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“Free Woman” by Womankind

The relationship between a vocalist and the beat can be considered one the most intimate in a mix, at least when the music is being played with a sense of passion on all ends, and in the case of their new single “Free Woman,” Womankind shows us that they know how to marry a slick voice with a gorgeous groove when they’ve got one. Rather than introducing a bit of hesitance as a means of emphasizing the tension between the verse and the percussion in this song, Womankind is all about producing a seamlessly melodic frontend that relies more on swagger than any other component of the performance. 

Although there are moments in which this arrangement could possibly be perceived as delicate, the players make it relatively difficult to accuse them of failing to go deep when and where it matters. There’s a lot of instrumental depth to this piece that surprised me at first, given how soft a lead vocal we’re dealing with for the better part of this song, but at the same time, I can understand where Womankind was trying to create some intentional contrast to spotlight their versatility as performers here. 

The jazz influence in the structure of this song was something that got my attention right away, and it does a lot to buffer the edgier moments in the groove from those in the main vocal harmony. The elegance with which the verses are put together in “Free Woman” is something I was equally impressed with, and when accounting for the fact that they’re covering a lot of artistic angles without sounding like the so-called hybrid acts that have been working their way out of the underground lately, their collected attitude in this recording feels all the more special and reflective of who they are. 

This arrangement is simplicity at its finest when we get into the second act of “Free Woman,” and I think these musicians know it. They’re not overly boastful, but you can tell that they’re reading each other and the medium like no imitators ever could. Womankind has chosen an interestingly beat-centric piece to showcase their multidimensionality here, but if you think about what a lot of their closest competition has been doing in America and Europe over the past few months, their seemingly curious decision starts to make a whole lot more sense than it initially did. 

I’m very intrigued with what Womankind has produced in “Free Woman,” and while it feels like a song that was made more for the aficionados in music than it was for anyone who would deem themselves a casual listener, I can also appreciate the passerby pop accessibility that’s undisputedly present in this track’s hook. The music video was just as exciting a watch as the song is a listen, and though they’re still very much on the outside of the mainstream looking in, these players do not offer themselves in this single in a way that makes me think their dedication to music is but a passing phase at all. 

Mindy McCall



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