There was a time, not long ago in the history of pop music, when R&B was the most tempo-driven genre known to man. Everything, from the melodies to the substance of the lyrics, revolved around the pacing of the lyrics and the beat beneath them, and to some extent, I think Waterofelegance is trying to resurrect this theme in her music. The new single she’s just cut titled “My First Love” is definitely more about timing than it is anything else, which isn’t to say that the tone it’s presented with is lacking in seductive properties at all.
This lead vocal is a little fragile, especially given the backdrop it’s been tasked with working, but that doesn’t stop its verses from having a cutting sensibility all too uncommon among the majority of R&B, pop, and melodic hip-hop coming out of the North American underground at the moment. Although there’s a lot to be said about the crossovers that have been making their way onto indie charts in the past few months, few have had the delicate nature this performance does, which is easily one of the most important and inviting elements for us to behold from both a cosmetic and poetic perspective.
The balanced mixing of “My First Love” definitely benefits this singer’s depth, but I don’t know that she needs an elaborate production setup to really express to us how much she’s got on her mind through little more than her lead vocal. When she’s singing, Waterofelegance lives up to the implications of her unique handle like no one else can, but there’s no forced ego to be ignored in the big picture here. She’s still humble and is such in a fashion that lets us get a feel for how invested she is in this narrative.
The pushback from the hook in “My First Love” is actually surprisingly soft and sophisticated, which is a far cry from the aggression through which a lot of this player’s peers would have recorded this same song. There’s so much about this piece that is equally versatile and submissive, which makes it a terrific candidate for potential remixes in the future, but even with this being the case, scarcely is there a moment where it feels like we’re listening to a composition without an identity of its own, entirely independent from that of the woman who created it.
I didn’t know anything about the music of Waterofelegance before I listened to “My First Love” for the first time, but I think we’re getting a pretty good idea of what she’s all about in this piece. She doesn’t hold back from giving us a direct introduction to her personality as a studio presence, and if she’s able to continue cultivating the melodic elements that are so prominently featured in this mix, I’ve got a feeling that the underground isn’t going to be able to contain her star power for very long at all. Right now, she’s an important player in R&B to watch.
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