The Houston-born/LA-based Latina Alaina Castillo has a knack for combining R&B, pop, and mystery, and her new EP, Fantasies is another step in her perfection of that talent. It is also proof that the title of the first song on the EP is a fact of life, at least in her case: “Sad Girls Finish First” .
Each of the six songs on the Ep is a stand-alone hit. They all share her quirky but deeply real pain and effort of working through the questions and mysteries and hurt and joy of young love in in the complex world her generation must navigate.
In “Sad Girls Always Finish First”, Castillo uses clever songwriting, luxurious multilayered production, and different modulations of her luminous ultra-feminine voice to open up about the feelings and experiences we never talk about. She puts it out there: we all make mistakes.
She switches tempo and voice to a more heavily R&B, down to earth and gritty “Tell the One You Love” about the moment of betrayal. The lyrics are rawer and less clever, while the music remains lush, if more up-tempo.
Then in “Party in My Head (and ur not invited)” she gives us a straight up, beat-heavy R&B song, filled with smoke and pathos , both classic and unique at the same time. “Get Better” continues the beat-heavy R&B, but with more complex composition and a rippling voice that seems to morph from shinny-eyed little girl to wounded adult who is a hopeless romantic realizing that love is conditional, so get used to it.
As you absorb “get better”, she throws you into another universe in “call me when ur lonley” with a faraway dreamy intro that repeats over a repeated riff accenting her highest pitched soft voice that begs for company…just call, please.
The EP ends with the title song, “fantasies” about a youthful conundrum – loving someone while you are dealing with various traumas in your life. It handles the fantasies in yours (hers) and your levers head, while trying to protect the relationship from chaos. Electronic beats keep it moving while the sophisticated composition engages you on different levels.
Although Alaina is a young woman (22 years old) who writes and sings songs about the tumultuous physical and emotional roller-coaster that is often young love, she does it with a maturity beyond her years, both in her writing and her composition. With co-write’s by the accomplished English songwriter Sam Roman (aka RØMANS ) she also knows how to attract and collaborate with the best and stay fresh and in control…the mark of sophisticated talent.
Although Alaina is bi-lingual, being the daughter of Mexican parents, the EP is all English, Her earlier EP Mensajes de Voz was released in both English and Spanish as were her singles “Stand Up” and “Voice Mail”. He first single, “Ocean Waves”, which was in English, generated one million streams in its first week – a sure sign that the she is going vial and fast and why she was put on Spotify’s Radar Global Emerging Artists Program .
Sad girls do indeed finish first, if their name is Alaina Castillo.
Photo credit :Milkman
Fantasies will be released the week of Oct 21.
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