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Meresha’s “Trouble”

The beat in Meresha’s “Trouble” is big, bold, and inviting, but it’s far from the only alluring component in this seductive new single. Meresha weaves her lyrics into the foundation of this groove seamlessly, and yet there’s an instrumental definition in the mix that suggests an artsy element you don’t hear a lot of in mainstream pop these days. Dexterity is her secret weapon in this performance, and for a picky critic like myself, “Trouble” is exactly the sort of fire-starting single that this spring needed to feel complete. It’s white-hot, but not lacking in sophistication in the least.

This lead vocal is absolute fire, and Meresha doesn’t mind laying it on as thick as we can handle it well ahead of the chorus. The climax is made all the heavier by her dynamic execution, but there’s a hint of vulnerability in his voice that doesn’t get lost in the muscularity of the music. Being thoughtful in a pop song can be a double-edged sword, but this is an instance in which the artist in the studio has such command over the narrative she’s trying to create that being technical with the arrangement only makes her point sharper.

Although the percussion itself is fat and never overshadowed by the melodic componentry in the song, the rhythm has a subtle snap to it that hits us especially hard with the hook, when we’re not expecting as much punch from the beat as we end up getting. I like that this single wasn’t produced in a streamlined manner, as it undeniably sheds light on the kind of precision that Meresha has when she’s in the booth laying down something elegant and yet imposing like “Trouble.” For as much contrast as she’s got in her sound, this is a very evenhanded presentation.

Because of the physicality of the mix here, I can see where some critics might think that Meresha was feeling a club vibe when she was putting the finishing touches on this track, but I’m disinclined to agree. There’s too much texture in “Trouble,” and too much raw emotionality presented through the lyrics alone for this to be an out-and-out dance piece, but I would stop short of saying there isn’t any remix potential for the song in the future. Flexibility is an important attribute in pop, and one this player has working to her advantage.

I was immediately entranced with both this single and its music video when I had a chance to take a peek at both this May, and my gut tells me that Meresha hasn’t even begun to unleash her full capacity of artistic communication just yet. I’m down for more of what “Trouble” is made of, and in the face of so much minimalism sprouting up in the underground pop scene as of the past few months, it’s really exciting to hear a performer who doesn’t mind incorporating just a hint of lush melodicism into her sound, if for no other purpose than to give us a few extra fireworks.

Mindy McCall



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