Determined to put a little attitude back into pop music, Teenear doesn’t mind laying the moxie on thick in her new single “Ain’t Mine,” and if you’re a fan of hip-hop-influenced R&B grooves, you’re going to appreciate the formula she’s putting into play here. Rather than putting a lot of emphasis on the strength of the percussive beat in this track, Teenear is experimenting with the weight of her words as they stand on their own in this mix, which despite requiring a little more oomph at the mic ends up being the right move for a vocalist of her tremendous depth.
This is a really stylish bassline, and it’s never interrupting the fluidity of the lyrics; truth be told, I don’t know that Teenear would have anything to lean against were it not given the bit of volume in this mix it’s got. She wants us to know that she can be assertive, no matter the backdrop she’s working with, and by going with something a little oversized intentionally I think she’s able to demonstrate some elements of her sound and artistry that would have been harder to frame in this kind of a song.
There might be some sensuous beats and sleek melodies to enjoy in “Ain’t Mine,” but there’s nothing potent enough to take away from the lead vocal Teenear has to offer at the forefront of this track. Whether she’s going light with her harmonies or a little harder after the chorus, she’s got a natural rhythm that is pulling us closer around every twist and turn in this song, which speaks volumes about what she might be able to do in a live performance of this same composition. I’m curious to find out, and I think others who hear this single and see its video will understand why.
Teenear gets more aggressive with us as she inches towards the climax, but it’s not without motivation. For her to get as theatrical a release out of the fever pitch as she’s trying to cultivate, she has to press on the gas when the beat is at its most tense, which leads us into what could be one of the brightest parts of this entire recording. She’s got so much going for her despite being in the underground, but that kind of environment shouldn’t be expected to cage her talents for anything.
Not nearly as hook-driven as what a lot of her rivals have been recording lately, “Ain’t Mine” is showing us Teenear without any of the cosmetic varnishes some would apply to her artistry, and it’s certainly a heady rebuke of the simplified girl pop that too many of her peers have been adopting as their own. She doesn’t want to school us with makeup tutorials set to music in this performance; she’s got a story to tell, emotions to shed before the spotlight, and a drive that is going to bring her a lot of focus from the right people in the hip-hop, R&B, and vocal pop scenes of 2022.
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