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Gino McKoy’s “Sensy Girl”

Like a rising tide on a sun-stained beach, the synth melodies that open up Gino McKoy’s “Sensy Girl” are intimidatingly large once they find their footing in this incredible new single from the Lumina soundtrack. The video for the song plays out more like an art house film than it does your standard pop video, and though the highbrow stylization is entrancing, and more often than not, sexually-charged, it doesn’t devolve into complete avant-gardism for even a second. “Sensy Girl” is a soulful R&B ballad that has been injected with a shot of clubby adrenaline, but no matter what context it’s consumed in, its eruptive beats will have anyone within earshot moving to the grooves in a way that only the finest pop music can.

McKoy circles us like a shark preparing to feed on some fresh meat, but his eager attack isn’t assaultive nor so aggressive that the melodicism of the instruments ends up drowned out by all of his swagger. Diamond stops by for a ripping rap solo in the refrain from the second chorus, and while he contributes a layer of tension to follow-up on the cathartic climax, his verses don’t change the consistent flow of the track at all. The fluidity of this composition is amazing, and arguably just as memorable a quality as any of the actual musical textures are. Too many of McKoy’s peers are staying away from ambitious, multidimensional mixes like that of “Sensy Girl,” and personally I think that they could stand to learn something from this pair’s experimental take on a classic formula.

The hook in the chorus has a hard swing, and like the intro to the song, comes out of nowhere with a muscularity that is a breath of fresh air in this summer of muted bass and drum discord. I haven’t seen Lumina, McKoy’s official screen debut, yet, but if it’s as mind-bending aesthetically as the music video for “Sensy Girl” is, it’s going to make for a really engrossing treat this year. The saturated colors that we see in the shots comprising its three minute-running time are evocative in their own right, and when you add in the eroticized harmonies that McKoy and Diamond pile on in the music, we’re presented with something that looks beyond the limitations of genre into the progressive future of both songwriting and cinema alike.

“Sensy Girl” concludes with a chilling whisper from its lead singer, but the sway of its synthesized grooves remain in the atmosphere until the track is played once again. If there is a statement that Gino McKoy is trying to make in this single, it’s that he is ready to take over the primetime stage, and in that spirit, he’s willing to do whatever he has to in order to make his dreams come true. I sense a lot of determination in this young man, a lot of inventiveness and, most of all, a strain of talent that can’t be practiced into existence. His music is worthy of all the hype that it’s been garnering this summer, and for a relative unknown, that’s a big deal in itself.

Mindy McCall

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