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Cooly G Album Cover

Album Review: Cooly G – Playin Me

The best albums seem to come out of nowhere – without any hype, or guerrilla marketing, or larger-than-life cartoonified television appearances. One of those albums that has recently seemed to have appeared out of the blue is Cooly G’s debut, Playin Me.

The record has a clear directon – it is a sonic storybook of everyday life that opens with the sultry, flirtatious ‘He Said I Said’. “Sittin’ here across the room from you / Thinkin’ about what we gonna do / Thinkin’ about what we gonna do / You got me thinkin’ about you” is the moody chorus, sung over reverbed synth, lazy loose drum beats and super-speed tiptoeing hi-hat.

‘Come Into My Room’ moves into the club, characterised by an awesome euphoric piano block chord motif. And ‘Good Times’ carries you on into the night – “Down the streets me and my friends got a bite to eat / And you were parked up by the bus stop / You had that smile that made me weak,” reminisce lyrics over ricocheting raindrop synths and dusky blurred bass notes.

‘Sunshine’ is the theme for a hazy summer day of drooped eyelids, giggles, sunglasses and bottles of beer. It’s stoned reggae syncopated honks with contented lazy vocals repeating the refrain “you bring me sunshine” beside awakening hi-hat skips that maintain the track’s momentum.

G’s racing, reverberating beats leading the vocal along her take on Coldplay’s ‘Trouble’ recalls a late night (or early morning) walking in solitude through East London’s overground stations, underneath South London’s railway arches mid-autumn – it’s bleakly sobering. Whereas tracks like ‘What This World Needs Now’ and ‘Trying’ are like sonic hangovers, focusing on instrumental layers rather than vocal melody, punctuating the dominant ideas on the album.

All these elements diffuse together to form Playin Me, a work which is distinctively British and a perfect example of why our bass culture is arguably the best in the world. It’s a record that doesn’t cater to the masses via over-production, dubstep breaks, image statements or any other gimmicks. The record takes the best slices of the UK’s underground – funky sounds, mixed with ambient, dreamy deep house beats – lacing them together so as to create a fluidly changing sonic tide showcasing the female producer’s signature sounds and supreme talent. Cooly G is an exceptional singer, producer, and DJ. Listen, listen, and listen again – for this is one of the albums of the year.

-Bronya Francis

Taken from Notion Magazine Issue 58

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