slow end of a re­la­tion­ship you thought would last for­ever. My fa­vorite track is “I’ll Wait for You,” which has cyn­i­cal lyrics about al­low­ing some­one to use their ca­reer as a rea­son not to com­mit to your re­la­tion­ship.

Sassy­black’s mu­sic has a time­less qual­ity to it. The clas­si­cally trained jazz vo­cal­ist fit­tingly de­scribes her mu­sic as “elec­tronic psy­che­delic soul,” a genre that be­gan in earnest with Theesat­is­fac­tion’s Earthee and con­tin­ues in New Black Swing. She man­ages to merge her deeply rooted love for mu­sic his­tory with stel­lar pro­duc­tion, which keeps her sound an­chored in the past and present.

“Glitches” has a fu­tur­is­tic feel that draws from its low-toned, repet­i­tive, and al­most ro­botic singing style to com­pare a fail­ing re­la­tion­ship with fail­ing tech­nol­ogy. “Wor­thy” serves as the per­fect clos­ing track be­cause it sums up how re­la­tion­ships force us to re­ex­am­ine our­selves; on it, Sassy­black fi­nally as­sures us, and her­self, that “we are wor­thy.”

New Black Swing is an es­sen­tial al­bum. It gives me the same chills I felt as a pre­teen lis­ten­ing to Mon­ica’s 1998 de­but al­bum, Miss Thang. Sassy­black is per­son­ally en­ter­ing a new realm of self-re­flec­tion and self-re­al­iza­tion, and pop mu­sic is bet­ter for it.

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